Forge table #6: Turning the legs

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 01-07-2021 11:31 PM 385 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Tenons on the legs Part 6 of Forge table series Part 7: Undercarriage and attaching the legs »

Got some time at the lathe today and here’s what happened:

Took me almost an hour per leg, but the last one went quicker than the first couple, so there was progress. Most of the work was done with the skew, but a little with a thumbnail gouge and some with a domed scraper.

Then it was time to bore holes for the stretchers. I marked a center in the worst side of each leg, and drilled with a brace and a half-inch auger bit until I heard the little tschick of the lead screw popping out the back side, then I finished off with a spoon bit, which leaves a much cleaner exit hole. Quicker than unclamping the piece, flipping it over, and boring in from the other side.

I also started to round off a couple stretchers from some pine I had leftover from a bookcase. Had two pieces that were long enough and about 3/4 inch square. I got as far as rounding them off a pretty even 11/16. Tomorrow I’ll taper the ends down to a half and test fit everything. There’s a little slop where the legs go into the table-top so I can use the stretchers to splay them just a little, making the table more stable and look a little better.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

11 comments so far

View bandit571's profile (online now)


27531 posts in 3660 days

#1 posted 01-08-2021 12:44 AM

I used to have a lathe…..finally have just part it out….mainly just spindle work….made a lot of tables back then…no room for one now. legs looking good.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8263 posts in 1689 days

#2 posted 01-08-2021 12:49 AM

they match up really nice together you a learned the lathe very fast GREAT JOB :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Oldtool's profile


3158 posts in 3167 days

#3 posted 01-08-2021 01:21 AM

Nice work, all four look pretty identical. Did you have any skew catches?, that’s what I can’t seem to avoid.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View WhattheChuck's profile


449 posts in 4537 days

#4 posted 01-08-2021 02:23 AM

Looks great, Dave!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

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Dave Polaschek

6678 posts in 1559 days

#5 posted 01-08-2021 03:18 AM

I bought it thinking I was mostly going to do spindle work, Bandit, but I’ve had fun experimenting with bowls, too. Thanks, man.

Tony, there are differences, but I worked pretty hard at getting the important points the same. Cut to depth with he parting tool, then turn the bits in between with the skew to make the profiles right-ish. Thanks, I’ve been practicing on scraps too. But these legs were my excuse for buying the lathe, so it’s nice to hear folks say they look good.

Tom, plenty of skew catches, especially in the fattest part in the middle, but that’s part of how I decided where to put the holes for the stretchers. “Ooh. Big catch. That’s going to be a stretcher mortise.” But I’m mostly using peeling cuts with the skew, which are easier to avoid catches. I’ll switch to a gouge for the low spots where it gets concave (because I’m using a 3/4” skew), and if I have two catches in a row, I’ll switch to the scraper to try and recover and not end up with a toothpick. I’m pretty sure I should be able to do it all with a skew and a parting tool, but I’m experimenting as I go… There’s still lots to learn.

I think I’ll probably put a little camber in the end of the skew next time I sharpen it. I’m still sharpening the skew by hand, as I haven’t got the sharpening jig set upon the grinder yet. Too many projects…

Thanks, Chuck! In person they’re not quite so nice, and when I oil them, the catches will stand out more, but I’ll worry about that mañana.

I also need to figure out if the two stretchers are going to be joined in the middle, or just cross over each other. Got a few different ideas on things to do there, but we’ll see what I decide tomorrow. Maybe I’ll turn a piece to join them tinker-toy style… or maybe they’ll cross over like Lincoln Logs. Mañana…

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Lazyman's profile


6404 posts in 2364 days

#6 posted 01-08-2021 03:46 AM

Dave, Do you have a spindle gouge? A little more forgiving for shaping spindles than a skew, though you can literally do everything with a skew with practice. It is handy to have 2 or 3 sizes.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6678 posts in 1559 days

#7 posted 01-08-2021 03:52 AM

Yeah, I have a 1/4” spindle gouge, as well as 3/4 and 1/4 bowl gouges, Nathan. I used the spindle gouge some on these, both cutting and scraping, depending on what I needed. Scraping with a wing of the gouge rescued me from at least one “Now how the $#&! do I get that bit?” problem.

The main reason I don’t use the spindle gouge more is that it’s a pain to adjust the height of my tool rest, which is almost always set at the height that’s right for using the skew. Been thinking about whether I need to investigate other tool rests, or maybe if I’m just missing something with the HF one…

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View crowie's profile


4236 posts in 2927 days

#8 posted 01-08-2021 05:26 AM

Dave, the legs look great, good figure and grain. Well done sir

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View doubleDD's profile


10024 posts in 3020 days

#9 posted 01-08-2021 01:14 PM

Very impressed Dave. Without a duplicator those look alike. Nicely done.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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Dave Polaschek

6678 posts in 1559 days

#10 posted 01-08-2021 01:40 PM

Thanks, Peter.

Thanks, Dave. I figure they’re close enough that they won’t look wrong on the same table. There’s one I’ve already decided goes on the back, but isn’t that always the way?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile


10024 posts in 3020 days

#11 posted 01-08-2021 02:19 PM

Yep that’s the way we do it. I’m doing a project now and a big chip came off. Well that one is for the back.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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