Charles Mackintosh Inspired Computer Desk #4: Time for some Leg Work

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Blog entry by EarlS posted 09-02-2017 02:46 PM 1209 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Gridlocked and Broke Down Part 4 of Charles Mackintosh Inspired Computer Desk series Part 5: Just a little off the top »

I’m on a roll this morning. Things are quiet around the house and I haven’t gotten distracted so it looks like I will get 2 installments of the project progress written up.

There are a number of mortises that will be required for the legs. Initially, I was considering using a plunge router with a template jig that slid over the legs but decided that approach would be too tedious. I also wanted to figure out a suitable approach to using the router table to make mortise cuts.

All of the mortises will be 1/2” wide and 1/2” deep for consistency and so I won’t have to change bits and adjust the bit height once I get it set.

The grids will attach to the legs using a loose tenon or spline depending on what you want to call it. For the first set of mortises, I set up the router table using a square, a spacer, and a digital height gauge.

The cast iron router table I own isn’t compatible with any of the after market router fences like Incra or the Woodpeckers fence. I’ve come up with a couple of different ways to set up the fence so it is parallel to the miter slot. A square set along the edge of the table and held tightly against the fence will keep things mostly square.

With some fiddling and minor adjusting the fence can be set up square to the miter slot and spaced correctly to the bit.

I also set up a stop, using a scrap piece of wood cut to the length of the mortise. The miter bar touches the edge of the bit and the scrap piece is placed against the miter bar. The stop is set against the far end of the scrap piece and slid against the fence (hence the need for a way to get the fence parallel to the miter slot) and clamped to the router table.

All of the mortises are laid out on the pieces so I don’t get confused. There are 8 legs with mirror image 3” mortises on 4 of them, and mirror image 12” long mortises to accept the loose tenon for the grids. There are also 2-1/2” mortises cut in the legs for the spacer piece on the lower section of the legs. A white lead pencil shows up well on the walnut.

From there it is a simple matter of cutting the mortises.

After cutting all of the mortises on the router and squaring them off with a corner chisel, I set up the dado stack on the table saw for the tenons on the drawer frame back and sides. Previously, I had cut the drawer frame back and sides to length and height. While I had the dado stack set up I also cut the slide slots and the mortises in the back frame to accept the side frames.

Everything was dry assembled to check fit:

Up to this point, things have been straightforward and not overly challenging. The legs still have a lot of router work to achieve the rounded look I’m trying for. I’ve ordered a couple of round over style bits with large diameter curves in them (1-1/2”) that should work. Hopefully, I can work out a good approach using some scraps as test pieces. This will definitely require a well thought out, cautious approach since the bits are so big.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

3 comments so far

View splintergroup's profile


5264 posts in 2336 days

#1 posted 09-02-2017 02:54 PM

Looking great!

That desk will have some serious “heft”, can’t wait until you get some finish applied to see that wood really pop.

View WhattheChuck's profile


463 posts in 4674 days

#2 posted 09-02-2017 07:56 PM

Looks good. FWIW, I used a Jesada ‘Queen Anne’ bit on my legs to get that gradual rounding. Much easier to use than one of those monster panel raisers or complex profile bits.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View EarlS's profile


4541 posts in 3461 days

#3 posted 09-03-2017 12:43 PM

Chuck – I have a bit lie the one you mention. That is one of the options I’m going to try. I’ll definitely take lots of pictures on this one so folks can see what the various bits can do. I wish the bit manufacturers could show actual pieces with the profiles cut in them to give a better sense of what the profile looks like on an actual piece of wood.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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