Walnut Nightstand #2: Flared Out Legs

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 05-24-2016 05:09 AM 1142 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design and Milling the Wood Part 2 of Walnut Nightstand series Part 3: Wedges and Corner Blocks for the Flared Legs »

I am designing the legs for Jenny’s walnut nightstand. The legs need to flare out at the bottom, like an inch or more. The legs need to stay within the boundaries of the case they will be attached to above.

I use my knowledge of trigonometry to calculate what angle the 17 1/2 inch long legs should flare out. I know that I will be tapering these legs similar to Shaker furniture. However, I will only taper the inner edge of these legs. The taper will begin at or just under the skirt and continue to the bottom of the leg’s foot. The foot will measure 1 1/2 inches square; the distance I am designing the leg to flare forward with the angle cut I am making.

Now I have the numbers in which I can use trigonometry to calculate the angle of flare. Also knowing geometry of angles and parallel lines, etc., I can determine what angle I need to cut the top of the legs to get that flare of 1 1/4 inches at the legs’ foot. Also I know that this same angle will be cut in the foot in order for it to be flat on the floor.

So when I took the arc-tangent of X/Y , opposite line divided by the adjacent line (1.25/17.5) on my cell phone’s calculator, I got an angle just over 4 degrees. So my answer for cutting an angle on the top of my 17 1/2” long legs with a flared out distance at their bottom or foot of 1.25 inches will be:

4 degrees.

With my new Incra 1000HD miter gauge (shown in one of the attached photos) all I have to do is set its angle to 4 degrees and make my two cuts. Of course, I will perform a test cut first with scrap piece of wood before using Jenny’s walnut.

I tested this cut with a piece of pine first. Laying the leg on my SawStop’s table top and with a long combination square along side it, I can see that my test worked just as it was planned. My mathematics equation was correct.

With this successful test I went ahead and cut the four legs from Jenny’s beautiful walnut.

-- --- Happy Howie

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