Kitchen Remodel #2: Making the legs.

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Blog entry by Karson posted 05-29-2007 03:30 AM 2395 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Buffet and Hutch Part 2 of Kitchen Remodel series Part 3: Buffet / Hutch Cutting the Stiles and Rails »

Well I started the Buffet / Hutch. If I don’t get started I won’t have anything to say without getting myself in trouble, when my wife asks me what I’m making in the shop.

I started out by making a full size template on plywood for all of the milling that needs to be done on the legs.

Can you believe that those two templates have all of the instructions for milling 8 surfaces on the legs?
Now you may ask what do you mean by 8 surfaces. This is the way that I was taught when you make a project with legs.

You number them. The right front is 1 and you go counterclock wise to 8. You only number the surfaces that touch another leg. Surfaces 1 and 8 are the front.

This allows you to make items like aprons and then you label the ends with the appropriate numbers. You might see the numbers on the shelf supports on the Thorsen Tables that I worked on.

When you dry fit a part you label it so that when you start to glue, you know that you have all of the appropriate parts, and the one’s you don’t need are put away. This keeps you from gluing the wrong part in at the wrong place.

After labeling the legs, I then put the marks for the mortises on the legs.

Then it was then on to the mortise machine to cut out square holes.

Cutting out the spaces between the ends of the mortise.

When you get done you better have matching holes in each of the adjoining pieces

Then it’s out to the Horizontal Router to cut the long mortises for the side panels.

Note to self and others Router bits do break. This one just dropped to the ground and didn’t go flying around. Praise the Lord! New router bit and complete the job.

Line up the ends in number order and verify that the cuts were made correctly.

Then match the other sides and check them out.

This is the pattern that I’m modifying for my kitchen. Fine Woodworking Jan / Feb 2007.

All done for tonight now to eat smoked chicken that was cooking with cherry wood smoke.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

10 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5427 days

#1 posted 05-29-2007 03:34 AM

Good clear instructions. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. We are thinking along similar lines. About to the the Tri Tip of the smoker. They have been on for about 3 hours. Hickory.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1823 posts in 5416 days

#2 posted 05-29-2007 04:51 AM

Thanks for sharing Karson….talk more about how you develop your story poles. Do you mark and label all the critical dimensions on the plywood and then transfer to the pieces?

-- Bob

View Karson's profile (online now)


35293 posts in 5731 days

#3 posted 05-29-2007 05:35 AM


The plans in Fine Woodworking, even though nice are not useful for making a project easily. Some of the dimensions are on the pictures and sometimes they are in the article. And sometimes they are wrong. I mean that most magazines post errata with changes, but when you are trying to find dimensions and position for mortises and you have to look all over the place to find them, It doesn’t make them easy.

So for my story stick, I made a full size cutting of plywood. I started marking the positions of the mortises, and I realized that most of the mortises have a 1/4” cut on all sides. So a 3/4” thick piece had a 1/4” mortise and tenon. The rails at the top and bottom have a 1/4” grove cut in them to allow for plywood for the insert. The top rail ended up with a 1/2” cut for the tenon, where it touched the panel, while the bottom one had still the 1/4” cut. Why the difference. ??

The overall length was 33” that was stated in two different places. So I figured that was OK. The bottom has a taper for the last 5”. OK. The bottom apron didn’t state anything where it belonged. I surmised that it matched the side, so that is where I placed it.

The mortise slots for the top rails were shown in the pictures, but the dimensions turned out to be incorrect. No where is the panel size shown, you have to calculate that out by yourself. The length of the rails are not shown, only the width. The visible length is stated on a sideways picture, and you know that you cut 1” deep mortises, but you can’t put in 1” in length tenons because they might hit solid trash in the bottom of the mortise. So probably 7/8” is OK. I’ll cut for a 1” and try during dry-fitting but be prepared to shorten if necessary.

So to answer your question, I made all markings from the top edge of the leg, so if one was marked off then the one below would not also be off.

Since I putting in drawers and not shelves, I also had to design my drawer supports and draw them on the story stick.

As it turned out, one story stick was for the front inside edges, (edges 8 and 1) The other story stick has the measurements for the top and bottom rails and the plywood groove. It worked out to be OK for the sides and also the back. The sides (edges 2 & 3, and 6 & 7) also need my drawer supports, while the back does not need them. So it is on the story stick but not transferred to the leg.

The story stick is quite messy because I had to write in ink, because the pencil didn’t show up very well. But after I wrote something down, I then found that I need another cutting in the same place as the writing. But I’ll never make it over. This maybe a first and only time construction. But, I’ll keep my plans just in case.

I cut the square mortises 1 1/16” deep for all of the mortise slots. I then went to the horizontal router table and cut the 1/4” X 1/4” slots for the plywood. They cut up into where the mortise slots were placed for the rails. The legs take the place of styles on the sides. On the back there are some internal styles. But I’ll need a new story stick for those measurements.

Any more questions, keep them coming and keep me honest.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5491 days

#4 posted 05-29-2007 02:50 PM

This is a wonderful “how to”. You need to add a “how to” tag to this so we can find it later!! (that and I’m going add it to my favourites for future reference)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5367 days

#5 posted 05-29-2007 03:22 PM

Nice, karson! An excellent howto! I’ve looked at FWW plans before and I don’t do well with the befuddled look. Nice job!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View fred's profile


256 posts in 5428 days

#6 posted 05-29-2007 06:55 PM

I really like your detailed planning. I am finally starting to recognize the benefits of planning in detail.


-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5630 days

#7 posted 05-30-2007 03:10 PM

A story stick is a great way to eliminate measuring mistakes, especially when duplicating parts.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1823 posts in 5416 days

#8 posted 05-30-2007 08:39 PM

Thanks for the explanation Karson….what do you mean by “solid trash at the bottom of the mortice”?

Are these plans that you bought from FWW?

-- Bob

View Karson's profile (online now)


35293 posts in 5731 days

#9 posted 05-31-2007 12:51 AM

Bob: Since the mortise is 1/4” wide and the smallest chisle is 1/4” wide and not wanting to make the mortise wider. have opted to leave the holes as drilled. so there might be small pieces of wood at the bottom. A square chisle with a round drill bit in the middle of it does not get all of the wood out.

That is what I was referring to as trash. I’ve knocked out all drill tailings but some wood fibers are visable and present. Dry fitting might get rid of them.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5003 days

#10 posted 04-26-2011 01:12 AM

Looks good!

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