Giraffe Bookcase #8: Attaching the Legs

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Blog entry by Ron Stewart posted 04-03-2021 03:17 PM 627 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Gluing the Case Part 8 of Giraffe Bookcase series Part 9: Painting »

The final woodworking step was attaching the legs to the case.

As with everything else, I used dowels. The front legs were straightforward. I used my JessEm jig as usual, because both the case and legs had square front edges to use as a reference for the jig’s indexing pin.

The rear legs were harder. Both sides were angled, so I couldn’t find a reference edge that worked for both the case and the legs. In the end, I drilled the case holes first, then used dowel centers to locate the hole positions in the back ends of the legs. I started by clamping a guide board to the case.

Then I kept the leg against the guide as I pressed it against the dowel centers to mark the holes’ center points. After that, I used my dowel jig to drill the marked holes and locate and drill the others.

My holes were off by about 1/16”, and I had to shave the dowels a bit to get the alignment right.

While test fitting the legs, I started worrying more about irregular gaps between the case and the legs, and about how those gaps might worsen due to seasonal wood movement. To avoid both problems, I decided to cut small (1/16” deep and wide) rabbets around the top edges of the legs to disguise the joints (and to create shadow lines in the finished piece, which I find visually interesting).

I used a straight bit in my router table to cut most of the rabbets.

The only problem was that I couldn’t use the table’s fence for the front edges of the rear legs. To do that, I cut a small notch in my 15-degree drill block and used it as a fence.

After some light sanding, the legs were finally complete.

The dowels held the legs in place pretty well during glue-up, and I used packing tape as clamps. (I couldn’t think of any good way to use actual clamps for the rear legs.) I used my aluminum drill press fence to check alignment.

I tried clamps on the front legs, but their weight pulled the legs downward, so I used packing tape for them too.

After I removed the tape, the legs were done.

In fact, the woodworking part of the entire project was done (except for gluing on the tail, which I would do after I painted the bookcase).

-- Ron Stewart

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