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Kitchen Table taper leg bead

6917 Views 16 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Timthemailman
So my better half wants a new kitchen table and we both decided we like this style of table:

However, I don't own a lathe and pricing the work locally to have four legs would be $280 after tax. Now I already have some nice, thick, clear pine that I could make tapered legs out of as an alternative but I'm not sure she's sold on the idea. I want to embellish the tapered leg somewhat to make it more appealing and was thinking of a bead as seen in the following screen-shot (this would match a bead on the bottom of the aprons).

I'm interested in your take on the looks of this as well as construction issues. I.e. the beads would have to be crossgrain to the legs, are they going to fall off after a few seasons? The base will be painted.

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Hey Jeff
Some how I'm kinda underwhelmed about tapered legs on this size table , to me it makes it look rather top heavy. You and your wife are the customers in this case and you know what they say about the customer always being right.
You know just a thought maybe there is someone in you're area that will rent a lathe and you could make you'r own legs.
David Marks grooved the legs while they were still square on the table saw, then cut the tapers. The groove supported the beefier bead that set into the groove, and only the profile showed.
To play the devils' advocate, you might want to look at places like Rockler that sell table legs, especially for the turned legs from the top picture. The pine variety runs about $30/each which seems pretty reasonable. The obvious downside to this is that you didn't make it yourself and the legs are likely imported.

The upside is that you get to do all of the joinery, make the table top, and your project looks like the idea your wife had. That last one is what would be the tipping point for me, as I have zero decorating skills.

My 2 cents,
I like the round legs better, but I understand your predicament. I think the tapered leg design would still look good, but maybe a hair less beefy than in your drawing.
If you have a turning club close by maybe the could help. I've also seen plans for shop built lathes

Try these two sites.
I don't see any reason not to do a short grain bead, so the grain is the same direction as the leg. I did this on a piece and it worked fine, as far as I know.

Great suggestions everyone, but after price checking the suggested sites, and local turners, it is too big of an expense for the legs, especially since I already have the lumber for them (for non turned legs). My wife has demoted it on the honey-do list as she wants the round legs. I can't argue with the customer (and boss) on this one.

I did attempt the 'ole "Well for just a little more I could get a lathe and turning tools and then learn how to turn etc…" but it didn't work this time.

I did bookmark those sites though as there are some neat products that I could see using on other projects (the half spindles, etc..)
Good choice (demotion). The design with the tapper looks really bulky.

The design issue here is not taper vs round, it's proportions. Because the edge of the corner of the taper will make the taper leg 'read' more massive than the round leg you must adjust the proportion of the tapered leg to offset this reading. For example, in comparing the size of the tapered leg with the circular leg the circle should inscribe the square (at it's largest dimension). Thus when you look at the broadest dimension of the tapered leg (across it's diagonal) it will the same size as the round leg. Also, the lack of profiling of the tapered leg doesn't allow any visual relief to the mass (something the round leg as quite a bit of). If you would further develop the design to include a foot and a transition to the apron it would further reduce the visual mass.
You've got something there jlsmith5963. I might play around with the foot and transition ideas in Sketchup a little in the future. The plan is still on hold as my wife wants round legs (full stop). What did you have in mind for the transition to the apron? Something like a scrollsawn arch?
The rule I use is to taper down 1/2 the the original thickness, so a 4×4 would taper from the bottom of the apron to about 2×2, with only the inside faces being tapered.
If there's a woodworkers guild or club in your area, you might want to consider joining. They often have well equipped shops where members can use tools they don't have at home. Additionally, other members would most likely be glad to help you learn how to turn those legs. Plus there would be all the benefits you get for joining any club.
Have you tried to make a prototype out of a couple of cheap 2 X 4's gluded together. seeing is believing. Good Luck
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