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INPUT NEEDED: sold my first table but legs are uneven- why?

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Forum topic by TennisLvr posted 05-05-2019 03:09 PM 2103 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TennisLvr

8 posts in 75 days


05-05-2019 03:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pine joining rustic question

I just sold my first piece of furniture and the legs don’t touch the floor at the sellers house. I’m so embarrassed. I need help figuring out how to make sure this doesn’t happen next build.

Okay, I triple measured the legs to make sure they were all the same size & I squared the corners.

The only thing I can think of is that one of the boards four 2×8 top pieces may have been slightly warped and that is pulling the bottom frame up in some areas. Another contributing factor could be that I stored it in my garage/workshop over past 3-weeks waiting for pick-up with the sun directly hitting the right side when I had the garage door up while working on other projects. About four days ago, I noticed one corner of the table top had moved because the wood filler was raised and it separated from one side of the wood. I covered the table to block the sun but it was too late.

Also, I live in a rental and the entire garage floor is uneven. Another factor (?) , the table legs rested on an uneven surface for 3 weeks and not on leveled scraps of wood. Would that make the boards shift making the table uneven?

Common sense told me to level my two saw horses and constructed the table on them, which I did. I knew that the legs wouldn’t sit level on the garage floor & I made sure the table was square, so I wasn’t concerned.

The buyers have all six legs on spacers that I made just in case. Not good for sales! LOL

How can I ensure that my builds are level when building large pieces of furniture on an uneven garage floor?

I buy my lumber from Lowe’s & take the time to pick wood that isn’t warped but it’s hard because most wood is warped to some degree.

How do I prevent a top lumber from pulling the legs up?

I welcome your comments and advice. Any feedback is GREATLY appreciated!


44 replies so far

View hkmiller's profile

hkmiller

139 posts in 499 days


#1 posted 05-05-2019 03:14 PM

Is the floor level at the buyer’s house?

-- always something

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1443 posts in 2529 days


#2 posted 05-05-2019 03:30 PM


Is the floor level at the buyer s house?

- hkmiller

+1.

When I build a table levelling the legs is the last thing I do and I do it in the spot the table is going to live. I use wedges to get the table level and then a pencil set on a block to match the shortest leg. Trace around each long leg and then trim with a handsaw and chamfer the edges with a block plane. Then your table should be rock solid.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View TennisLvr's profile

TennisLvr

8 posts in 75 days


#3 posted 05-05-2019 03:30 PM

Yes, they sent me a video to show me

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

528 posts in 597 days


#4 posted 05-05-2019 03:33 PM

Anything with middle leg(s) need levelers.

View SMP's profile

SMP

1176 posts in 323 days


#5 posted 05-05-2019 03:38 PM

I usually keep an extra sheet of 3/4 MDF i use as a flat assembly floor in my garagw since the concrete is pretty bad. Do you have winding sticks to check for twist on the top? Also check with an ACCURATE square that your cuts are square, and as mentioned, bevel the edges of the legs. Even a couple degrees off on cuts can cause all kinds of havoc especially when different angles on different sides multiplied by 6 legs(the more legs the more chance for this to happen)

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1443 posts in 2529 days


#6 posted 05-05-2019 04:00 PM

My method above will still work even if the floor is level.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View TennisLvr's profile

TennisLvr

8 posts in 75 days


#7 posted 05-05-2019 04:05 PM

Thank you for the feedback! I posted pics from the video they sent me. Looks like the two middle legs are short and the left front & and right back legs are the longest.

The pencil on block method is something that I’m going to try.

In keeping with ‘there are no dumb questions’…

Can I use shims from Lowe’s as wedges?
How can I make sure to cut a straight line for each leg (2×6) using my hand saw because the leg is attached to the table? I don’t want to inadvertently make the problem worse :/

I hope to develop a network of woodworkers that I can go to whenever I experience situations like this.

I also think that I over-tightened the tip boards to in trying to make it as level as possible. I read online that that could be a contributing factor too.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

528 posts in 597 days


#8 posted 05-05-2019 04:11 PM

Skip the shims and put levelers on it. This will permanently solve the issue. Even if you shim now, do you want them calling you when they decide to move it to a different room? Also levelers looks more professional than shims.

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1443 posts in 2529 days


#9 posted 05-05-2019 04:12 PM

HEre is a video of Chris Schwarz levelling a stool: https://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/video-level-the-feet-of-a-chair-or-sawbench/

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

160 posts in 145 days


#10 posted 05-05-2019 04:15 PM

Looks like you used construction grade lumber? If so it is going to move. The top will push and pull and the legs will always be changing. Cutting is fine until it moves again, or they move it to a different spot. Best way to fix is with adjustable feet.

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1443 posts in 2529 days


#11 posted 05-05-2019 04:16 PM

The shims aren’t permanent. They are just there to lock the table into level while you mark the long bits that need to be trimmed.

And a table with no levellers is much more professional looking than one with them.

This is a fairly simple technique. Just go for it!

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

160 posts in 145 days


#12 posted 05-05-2019 04:19 PM


And a table with no levellers is much more professional looking than one with them.

- JADobson

(disagree) jmo

View TennisLvr's profile

TennisLvr

8 posts in 75 days


#13 posted 05-05-2019 04:25 PM

I don’t have winding stick but looks like I need to get some!

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

4553 posts in 1007 days


#14 posted 05-05-2019 04:50 PM

MDF is dead flat. If you want to know if it’s the table, or the floor, set it on a sheet of 3/4” MDF.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12842 posts in 2798 days


#15 posted 05-05-2019 05:09 PM

Maybe it’s an illusion but the top looks warped which could be a symptom or the cause. The best insurance against wonky legs is using good quality dry material and tried and true construction methods. What you have looks like something from Ana White who knows less than Jon Snow about design and wood movement. Put levelers on this one and strive to build a better version next time.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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