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Four-Sided Quartersawn Table Legs

How to rout lock miters
on narrow pieces.

By Tom Caspar and Stewart Crick

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If you spotted an oak leg with quartersawn figure on all
four sides, your first reaction might be: That’s neat! But if you
know wood, your second reaction ought to be: Now, how did
they do that?

Well, there’s more than one way. You could make a solid,
plainsawn leg and glue quartersawn veneer on all four
sides. Or you could make a leg from quartersawn wood and
veneer just two sides. Or you can do what L. & J. G. Stickley
did over one hundred years ago, in the heyday of the Arts
and Crafts era, and make the leg from four interlocking
pieces of solid wood. This method is the most durable type
of construction because there’s no chance of veneer flaking
off. Using a modern lock miter router bit, it works well for
any size leg, big or small.

Figuring out how to make these lock
miters safely and accurately on a narrow
leg can be quite a challenge. On each
piece, one lock miter is routed with the
piece held vertically; the other is routed
with the piece held horizontally. The problem,
as you can readily see, is that the pieces
have very small bearing surfaces. The
solution: make a push block and a jig to
hold the pieces rock steady for each pass.

Click any image to view a larger version.

8. Glue four identical pieces to make the leg. The interlocking
miters prevent the pieces from slipping side to side.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker April/May 2009, issue #141.

April/May 2009, issue #141

Purchase this back issue.

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