Friday, December 8, 2017

Bistro Table, Part 3: Leg Shaping and Glue-up

The undercarriage of the table looks like this:
Bistro table undercarriage
The uprights get a long cove and the feet and top supports get some straight cuts.  The shaping of the uprights was straightforward.  I used a thin, bendable stick to mark the curve, starting and ending about 1/8" from the bridle joint miters.  Then I made some relief cuts,
Relief cuts down to the layout line
chiseled out the waste, and cleaned it up with a spokeshave.
Fairing the curve with a spokeshave
The feet and top supports were easy - just a couple of straight saw cuts, followed by cleaning up with a plane or chisel.
A foot with one of the off-cuts
After final surface planing of these parts, I did a dry-run of the glue-up.
Extra clamps make sure the feet and top supports are seated against the uprights
Did my best to ensure things were square, but I knew I could plane to squareness later.
Checking glued up parts for square
Four leg / foot / top support subassemblies in the clamps
When the glue had dried, I cleaned up the joints with a smoother.  I re-squared the parts that would support the top.  I'll be using some leg levelers on the feet, so it wasn't necessary to ensure squareness there.
Leg subassemblies out of the clamps
Marked one end as "top supports" and squared them
The four legs will be glued to a center "post".  I started by gluing two leg subassemblies to the center post.  Curved cauls were helpful in clamping the curved leg parts.
Two leg subassemblies glued to the central post
When that was dry, I glued on a third subassembly, and when that was dry, the fourth.
Last of the leg subassemblied being glued onto the post
Glue-ups are almost always interesting, in that you have to really think things through.  It was a small challenge to find good ways to clamp this up.

And here is the result - the undercarriage is complete.
All glued up
Next time: a really interesting exercise in making the subtop.


  1. I like the trick on gluing the legs to a central post. Kind of like how Stickley did their quartersawn legs.
    I think I would have plowed a shallow 1/8" groove in the column and the legs. That would key them and keep them from moving during glue up.

    1. I like that idea, Ralph. As it was, the glue-up was fairly challenging. The center post was exactly the same 1" thickness as the legs, so there was little room for error. Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I could've drilled some holes for dowels for perfect placement while gluing. Next time ...