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Plane dealing. Use a desk noticed as if it had been a airplane to shortly shave down unstable legs to degree a wobbly seat.

Video: Watch a brief video on how this leg-shaving method is finished utilizing a desk noticed.
Web Site: Visit Gary Rogowski’s Northwest Woodworking Studio site for data on courses and to view a gallery of his work.
Blog: Read about an alternate technique to resolve the wobbly four-leg syndrome.
In Our Store: Get our 76-page Essential Guide to Table Saws in handy digital obtain format.

From the February 2013 challenge #202
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Rock-n-roll. That’s what four-legged items have a behavior of doing – even with good joinery and a cautious and unhurried meeting. Even with all of the care and a spotlight you paid to constructing it appropriately, it doesn’t sit flat in your ground however strikes forwards and backwards rocking on two legs. What offers?

Don’t fear; it’s simply life on the bench and Euclidean geometry elevating its head once more. If you construct every thing with three legs, you received’t have this drawback. But as a result of quite a lot of tables and chairs have 4 legs, you might be continually confronted with this challenge. Just a bit pull from one of many joints and your chair or desk doesn’t sit flat. The legs are nonetheless the identical size however they’re pulled out of true or flat by your meeting.

The Problem

Twisted board, twisted legs. This twisted board illustrates simply how a four-legged piece may twist. There are two opposing excessive sides vs. two low ones. The winding sticks present what’s excessive and low.

Let’s say you might want to take away a little bit of size from one or two legs. As little as a 132” or 116” could be a lot to take off with a handplane, however too little to take away with a noticed – even for those who may line up your noticed completely. So, how do you true the legs with out both making your chair too brief or making your self pissed off within the course of?

Let’s perceive the issue first. A four-legged chair doesn’t sit flat for one in every of two causes. It both sits on an uneven ground or the chair itself is twisted. How do you identify the place the issue lies? As I inform my college students and all my shoppers, my bench is the Center of the Universe. If it sits flat on my bench, then it’s flat. If it strikes to the ground and rocks, it’s the ground. Of course you could possibly transfer the piece round till it finds a spot the place it’s not tipping then by no means transfer it, however that’s not an inexpensive resolution. So for all intents and functions, my bench is my reference floor and units the usual to which I work. If the piece sits flat on my bench, then it’s good to exit the door.

Four-legged items can twist for any variety of causes: an excessive amount of clamping strain on one aspect versus the opposite, mortises lower barely off heart from one another or tenons made at barely totally different places. Little issues throughout development can add as much as small variations that end in a rock so dangerous within the piece that you just suppose your wooden is possessed. (Heck – the boards may very well be possessed and moved or warped as you chop them.) Clearly, this will have an effect on your joinery. Any of these items can add as much as a bit that appears to have two longer legs. Even in case your legs are equal in size, your process is to trim the bottoms of the seemingly longer ones.

Find the culprits. Check for twist utilizing the bench as a flat reference floor. Pushing on opposing corners will establish which legs are longer, mark these with chalk.

Now it’s important to ensure you know which leg or legs to trim. A bit rocks as a result of it developed a twist and two legs are pulled up and appear shorter than the opposite two. It’s identical to a board that’s twisted or a cupboard face that isn’t flat. Two opposing corners are excessive or longer, and two are low or shorter. When adjusting a four-legged piece that’s teetering, the primary essential mistake you can also make is to take away wooden from the flawed legs. To decide which legs want adjustment, set the piece in your bench and push down on one pair of opposing legs after which the opposite. The piece will rock simply when the brief legs are pressed. Pushing on the lengthy legs yields no motion. These are the legs to chop. Get this straight in your head and mark the lengthy legs with chalk earlier than making any cuts.

The widespread resolution to adjusting the leg size is to noticed the legs off or handplane the bottoms of the legs to shorten them. Sawing, if not accomplished precisely proper the primary time, can result in a succession of cuts that may render your chair appropriate just for the kiddie desk.

There’s received to be a greater manner. Truing legs with a block airplane requires time and ingenuity to verify the piece stays steady and doesn’t tear out as you try and trim it to size.

A second resolution is finished on the bench utilizing a handplane or rasp, nevertheless it’s troublesome work since you’re eradicating finish grain from the bottoms of the legs. If you don’t personal or can’t sharpen a handplane, will probably be gradual going. A file or rasp tends to spherical over the leg. You even have to determine a solution to maintain the piece securely whilst you work on it. You may attempt belt sanding the lengthy legs however the dangers are too nice. So what’s the reply? Use your desk noticed as an alternative, however use it as a airplane.

The Solution

Barely there. Set the blade peak for a mere 1⁄64″ to 1⁄32″. You ought to simply really feel the blade developing out of the desk throat plate insert. A noticed blade with a flat-top grind works greatest.

Now cease gasping. This technique works nice in case your noticed desk is flat, you set the blade peak correctly and you might be moderately positive handed. The desk noticed desk acts as your reference floor with the blade shaving off a tiny quantity from the underside of the leg that’s too lengthy. To get began, set the desk or chair on the desk noticed desk and see if it’s rocking the identical manner it did in your bench. If not, then one or perhaps each of these surfaces aren’t true. But for those who’re getting the identical outcomes, proceed with this surefire method.

Quick shave. True a leg on the desk noticed the fast and simple manner. Make positive the blade is about for a really small lower. Laterally transfer one of many longer legs slowly over the spinning blade.

If you have got a blade with flat-top grind (normally a rip blade) in your noticed, put that on as a result of it tends to chop extra shortly and create a barely smoother lower with much less tear-out than an alternate-top-bevel blade. Now the secret is to set the blade peak for about 164” – simply sufficient to really feel it popping out of the desk. This shall be sufficient to take away some wooden however not a lot that it creates issues.

Material is faraway from the underside of the leg by transferring it laterally throughout the highest of the noticed blade. Because there’s so little uncovered blade there’s no hazard of kickback or having the noticed pull the piece out of your fingers. Grab the piece with two fingers, change on the noticed and transfer one of many lengthy legs slowly over the noticed blade. Take your time with this and use the noticed blade as a airplane fairly than a noticed.

Bottoms up. Check to see for those who lower all the best way throughout the underside of the leg. Sometimes you’ll miss the nook of a leg.

Perhaps a greater manner to think about that is taking little planing or shaving cuts off the underside of the lengthy leg.

As you start to take away materials, ensure you’re not taking an excessive amount of off in a single move, as a result of that may trigger blowout on the sides of the legs. Move the leg off the blade and verify to see how you probably did. As you proceed, verify your legs on the flat floor of your desk noticed to measure your progress.

Bench flat is flat. When the stool now not rocks in your bench, your work is finished. Your 4 legs have been tried and trued.

With gentle strain and little or no blade uncovered you possibly can take off a stunning quantity of fabric in a rush. If you have got greater than 116” to take away, alternate between the 2 lengthy legs so you retain them near the identical size. Continue eradicating materials till the piece sits flat.

When the piece now not rocks on the noticed desk, take it to your bench and clear up the leg bottoms with a couple of fast passes utilizing both a block airplane or file. Chamfer the leg’s backside edges then set it in your bench to verify once more for flat within the heart of your universe. 

Editor’s observe: This article initially appeared beneath the title Fast Fix For Teetering Legs within the February 2013 challenge of Popular Woodworking.


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