Instructions for making DIY table leg from wood

In the previous article: DIY table top, we provide you with detailed construction processes to make a wooden dining table top craft. In this post, we will recommend you to make simple DIY table leg design from wood to help you complete a farmhouse table from The Crafty Pioneer. Keep reading to explore 4 types of making woodturning table legs: square DIY table leg, tapered DIY table leg, round DIY table leg, and shaped DIY table leg.

DIY table leg
We will recommend you to make DIY table leg from wood to help you complete a farmhouse table.

>>>Read more: How to make DIY ottoman

Simple DIY table leg ideas

How to make DIY table leg step by step

Obviously, a DIY table leg craft is a vertical component of a table that supports the tabletop. Shorter versions that help furniture such as sofas and entertainment centers are commonly referred to as furniture foot, and range in height from 4” to 12”. Common woodworking table leg high are 14” to 18” for coffee table legs decorative art, 20” to 23” for end table legs , 28” to 29” for dining table legs , and 35.5 to 42” for Kitchen island legs .

The deciding factor to leg height will be the function the table is designed for. a DIY table leg construction can be as simple as a branch of a tree (as in Adirondack equipment), a 2×4 or metal tube cut to the appropriate length, or complete such as ornately turned legs, or shaped legs.

Once function/length are established creation and size come next. Design is dictated by personal taste and the design type of the space. Size is more about balance and proportion. My recommendation is, trust your eye not your tape measure. Find examples that are satisfying to the eye and measure them. Looking at incremental measurements on your tape measurement often leads to the choice of too large a leg.

The part of wood a leg is made from is referred to as a wooden turning blank or square and can be either solid or laminated. Solid square has no glue lines and are sawn from a log in the squares, dried, defected, and then finished milled to size or milled out of big planks. Laminated squares are created by gluing multiple pieces of wood together. Turning square for larger legs often must be laminated. The more care taken on grain and color match when laminating the higher quality legs, you will make.

How to Make Square DIY Table Leg

Let’s start with the simplest form. The square router table leg architecture which could be something you create in your shop or purchase at your local lumber store and cut to the appropriate length. Coming with length your other considerations are the species, the diameter (1 ½” x 1 ½” up to 6”x6” or larger), and the edge treatment. To create a square wood DIY table leg, follow these steps:

square DIY table leg
Square DIY table leg.

Decide On The Type Of Wood We Will Use

Decide on the type of wood you will use and buy or make your leg blanks. For best results each leg blank should be made square, straight, defect free, and be well color and grain matched.

Find An Edge Detail

For a crisp look break the edge with sandpaper. To a more defined edge, use a 45-degree router bit or block plane for creating a chamfered edge. The addition of a radiused (rounded) edge adds more modern or contemporary look. Also, it can be achieved with a router and a round over bit.

Edge The Bottom Of Your Feet

Using the likely detail on the 4 bottom edges of your leg gives it a completed look at the floor. Besides, it protects the leg from chipping as it’s ran across the floor.

Final Sanding For Your DIY Table Leg

Sand out all milling marks, scratches, transition mark from the manufacturing process.

How to make DIY tapered table leg

2 and 4-Sided Tapered DIY Table Legs. Tapered table leg decorative arts with their clean lines are the simplest leg form that. They are more complicated legs, reflects the natural symmetry found on legs in the natural world. This taper can begin at the top of the leg or a point low from the top of the leg.

Where you start, your table’s design which in turn dictates how the legs will be fixed to the top. Attachment systems for legs to tops will be filled in detail in an upcoming article.

Simple DIY table leg design.
Simple DIY table leg design.

It is important to note at that point that a table apron is a component that connects 2 legs together. Also, an apron block refers to the square upper portion of a coffee table leg crafts where the aprons are joined to the legs.

History of tapered table leg

Typically leg that is tapered the full length doesn’t have aprons and attach to the top by many other means. The two-sided tapered DIY table leg field was popular around the years 1700s. 

It’s often referred to as the Hepplewhite leg which was created and made popular in that neoclassic period by George Hepplewhite and thus their name. The same form was adopted in the 1800s by the Shakers, one religious sect known for their well-crafted but austere furniture designs. It’s not unpopular to have this leg referred to as a Shaker leg.

In the 1940s between the mid-century modern period, the two-side tapered leg with radius corners was popularized by the Danish Modern Furniture movement. We named our version the Juhl legs in honor of the well-known Mid-Century Furniture designer Finn Juhl. 

The tapered four-side router table leg building engineering has all four sides tapered and has a more modern feel. The edge detailing options are the same as the 2-sided version.

Instruction to Make Tapered DIY Table Leg: step by step

To make a 2-sided tapered do-it-yourself table leg, read these steps. Making a 4-side tapered architecture DIY table leg requires repeating steps 2, 3 and 4. Use the rough cut 2 side tapered leg to establish the place of the cleats on the 2nd jig.

tapered DIY table leg
Tapered DIY table leg.
  1. Decide on the type of wood we will use and purchase or make your leg blanks. For best product, each leg blank needs to be square, straight, defect free, and be good color and grain matches.
  2. First you need to draw layout lines on the leg blank that represent the finished leg. There are numerous ways to design tapered wooden table legs with a simple fixture/jig and a band saw. Using one table saw is an option but personally I consider it just much more dangerous.
  3. Start by cutting a piece of plywood 8 to 10” wide with a band saw. It should be a few inches longer than your legs. Leave the saw fence at this setting.
  4. Position your woodworking DIY table leg craft blank at the jig with the portion to be removed hanging off the edge cutting by the band saw. Mark the jig with the leg blanks position.
  5. Remove the blank and glue or screw positioning cleats on the long edge, also at the end towards you.
  6. Now simply place the leg blank on a jig and pass it by the blade. Rotate your blank ¼ turn then pass it by the blade to finish sawing out your leg.
  7. Removing that band saw marks can be done on a jointer, with a belt sander, maybe edge sander, or a hand plane.
  8. Choose an edge detail. For the crisp look break the edge with sandpaper. For a more defined edge, use one 45-degree router bit or block plane to create a chamfered edge. An addition of a radiused (rounded) edge adds a modern or contemporary look and could be achieved with a router and a round over bit.
  9. Edge a bottom of your feet. Using the same detail on the 4 bottom border of your leg gives it a finished look at the floor and saves the leg from chipping as it’s slid across the floor.
  10. Final sanding. Sanding out all milling marks, scratches, transition marks from the manufacturing process.

How to make Round DIY Table Leg

Most people are familiar with hand lathes where one turning blank is spun between 2 spur centers and shaped with handheld chisel. This is the way round DIY table legs have been made for hundreds of years. Hand turning is an area of woodworking that’s quite specialized.

Round DIY Table Leg
Round DIY Table Leg

Craftsmen that do it every day are highly skilled and spend years learning the craft. To become a proficient hand turner, plan on investing in the right equipment and most importantly investing time, preferably with some training from a skillful hand turner.

Wood turning is not something that you just do occasionally. That is a skill set you must practice regularly to stay efficient. If what you truly want is to build a nice table, it’s probably best to buy premade DIY table leg crafts.

Premade turned parts can often be ordered with modifications for example mortising, splitting, notching. It’s also possible to order the legs with an apron and other attachment systems if you don’t have the equipment or skills for creating them yourself.

How Round Table Leg Was Made Commercially

In a world of commercial woodturning, table leg craft, columns, or any round parts, in general, are manufactured using several different technologies. The most advanced technology is with one CNC (computer numerically controlled) lathe.

Older but very efficient technology is Madison Rotary Lathe. Madison lathes came into use in the 1940s. Although referred to the lathe, I think of them more as a horizontal shaper. Like one shaper tooling with the required profile is slid onto an arbor (shaft) that on a Madison lathe is in the horizontal plane about 3” in diameter, also can be up to 48” long.

When running the tooling spins at kinda high RPM (revolutions per minute), an arbor fully loaded with tooling could weigh several hundred pounds. Changing out tooling takes a highly skilled technician and many hours. The vibration from improperly installed tooling can literally walk machinery weighing several thousand pounds across the shop floor. Obeying all safety procedures is mandatory.

Like a hand lathe, you chuck on a turning blank between two center points that slowly rotates the blank. A blank is then slowly indexed into the rapidly turning tooling. Once this stop point is reached and the blank has made 1 full revolution we have a fully formed leg ready for sanding.

Another attribute that sets one Madison lathe apart from all others is its ability to create faceted turns the most common being square (4 sided turnings). No machine is more logical at running hundreds of the same parts. The downside for the Madison lathes is long set up times, long apprenticeship periods for the operators, safety problems, and the cost of tooling. Building and maintaining the tooling takes another very skilled craftsman.

Currently, I know of only one company in the United States, which makes heads for Madison lathes. Madison lathes have been and still are one backbone for commercial applications where thousands of the same parts are required.

Wooden Carved, Shaped DIY Table Legs

Moving on from the legs that are more straight, such as the Foursquare, tapered and turned legs, you get into legs which are shaped or carved. It’s not uncommon for legs of this type for require shaping, carving, multiple machines, complex fixturing, and multiple processes.

French and Cabriole table-legs are historic styles in this genre. From the Arts and Design, Art Deco, and Mid-Century Modern periods forward unending examples abound.

woodworking table leg
Woodworking table leg.

After decades studding all dining DIY table leg, I’m still often captivated by a new design. Recently at the lobby of a hotel I bent over to study antique legs.

To my surprise when I turned around there was a collection of ones bent over trying to find out what so fascinated me. Startled, I felt some needs to explain. Isn’t that DIY table leg gorgeous!! Hoping this opens one new avenue to exploring the always amazing creativity that lives within you and your DIY living room.




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