Desk leg questions - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-20-2019, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Desk leg questions

My wife wants a midcentury desk similar to: https://pickedvintage.files.wordpres...ine-desk-1.jpg

Two questions:

1. What's the best leg attachment method for something like this (thin eaves and curved legs)?

2. Assuming the eaves/brace are attached to the legs via mortise and tenon, any advice on mortising curved legs? I assume one cuts the mortise in the square stock before rounding the legs?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-22-2019, 12:32 PM
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My mother had a very similar desk, but with square legs. As I recall, they had metal brackets that screwed to the underside of the top.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-22-2019, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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I can imagine a number of solutions with square legs - it's the rounding to the top which I'm not sure of the best way to handle.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-22-2019, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliebling View Post
My wife wants a midcentury desk similar to: https://pickedvintage.files.wordpres...ine-desk-1.jpg

Two questions:

1. What's the best leg attachment method for something like this (thin eaves and curved legs)?

2. Assuming the eaves/brace are attached to the legs via mortise and tenon, any advice on mortising curved legs? I assume one cuts the mortise in the square stock before rounding the legs?
On those the side panels are usually around 3/8" thick and are just installed in a dado mortised into the legs. The leg on the underside is usually done with a hanger bolt into a leg mounting plate.

The mortise in the leg can be done on the lathe after it is turned. While the turning is between centers you build a box over it giving it a flat surface where you can use a router to mortise it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-23-2019, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve! To allow for wood movement, I'll attach the apron to the top with clips in a slot. If the apron is also attached directly to the legs and the legs to the top, do I need to worry about wood movement there?
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-27-2019, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Doh...I'm an idiot...the apron sides have tenons which fit in to the dados in the legs, but are not actually glued - thus they can expand and contract as needed. So apron sides float freely (attached to top by floating clips and legs via tenons floating in dados) while legs and top are attached together.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-27-2019, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliebling View Post
My wife wants a midcentury desk similar to: https://pickedvintage.files.wordpres...ine-desk-1.jpg

Two questions:

1. What's the best leg attachment method for something like this (thin eaves and curved legs)?

2. Assuming the eaves/brace are attached to the legs via mortise and tenon, any advice on mortising curved legs? I assume one cuts the mortise in the square stock before rounding the legs?
More than likely, these legs are 'screw in' types. Threaded rod protruding from end of leg that screws into a female socket imbedded into the underside of the desk or a steel plate screwed to bottom of desk. This was done to make the legs easily removable for shippling and handling around the home. Usually not a very strong set-up.
If you wanted to use a mortise and tenon technique, which I have never seen in round legs on a desk, just glue a large block under the desk, turn the ends of the legs into a dowel shape "untapered" and drill an appropriate sized hole in the block.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx

Last edited by Tony B; 01-27-2019 at 09:46 AM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-27-2019, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by aliebling View Post
Thanks Steve! To allow for wood movement, I'll attach the apron to the top with clips in a slot. If the apron is also attached directly to the legs and the legs to the top, do I need to worry about wood movement there?
No, it's wider panels such as the top you need to worry about movement. Other components also expand and contract but the width of these parts are small enough the movement doesn't hurt anything. These parts can be glued in.
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