How to make angled tapered legs for mid-century furniture
Angled and tapered legs are suitable for mid-century furniture. Our latest project was about building a set of two mid-century nightstands with routed finger pull drawer fronts made out of oak wood. For those, we needed to match some oak tapered legs. We could only find simple round legs at the local stores, didn’t want to buy them from the local stores, so we decided to build them from scratch.
Watch the making video and do not forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel:
They had to meet 3 conditions:
- first: to have a trapezoidal shape
- second: to be positioned at a certain angle
- third: to have a tapered shape
As usual, we started by designing them on the computer, using FreeCAD. That way, we could be sure that their length would be proportional to the height of the nightstands, the positioning angles would be correct, and the shape would look great in combination with the nightstands’ boxes. So, we drew the trapezoidal shape, and we got all the dimensions: the positioning angle, the angles needed for cutting the sides of the legs and all the other dimensions needed.
With all those info on our list, we went into the workshop and started building them.
Finding the best oak timber
We searched for a wide and long beautiful piece of oak timber without any cracks, big knots, or white areas. We wanted to get two sets of 4 tapered legs with a very smooth aspect, to match the entire look of the nightstands.
Planing the oak timber
Usually, when we need to cut a lot of narrow boards for small projects out of a wider board, we straighten it on one face and square it on each edge.
Getting the narrow boards
Then we cut narrow boards along each edge with the band saw and we square again the edges of the original one to repeat the operation.
That’s what we did here, too. We got all the strips needed for our project. We took the narrow boards and using the thicknesser we planed them to get the right thickness and width.
Cutting all the pieces
We cut 8 pieces to the right length and at the right angle (20 degrees). First, we cut one end of the board, then we flipped and turned the board and we made the second cut after we carefully measured the length of the leg.
Cutting the legs to get the tapered shape
We drew a line on one face of each piece, from one end to the other.
We cut them with the band saw, without using any jig, along the drawn line. We were very careful to follow the line, to get a cut as straight as possible.
As you can see, one edge of the legs remained planed. We used it to cut the sides at the right angle, to get the trapezoidal shape.
Cutting the legs to get the trapezoidal shape
We tilted the band saw table to the previously calculated angle (5 degrees) and then we cut one side of the leg.
We turned the leg to the other side and we cut it to get two identical cuts.
This is how the angled tapered legs looked after all those cuts.
Sanding the angled legs
We already got the shape of the legs. All we had to do, was to sand them with 80 grit sandpaper to smooth them down and then to finish the sharp edges. For that, we used the belt sander. It was the fastest way to remove all the traces from the cuts.
Routing the sharp edges
We knew from the beginning that we will chamfer them by using the same router bit we used for the nightstands, a 45-degree chamfer router bit.
But, there are a lot of other methods to make them look gorgeous. From this point, there is only about preferences. The edges could be slightly sanded, or beveled, or they can be routed with other different router bits.
Sanding all the sides with 150 grit sandpaper
In the end, we sanded the chamfered edges and all the sides with the belt sander secured on the worktable, using 150 grit sandpaper. All the pieces became smooth and ready to be varnished.
Finishing with water-based primer and varnish
We finished them with a water-based primer and water-based varnish, sanding them with 320 grit sandpaper after the primer dried. The final result was more than satisfying.
This is the way you can have simple yet stunning angled tapered legs for your mid-century furniture.