Beginning the Base: Mitered Legs

Sketch of HDTV Stand

Sketch of HDTV Stand

Work continues on this project and I’m finding the fact that there isn’t a deadline refreshing!  Of course, it would be nice for it to be for a paying client but the lack of deadline stress is refreshing.  Now that the basic cabinet and drawer web are done it’s time to get away from the dovetails and work on the base it will sit upon.  Like everything else, this will be made of 1 1/8″ thick Sapele.

The total height of this base is 8+ inches and there will be a ledge that the cabinet sits on.  The top of each leg and the base is rabbeted out to a depth of 3/8″ with 1/4″ lip for the cabinet to drop down into.  That will receive a small chamfer to relieve that corner.  First order of business was cutting a 45 degree angle on the end of a board long enough to make the four sides of the legs.  This piece is 3″ wide.  After the angle was cut, the blade was lowered and the fence placed to the left of it to cut a slot for a reinforcing spline.  Just a side note here; the usual position for the fence is to the right of the blade.  Luckily I discovered this on my set up cut or it could have been a disaster!  When I ran it through, my body was pressed against the fence lock which loosened and the fence moved — that cut was very crooked and would have ruined the whole piece.  I was sure to keep clear of that when cutting the actual piece.  It took very little work to true up the angled cut after which they were cut to length.

Next up was rabbeting the tops to accept the case.  This was done with a dado set and the L-Shaped fence for the tablesaw.

This led to the challenge of how to glue and clamp all of this together and maintain a nice, tight joint.  As usual, a practice set up was done prior to the real thing — you know how stressful glue-ups can be!  The spline is made of a piece of plywood that was used on a bathroom remodel subfloor, it just happens to be the right side to fit the kerf of my blade.  The glue I used was Old Brown Glue which allows a longer open time and doesn’t cause the wood fibers to swell up like polyvinyl glues do.

All that remained for the legs was to reinforce the backs of them.  This was done with the piece that was cut off the edge to create the miter.  After relieving the inner edge with a block plane, a simple rubbed glue joint reinforced the legs.  Now comes fitting them to the bottom of the case with mortise and tenon joinery.

Setting up hollow chisel mortiser

Setting up hollow chisel mortiser

Pretty straight forward but I’ll share how I set the mortiser up.  The cut needs to be centered exactly in the width of the board.  It is a 3/8″ thick mortise with a haunch and about 2 1/2″ wide.  Using a piece of scrap I mark and set the mortising chisel to the center of the board.  After making a test cut, use a caliper to measure the wall thickness on either side of the mortise.  Once they’re the same you’re centered.  Lucked out today and only needed to make a couple of cuts to get it right.  Once it’s set the table is locked and I make sure not to turn that wheel while cutting.  I’ve also found that using a set up block like the one on the table is a great way to square the bit to the fence.  There’s more surface area on the block to line things up with compared to using a try-square.  Next up, measuring very careful and cutting/fitting the tenons for the rest of the base.


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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