After sketching your table leg pattern, you must transfer the design to your wood turning stock.

Wood Turning and Woodworking - Advanced Project

Table Leg Pattern

The third step in this project shows you how to mount your stock (in this case, oak) for the table legs on the lathe, how to measure your table leg pattern, and how to mark your wood turning stock to transfer your pattern. You will "see" the leg in the stock before you actually begin your woodturning.

When I find the center of the turning stock, I measure from all four corners. If my handmade stock is not exactly three inches square, I will still find the center. Once the four lines have have been drawn, you will have a little square in the center. I use an awl to punch the center hole. If you do not have an awl, just use any object that you have available that will make an indent in the center. Now, when I mount the head of the stock on the wood lathe, I mount the pin in the hole as you can see in the third picture below. The foot is marked and mounted in the same way.

Picture of finding center of wood turning stock

Picture of punching center on wood turning stock

Picture of mounting wood turning stock on lathe spindle

Picture of mounting stock for spindle woodturning

After I have mounted the turning stock on the lathe, I need to have a good idea of what the leg is going to look like after I turn it. That is - the first leg. The other three legs will, of course, be turned to match the first one. The first thing I will do is sketch the leg on a piece of paper. Then I tape the picture close to the lathe so that I can see it and measure the pattern using both a rule and calipers. (Looking at the picture below, you will see the sketch of a bed post beside the table leg. Cody and I made a bed for his parents as one of Cody's apprentice projects. You can see Cody and me turning a bed post from that sketch if you go to Apprentice 1.)

Draw Table Leg Pattern

Picture of drawing table leg pattern.

Picture of a long table leg to be turned on the wood lathe.

Begin by measuring the top part of the drawing and transfer that to the turning stock. The top part of the stock is going to be square. I use a square to go all the way around the four sides so that, as the stock is turning, I can see that line. Next you can see that I am drawing the leg. Measure and transfer the dimensions just like you see in your drawing. Of course, as soon as I start turning, all of the markings will go away but I still have to keep the picture in mind. Once I have the first leg turned, I lay it on the lathe and then use it as the pattern for the remaining three legs.

You can use the pictures below to see what I am doing and what you should do if you are using this project to make your own turned table legs. You can "see the leg" in the last picture.

Picture of measuring table leg pattern to mark turning stock.

Picture of marking leg pattern on wood turning stock.

Picture of measuring table leg pattern to mark turning stock.

Picture of drawing leg pattern on oak wood turning stock.

Picture of measuring foot portion of oak table leg for wood turning purposes.

Picture of marking foot pattern on wood turning stock.

Picture of table leg pattern drawn on wood turning stock.

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