The latest project in the shop is a desk, two drawers, curved tapered legs, cherry with a curly soft maple top.
First thing in the clamps is the legs, 6/4 cherry cut and glued to show bookmatched grain on one face. Then the top is milled up and put in the rack.
The next day the work progresses on the legs. The glue is scraped off and the leg is jointed on the bookmatched face. Because this face looks best by removing the least amount of material, it is my reference face.
A perpendicular face is jointed square to the bookmatched face, and the leg is planed square.
The legs are cut to common length with a mitre saw and stop block.
The leg positions are chosen best face forward, bookmatched face out.
The joinery is cut next, to avoid error in layout I draw the curved taper outline.
The joint is cut with a hollow chisel mortiser. Cut holes at the ends and at less than the chisel width apart. Then remove the waste from between the holes. This keeps the chisel from cutting a hole unsupported on one side, reducing bit flexing and the chisel overheating.
Mortises are cut for the back rail, the side rails, the drawer rail supports, a rail across the front under the drawers, and for two stub front rails.
The taper is cut on two parallel edges with the bandsaw. A fair curve is easier to saw if you pull your head back. Seeing more of the line makes it easier to cut along it, steering from the very end of the stock.
The edge sander removes the saw marks. The convex curve is easy to sand, rocking it back and forth against the platen. The concave side takes a little more finesse. Keep the face referenced against the platen, but apply pressure on the leading edge. This where the abrading will take place, so pull the leg smoothly past it for a even inside curve.
It's unneeded for the gentle curve of this long leg, but for shorter legs I installed an auxilliary platen to the sander. It's MDF with a graphite paper face. It bumps the paper out away from the drums, so deeper inside curves can be sanded. It essentially "shortens the sole" of the machine.
The waste is then taped back on the legs and the same taper is drawn.
The curve is sawn and sanded as the first.
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