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How to join rail to round leg?

aaronpetersen's picture

How to join rail to round leg? (post #166906)


I'm starting work on a bench and I'm having a hard time coming up with a solution to the problem of joining the rails to the round, tapered leg. The attached pic isn't the best example, but you can see how Wegner joins them. I don't know whether he uses dowels or M&T, but I'm going to use dowels. My problem is how do you form the shoulders so they snug up tight to the leg? If the leg were a straight cylinder you would need to cove the end of the rail with a radius that matches the leg. In the case of the famous "Chair" the leg is a tapering cylinder of all different dimensions. Any one know how they did this? 

While I'm at it, anyone know how they formed the leg to arm joint in the same photo?



joinerswork's picture

Aaron, Your name is not (post #166906, reply #1 of 5)


Your name is not familiar, but your picture is.  I feel certain I've seen you somewhere before, but can't remember where...;-)

It looks to me as if the section of the lag where the joint is located, is cylindrical, and the tapers begin  above and below the aprons.

Milling the ends of the aprons is easily enough accomplished with a round nosed bit for router or shaper, and a carriage,( crosscut fence) to hold the work as it is passed across the cutter.  I believe I'd drill for the dowels in the aprons before milling the hollow on the end, just so you are going into a flat surface, then transfer the location to the legs.


RalphBarker's picture

options (post #166906, reply #2 of 5)

Another option for relatively narrow rails and such is to rout a shallow hollow/mortise on the leg into which the entire width of the rail will fit.

Westchester's picture

Chair (post #166906, reply #3 of 5)

AP - AKA Norm

Good suggestions above for the rails -

My guess for the leg / arm rest support - would be a dowel ?


aaronpetersen's picture

Thanks for the replies. I (post #166906, reply #4 of 5)

Thanks for the replies. I believe everyone was spot on. I spent some time today turning prototype legs to get the taper right and I'm pretty certain that there is no taper in the rail area. So, with it just being a straight cylider it becomes a bit easier. I think I'm going to try coping the end of the rail with a core box bit. I've got one on order now to match the expected leg diameter. Also, I should have pulled out Joyce's Encyclopedia of Furniture Making before I posted. I think I found 3-5 different ideas in there on how to get this done. 


As for the leg/arm joint, I'm going to use a dowel. My question was more focused on how to get that great transition. I can think of a couple less than ideal ways and just wanted to throw it out there to see what others come up with. 



Westchester's picture

Transition (post #166906, reply #5 of 5)

AP -

The only way to get a result you're proud of is " take your time"  cut everything even and square - don't glue unless a dry fit is perfect.

Possibly turn the vertical leg with a dowel at one end so you'll have the exact center on one component - and slightly over size the drilled hole into the underside of the  arm rest  so adjusting is possible.  I'm suggesting not more then a 1/16 oversize  hole - room for the glue to hold anyway -