Woodworking in the great white north.

Marble Tower – the feet

Once again, my creativity (maybe it’s A-D-D) kicks in while I’m supposedly following a set of plans.  To go along with that, I’m posting this one completely out of sequence, although there is no ‘right’ place in the timeline of this project to put the feet on the tower, the reality is that the tower now has only some trim work and finishing to complete.  But I managed to do this step today despite starting off in a funk, so I couldn’t resist posting it.

In the plans, there are feet on the bottom of the marble tower, basically just little odd shaped pieces of wood that echo the 120 degree angles of the hexagon base.  I never really liked these and could not for the life of me think of what I was going to replace them with.  I was also running out of ash.

First I tried taking a few scrap pieces and trying to make some semi-circular blocks that could go on, or under each corner.  I cut them out and tried them in various arrangements with very little enthusiasm.  I have saved myself the embarrassment and you the indignity of having to view pictures of these fubars.  Just accept my word that this was a very bad idea.

I stood for a while pondering what I was going to do and realized that I only had a 12″x5″ plank remaining from my original milled stock for this project.  This was okay since everything else was already cut and installed, but it meant I had no room for error if I wanted to make the feet out of ash.

This is when my recent spate of blog viewing paid off in spades.

After seeing Shannon Rogers (The Renaissance Woodworker) working on some french feet, and Charles Neil do some similar bracket feet via The Woodwhisperer Guild video collaboration build on a chest of drawers project…I could not resist trying this.

Now…a couple of caveats here.  The legs I’ve built are pretty simple and basic, and very very small.  I didn’t try to get perpendicular grain arrangement as Shannon shows, not did I attempt ogees or splayed feet, but I did at least cut each pair of pieces from a linear strip of wood, keeping the grain lined up.  The grain in these legs is actually horizontal and for me this works better since they are very very stocky little legs.

With the 12″x5″ plank, I was able to rip down 6 strips 6″x1.25″ (3/4″ thick).  From these I cut out a wedge from the back center of each piece, keeping the grain on the face lined up as best I could.  Taking one piece, I drilled out a 3/4″ hole with a forstner bit to make the inside curve, then freehanded the rest on the bandsaw.  This became the template for the rest of the pieces.

Once cut up, I used some painters tape to glue them up and hold them in place.

More tape!!!

After a little while, with the glue dry enough, they got a light sanding.

Now comes the moment of truth, I wasn’t 100% sure that my hexagon base was accurately cut, it’s only been about a year since I started this project and I’ve learned a fair bit in that time.  I tried each of the feet in place and to my amazement, they all fit really nicely.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with how these turned out.

I thought about putting an ogee in the face similar to what Charles Neil has on his chest of drawers, or having the legs splayed out like in Shannon Rogers’ bookcase.  The reality is these legs are only 1 1/4″ high and 3″ wide and they are going on a child’s toy, which is more than likely to get bashed around a fair bit.  I opted for both the easier option and the most rugged and stable solution.

I am now itching to try this on something more substantial.  Perhaps even carving some feet as well.

One thing woodworking teaches well is patience.  I recognize that I could do more with this first attempt at bracket/french feet, but learning to walk before running is a valuable lesson and having a small project in which to display my lessons is pleasure enough.  Aside from all that, I think they look damn good and they really hit the mark on what I think the base needed to finish it off.

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One response

  1. Your closing sentences speak volumes about your design sense. As woodworkers we get so caught up in the technical stuff and how cool it is to make a joint or feature that we often are blinded by the fact that the piece we are building doesn’t need that joint. I think the feet look great and if you pimped them out any more it would take away from the profile of the bottom. Besides, with so much kinetic madness going on up above you could mount the whole thing on ruby slippers and no one would notice.

    August 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm

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