Are those curly legs?

Posted by is9582 on December 6, 2015as , , , , , , , , ,

While I was breaking down the large boards of Soft Maple that I purchased, I cut two pieces that are each 31″ long, which I plan to use as the legs for a new base. At this point, I’m looking at these pieces as netting two legs each, but if it looks out of proportion, I may just decide to laminate some beefier legs. We shall see.

So, today I decided to see how this wood behaves with a hand plane. I like to start out planing one of the large face sides, and when I have that flat, I’ll plane one edge so it is square and true to the planed face.

Leg board after one pass with the plane.

Leg board after one pass with the plane.

This face side of the board, had a raised bulge running the length of the board, so I focused on that area first. I lowered the bulge, planing down the length of the board, since it was fairly pronounced, and was hard to prevent tipping the plane fore or aft. After bringing that part down so it was almost completely level, I started working across the grain, so I could take advantage of heavier shaving and expedite my progress. It is amazing how much easier it is to work the wood across the grain, but do expect the surface to have a rough and splintery texture, so don’t expect to get a final surface planing this direction (unless you are actually wanting to give your bench top some “tooth”, so your work doesn’t slide around as easily). One other note: I always use an iron that has a fair amount of camber, when working across the grain, which helps me target any specific area and leaves a scoop pattern in the wood and the iron’s corners don’t dig in. I followed the cross grain planing with my old Stanley #3, first set up for a little heavier than normal shaving, then as a super-fine smoother, while planing with the grain.

Same leg board after planing it closer to level and showing some nice curly grain.

Same leg board after planing it closer to level and showing some nice curly grain.

After seeing the beautiful curly grain in this board for the bench legs, I’m getting more excited to see if the boards I cut for the bench’s top, will also have this nice grain?? Only time will tell!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Lee Laird

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