Three Legged

The seat of my camp stool has been done for some time and needing legs. Three legs. As such, I spent an inordinate amount of time making three different legs because I wanted to see what I could do without a lathe. This was something of a blank space in the internet. No clear directions on how to hand carve curves that taper in and out. Or end abruptly in the middle of the piece.

Legs in pine, sapele, and oak

Three legs – tapered and rounded sapele in the middle; rounded and tapered down then back out on the right in oak; and a rounded leg tapering to the flat top of a rounded foot in pine.

I didn’t bother keeping track of how I went about the rounded taper. I forgot with the taper in-and-out in oak.

So, on with the pine leg that tapers down to a flat topped foot. image-17

The process was draw lines, taper, draw more lines (as shown in this post on cabriole legs), chamfer and then round. I used a combination of chisel, plane, and rasps.

Initially  I’d set out some guide lines using a method for drawing an octagon from Chris Schwarz as seen here. Also, finding the centre at both the top and bottom and using a compass to draw circles provides other reference points.



The foot was a completely experimental. It rounds horizontally and vertically. Basically whittling a ball. Finally I sawed the bottom off to flatten it and arrived roughly at the point I had intended. image-21




5 thoughts on “Three Legged

  1. Greg Merritt March 29, 2015 / 9:19 am

    I like the one in red oak the best. Working without a lathe seems to be a black art. Paul Sellers has done a few spindle projects without a lathe on Masterclasses. Generally its work with a plane, spokeshave, rasps and files. Just like you have done here. Done well I might add. Its a logical sequence. Square to octagon. Octagon to round. Then the shaping. Nice work!


    • TIWilson March 29, 2015 / 10:35 am

      Thanks! black art…for all of us sorry bastards too cheap to go out for a lathe. It’s a process I really enjoy, right up there with necromancy. I am fond of the oak leg as well. I think I’d start the taper an inch or two higher next time, though.


  2. michaellangford2012 March 29, 2015 / 9:35 am

    If you lay a 24″ ruler diagonally across a timber, and mark 7″ & 17″ you have the arrises of an octagon, extend with combo square. Scaled down to 12″ it’s 3 ½”, 8 ½” etc…function of square root of 2…easier than drawing arcs on end grain, and more accurate…


    • TIWilson March 29, 2015 / 10:30 am

      damnit, you had to bring math into this. But seriously, that is good to know, thanks!


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