Leg Alignment & Leveling


Because the legs will not be permanently fixed, but come in and out, it occurred to me that it would be a challenge each time to get the legs aligned properly so the table does not wobble.  So after noodling for a while, I came up with a possible solution.

I used a small forstner bit to drill a side channel down one edge of the mortise, and then put a cap screw into the side of the tenon.  The cap screw slides down the channel, keeping the leg aligned.

It seems to work pretty well, though I have some concerns.  I can no longer twist the legs back and forth to remove them from the mortises.  Now I have to wiggle them in one axis.  This might wallow out the mortise or compress the tenon over time so they do not fit snug; that therefore could make the table wobbly.

In the long run, I may have to drive screws through the battens into the tenons to keep the legs from wobbling.  This would also solve the alignment problem, making the channels and cap screws superfluous.  On the other hand, the current tool-less assembly is more elegant than having to bring a screwdriver.

I drove the battens into the top, inserted the legs, and set the desk upside down on the gluing platform.  In The Anarchist’s Design Book, Schwarz describes several different methods to level the legs.  I chose one that involves a couple handscrews, a long scrap of wood, and a pencil.  It’s not a perfectly even line around the legs, at least in my hands, but close enough.

I got fairly close to the angle with the mitre box and then finished with the jack plane.  I then chamfered the edges with a cabinet file.