Working with Small Feet

~IMG_3149Nope! This post has nothing to do with the human anatomy. This is about creating small feet in the shop for boxes such as our Flag Box, which is this week’s release from 360 Woodworking as we celebrate Independence Day. (As a subscriber, if you click here, you can read all about the box and watch a short video showing a table-saw joint that’s a great substitute when dovetails aren’t a necessity. You are a subscriber, aren’t you?)

Feet are assembled in pairs. At the front of a box, or chest for that matter, feet are often miter-cut at 45° to fit together. At the rear of the piece, feet are joined by dovetails, screws or they can have a tongue that slips into a dado. (There are other methods, too.)

Regardless of how you cut the miters, holding small parts at a miter saw or miter box can place digits too close to the action for comfort. How you lay out the feet is important. Making miter cuts to join the front pairs is not so easy, unless you plan your attack.

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It’s best to layout the patterns on your stock so that the square edges are at the two ends. My two lengths of stock (3/4” in thickness) each have three feet drawn out, and the triplets are all facing the same direction (one pattern is rotated 180°); one piece has the feet pointing left and on the other they point right. You have to work in pairs. Working this way gives you a larger piece to hold at the saw, which keeps your fingers away from the blade.

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— Glen D. Huey

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