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I want to make a few small mid century modern style triangle side tables. It's too expensive to buy the shaped legs. My husband can cut the board for the tops. I thought of making legs from round dowel but how do I attach them? I have an idea and want to sell them so they have to be made well.

Commercially bought legs have screws in them so can be screwed into a plate. How do they get the screws into the legs?

If this is too hard what's a way to attach the legs making it look professional underneath. I don't have any fancy equipment.

  • Maybe provide a sketch of what you have in mind. Remember that dimensions are important, and this is pretty much unanswerable until we know rough dimensions and material. Make sure you take the tour to see what Woodworking SE is all about. – jdv Feb 13 at 15:05
  • Also, what do you mean "legs have screws in them"? I think you mean they have something called "threaded inserts". Those are installed as described here and elsewhere -- try searching for that phrase in the search box. – jdv Feb 13 at 15:57
  • I'm hoping the existing Answer will be updated to tell you how to get the screws in to the legs which is one of the main things you asked. Two quick additional things. One of the aspects of MCM stuff with round legs is that they're tapered, Almost all nicer furniture has some form of taper on the legs, and you may be surprised just how 'clunky' and ugly plain dowel legs will seem once they're on a table. The other thing is the because the legs will splay you need to to mark, and then cut, the foot of each leg to the requisite angle. You mention you don't have any fancy tools... [contd] – Graphus Feb 14 at 7:45
  • ...but don't worry, this can be done at simplest with a pencil, one saw and a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a block (to chamfer the edge of the foot). This chamfering is important to help prevent splintering when a table is dragged over the floor, esp. carpet, and it tends to make feet look better too although it's a small thing. – Graphus Feb 14 at 7:47
  • Re. tapering dowel legs, at simplest this could be done using a block plane (followed by a little sanding). In theory it could also be done just by hand sanding, but you'd need to sand very aggressively at the start which is hard work. There are other methods that require minimal tooling but there's a steeper learning curve with everything else I can think of. – Graphus Feb 17 at 7:42
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You can use an attachment plate on the bottom of the table, and then use the hanger bolt in the leg to provide a secure, removable joint. These attachment plates are available either straight or angled, depending upon how you want the legs to go in relation to the bottom of the table.

Attachment Plate

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  • Yes these, but "How do they get the screws into the legs?" – Graphus Feb 14 at 7:37
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    I think this Q was about not understanding how commercial pre-made legs have threaded inserts, and wanting to reproduce that with bare dowels. In this case the lag-bolt part of the fastener would go into the end of the dowel, superseding the need for a threaded insert. That's my take, anyway. – jdv Feb 14 at 14:51
  • Thanks you all who have helped me here. You are all so knowledgable. Sure I agree that dowel could look clunky and tapered legs are the ideal but they are so expensive to buy. I only want to make a small table about 12 to 14 inches each side ..a triangle..or a small round table. I don't have the tools to do tapering. Thanks for all the tips – ibujen Feb 16 at 6:03

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