Thinking outside (or on top of) the box

Recently, I was told that we needed yet another bookcase.  (Who says that print is dead?)  So I decided to do something a little special.  Ogee bracket feet came to mind.  So I consulted with my friend and workmate, Lester.  Many of you reading this post already know Les.  He’s an extraordinary period furniture builder, who has always looked for a better way to do things.  I remembered that on one of my visits to Les’ shop I noticed a set of ogee bracket feet, awaiting use, on the shelf.  I mentioned that I wanted to incorporate that style of foot into a design and he told me that when I was ready to let him know.  He then showed me a pine box/frame that looked like a deep shadowbox about 6″ square.  With a secretive little twinkle in his eye, he told me that he would explain the device’s use, when the time was right.  With a little prodding, he explained that we would use the box frame to support the rough foot glue up and cut the sectional ogee shape on the band saw.  That task would, in fact, be one of the last parts of the process.

The usual way of making ogee bracket feet is to run a length of stock through a table saw, shaper or some other type of milling device to achieve the ogee profile.  For those of us who are hand tool aficionados, the hollows and rounds would be honed up and put to work.  After the sectional shape is established, stock is cut to length, then mitered and splined.  Then the face detail is cut in place.  After that, mitered faces are, glued and “rubbed” and a substantial glue block is positioned and glued (“rubbed” again).  (Traditionally these are “rub” joints which require no clamping.)  After that comes any additional shaping and finishing.

But using Les’ method, I cut stock to length, mitered and cut grooves for splines.  Then I cut the face details prior to gluing up (though I forgot to do it this time, any finish work on the face details can be done, on the flat, prior to glue up.  Much easier).  I then glued up the rough feet as described above.  I then built a little supporting “box/frame” to which I clamped up the “glue-ups”.


After clamping, the foot is cut on a bandsaw to achieve the ogee shape.  A good sharp blade guaranteed that I had a minimum of finish up work to do.  If I can remember where I’ve stored the little framework, there’s no reason why I couldn’t use it over and over.

And, (if I ever get around to building it) there’s no reason why I couldn’t use this same set-up on a foot driven reciprocating saw.


sash saw

from Eric Sloane’s “Museum of Tools”

Explore posts in the same categories: Period furniture building


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