Chairs: Shaping the back legs

The rear legs of a typical side chair have a backward curve near the floor. This keeps the chair from tipping over backward. The tops of the back legs are also angled backward so that the chair back is at a comfortable angle.

The wood for the back legs should be cut out from a board that has a compatible grain direction for the shape of a the leg. If the grain direction is wrong the leg will be prone to break and it will also look bad.

 

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Back leg pattern with optimal grain direction lines drawn on the surface.
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Sawing a pair of back leg blanks from a rough board.

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Spindle shaper set-up with an eccentric dead collar below the cutter. The collar is set to the projection of the cutter, and follows the shape of the pattern shaping jig that holds the leg blank.
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Pattern shaping jig for front edge of a back leg.

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The leg blank is removed and clamped down on the other side of the jig to shape the rear edge.
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Rear legs shaped, and back rail mortises cut.
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