How to Make Table Legs for a Spool Leg Table

What You'll Need
Large Pieces of Wood for the Table Legs
Wood turning Cutting Tool

With the right machine equipment, you can make table legs for a spool leg table. A wood lathe for wood turning can give you the spool turned look among various other table leg designs. It can be difficult to find four table legs that are identical, however. Once the legs are set on the table, they will be far enough apart so that small differences will not be obvious. You can turn the spool legs by hand or using a copy lathe. In order to create table legs for a spool leg table, you will need the tools listed below.

Step 1 – Copying From an Existing Spooled Leg By Hand

If you have a spooled leg to copy, you can set it behind the lathe on a shelf. Line it up with the first piece of wood that will be used to make the table leg.

Step 2 – Turning the Corners

Turn all four corners off of the wood blank that is on the lathe. This will make it into a cylinder. The top of it will need to be left square. The top is where it will meet with the table aprons.

Step 3 – Transferring the Profile Change

Use a pencil to transfer the leg profile’s major changes onto the piece of wood. This can be done as the lathe runs. If you lightly touch the wood’s surface with the pencil, it will make a pencil line all the way around the piece of wood. 

Step 4 – Setting the Calipers

Set the calipers to the dimensions that match the first part of the leg’s profile right under the square top.

Step 5 – Notching the Wood

Use a cutting tool to turn a notch in the piece of wood on the lathe. Use the calipers to test it until the calipers can slide all the way thru the notch. Continue to work all the way down the leg. Mark each major profile transition’s depth using the calipers and cutting tools.

Step 6 – Filling in the Leg’s Profile

Use a skew or a gouge to fill in the leg’s profile as needed. Make sure to glance back and forth from the spool leg model you are copying so that they will be as alike as possible.

To Copy Using a Copy Lathe to Spool the Legs

Step 1 – Securing the Copy Attachment

Secure the copy attachment on to the lathe. It will hold the first leg and let you run a marker on its profile. You can move the cutter along the wood’s profile.

Step 2 – Cutting the Wood

Cut little bits of wood off at a time. You can make multiple passes if you need to. You can use this same template for the remaining legs that you will be making. This will ensure they look alike.