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Building an Oval Table With Sculpted Legs

Building an Oval Table With Sculpted Legs

In this build I use a shop made oval cutting jig to cut and elliptical top for a table, and create an abstract shape for the shelf, and sculpted legs. The table is made from Cherry and legs are made from walnut. Affiliate links of some of the products I used in this build

• Titebond CA Glue Medium –

• CA Glue Accelerator –

• West Systems Epoxy –

• Porter cable router –

• White side spiral combo Router Bit –

• Mega Flush Trim Router Bit

For a list of some of my favorite tools and typical consumables I use in my shop, please visit my amazon page. (This is an affiliate link and funds raised help this channel grow.)

Video Recap

For today’s project I’m going to build this oval table with some abstract shelves and sculpted legs.

I did the typical process of milling the lumber, but when it came to the glue up I decided not to use dominos for alignment as I usually do.  Since I am cutting an oval, and some abstract shapes of this stock I didn’t want to risk cutting into one of the dominos having it showing through on the edges.

So I cut some cauls and covered them with packing tape to prevent the glue from sticking to them, and then used them to keep the panels flat during glue up.

   I spaced my clamps off the top of the work bench with some scrap wood so I would have room for the clamps to slide under the material when clamping  the cauls down. 

After all the panels were glued up I made a quick shop made oval cutting jig and double stick taped it in the center of my work piece.

I’m not enough of a mathematician to tell you exactly how it works but, but the basic jest of it is there are 2 pivot points that slide back and forth in the jig.  One point controls how long the oval is the other controls how wide it is. 

I did several shallow passes until I was all the way through.

The lower shelves are only going to reach a little past half way across the table, so I glued up 2 shorter blanks and traced half of the oval shape on them.  Then I headed over to the band saw to rough them out, being sure I left the line to clean up later.

Then I used some double stick tape to tape the top to the lower shelf, then with a bearing bit in the router table I cleaned up one side of the shelf to match the top. 

And then did the same for the bottom shelf. 

Where the oval shape ended and the abstract portion began, I used the disk sander to blend the two shapes together. 

Then it was time to finalize the abstract shape of the lower shelves.  I just started drawing what I thought was a nice gentle curve, and just kept refining it until I was happy with the shape. 

My daughter said it kind of looks like squidwards head from sponge bob square pants.  So with her approval I head over to the bands aw and cut out squidwards head. 

I clean up the marks left over from the band saw at the spindle sander then used more double stick tape and headed over to the router table to make a copy for the lower shelf.

Now it was time to design the legs.  I thought I was being cleaver by using the arch of the oval to create the arch of the leg.  But after I drew it out I decided it was a terrible look, too many steep curves coming together. 

 So I went back to draw out a few different variations.  I decided to make the legs straight and just have the top section of the leg curve.

Then I decided to bevel back the top of the leg much like the shape of a flower from a calla lily. 

Since the lower part of the leg is straight, I marked a stopping point on the fence of the table saw and where the curve started on my template.  I made the cut, stopping when the 2 line met and shut the saw off so I could safely remove the piece. 

Then I finished cutting the curved part at the band saw. 

I’m going to use this template at the router table to cut out the legs.  So to give me solid place to start the cut I’m using a little CA glue to glue on some extra material at the start and end of the cut.  This will give me something to make contact with the Bering on the router bit before it starts cutting.  This will reduce the chance of it catching the end grain and tearing up the workpiece or having a kick back occur. 

I refined the curve at the spindle sander.

Then to be sure no divots from the spindle sander would show up in the final workpiece.  I did a final hand sanding with a flexible sanding strip to fair the curve. 

A few dabs of CA glue to attach the fence to the jig. Then I attach some riser blocks to add some clamps.

After the glue set up I went back and reinforced the riser blocks with some screws from underneath so the force of the clamps would not break away ca glue bond. 
When selecting the wood for the legs I chose pieces  so the grain would flow with the curve of the leg.  

I used my template to trace the shape and headed to the band saw to cut them out being sure to leave the line.

At the router table is when you can see the extra support from the glue blocks in action.  I make contact with the bearing against the plywood block, and then start the cut.  There is very little risk of kick back or having a catch happen.

The legs are going to be joined to the top with a notch cut into the legs.  I set up a stop block on my miter gauge so the notches would be in the exact same place on each leg.  And cut them out with a dado stack sized to the thickness of the top and shelves. 

Since the top is curved and the dado has a flat bottom it created a small gap where they came together. 

To fix this I chiseled out a concaved shape similar to the curvature of the top on each leg. 

I did a little test fit to see how things where fitting.  Top fit really well.  But when I installed the lower shelves the sharper curve of squidwards head left a gap on the short leg. 

So I marked the location of the leg on the shelves, and approximated how deep of a notch I needed to make.  I used my Japanese pull saw to cut against the grain, and then chiseled the rest out.

I did a few test fits and adjustments with the chisel until I had a nice tight fit on all side.

I wanted a nice smooth round over on the front of the legs, so I used a standard round over bit in the router table.  To do this safely, reducing a chance of a catch or kick back running me or the workpiece, I glued on some starter plywood blocks. 

Back at the router table I used the starter blocks to safely start the cut against the bearing of the bit,.  I took several small passes raising the bit between passes until I was taking a full depth pass.

A little wacke with a good mallet and the plywood pieces get knocked off pretty easily.

The stain left over from the glue will get cut off in the next step.  

At the miter saw I trimmed off the tops of the legs to the decorative angle I decided on earlier.

In hindsight this may have been safer to do at the table saw.  The little cut off got sucked into the miter saw, but of course that little piece could have turned into a bullet and kicked back off the table saw. 

I know all you hand tool only lovers and screaming at me now.  

To put the final touches on the legs and blend the top into the sides, I hand sanded a small chamfer around the curved tip and along the sides. 

After I final test fit, I decided it would be easier to pre-finish the pieces before assembling them. 

I marked each leg location and covered the joint with tape so the finish wouldn’t interfere with the glue bond. 

Then I used a little denature alcohol to remove the pencil lines, and eased the over the edge  with a little hand sanding.

I used a clear wipe on satin poly for the finish.  I put 4 coats before assembly and then did a 5th touch up coat after assembly. 

After all the parts were finished I removed the tape and prepped my clamps with some cushioning material so I wouldn’t mar the new finish, and went to work assembling the table

Since I had 9 joints over 7 pieces to line up and clamp together, I used a slow setting epoxy.

As usual the band clamp was disappointing, and was abandoned by the end of the glue up. 

Well my kid won’t let me call it the squidward table because well, she thought it was a dumb name.  But I think it turned out pretty good. 

Thank you for making it to the end of the project.  If you would like to see the progress on the next project being built please join me on patreon.  And as always, be sure to subscribe and hit the bell to be notified when the next video is released. 

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.