Sofa Table: Episode 3

Sofa Table 3

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It’s time to layout and taper the legs! Paul shows us several methods that can be used to shape this and a number of different styles of leg using a variety of tools. He also makes some turn buttons and cuts the mortices to receive them.

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  1. dpaul on 23 April 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Paul, you’ve been in North Wales too long. You are losing your Texas accent 🙂

  2. RL on 23 April 2014 at 6:03 pm

    That was a fun episode, particularly the axe parts! So speedy.
    Would you ever use a drawknife to taper the legs?

    • Paul Sellers on 25 April 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Certainly would and do. Could have done that too.

      • RL on 25 April 2014 at 10:04 pm

        Thanks Paul, I’m following a few on ebay right now but no luck yet. Do you have a preference for a curved blade or a straight blade for heavy stock removal such as tapering a leg?

  3. Jaime Clifton on 23 April 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Does anyone know please of the type of oil used to lubricate the saw?

    • steff on 23 April 2014 at 7:34 pm

      If I’m nice to my saws I’m using camellia oil.

    • Eddy Flynn on 23 April 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Paul uses a light machine oil something like 3 in 1 oil .

      • STEVE MASSIE on 23 April 2014 at 9:56 pm

        That’s right and this is what I now use as well, cheap and it is easy to find also has a pleasant oder to it, works great and helps keep rust away also.


    • Paul Sellers on 25 April 2014 at 6:47 pm

      3-1 Light machine oil works best.

  4. RL on 23 April 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Camellia oil can be a little hard to find these days. I use jojoba oil which is commonly available at health food stores.

  5. eksund on 23 April 2014 at 9:36 pm


    You are talking about a scrub plane and a smoothing plane. To me they look the same. What´s the different?

    • STEVE MASSIE on 23 April 2014 at 10:01 pm

      I am not Paul but the main difference is the cambor on the blade and mouth opening, this is used for “hogging wood” away quickly. I do own a #40 scrub plane by Stanley and I also set up a beat up #5 jack plane which does a great job as well.


    • Paul Sellers on 25 April 2014 at 6:48 pm

      We reworked a 4 smoother to make a scrub plane. Works great!

    • Paul Sellers on 25 April 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Also, we have a video done on converting it.

  6. STEVE MASSIE on 23 April 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Paul and crew another great video. I love how you show different techniques on how to accomplish something, in this case ( tapering ) narrowing legs. These tips / suggestions give us a choice one way may be easier than another way and also what tools you may have available. Enjoying this series very much keep up the good work.

    I have learned a great deal since I been following you from the start, thanks again for sharing your experience.


  7. sidreilley on 23 April 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I find McQueen’s great for lubing planes and saws.
    Great episode Paul! Wonderful that you show not one but three ways to taper a leg…..with hand tools. I was recently reading about tapering table legs in a book by a noted hand woodworker who offered two methods, table saw or band saw!


    • Farred on 27 April 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Ugh, have done several on a table saw. I always felt like I was risking life/limb every time. Any time you feed a table saw at skewed angles it’s risky. Bandsawing–much safer.

  8. SharpPencil on 23 April 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Paul thank you for teaching me so much.

    The rip saw you were using I think was a Very old Disston with a little nip on the back edge. When I researched the Disston history on line this was discussed but it appears that it’s use has not been confirmed.
    I have a collection of Disstons bought on eBay and boot fairs, I was recently given a very old saw in a very poor state with this little nip, would you be able to confirm its use please.
    Lastly could you show how you make your lubrication pad please.

    Regards John

    • Philip Adams on 17 July 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Hi John, you might be better off asking about the nib in the forums. I asked Paul the same question once and he said he wasn’t sure, just saw design I guess (; Re the oil can, see Paul’s blog post here and related blog posts:

      If you have any other questions the best thing to do is post in the forums or email WWMC directly. Hope that helps.

  9. SharpPencil on 23 April 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Sorry not nip but nib…….J

  10. pnj2411 on 23 April 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Wow. I love how these video classes progress and present us with with an increasing number of options for any given operation. It’s like Beethoven and his ability to produce multiple variations on a theme.
    To taper the leg on this table (and therefore any number of similar tapers we will meet), here we have five options: band saw; rip saw cut; stop cut and chisel; axe; plane. And I suppose also table saw if we want to spend the time setting that up.
    The key thing is that what is being taught here (and actually in every one of Paul’s videos) is more than how to do the specific task at hand.
    From a vague aspiration to do some woodworking fuelled by lessons many years ago, this site has given me the confidence to actually start really doing it.
    And the making of those turnbuttons was like a magic trick.

  11. Greg Merritt on 24 April 2014 at 12:19 am

    Great episode! Thank you Paul and crew.

  12. rasberrc on 24 April 2014 at 2:59 am


    First of all, a-mazing. I feel as though I just sat through a semester’s worth of material in an hour.
    Secondly, sometime ago I picked up an extra #5 Stanley with a corrugated bottom.
    Would the #5 be a good candidate for a scrub plane or is this too much of an “overkill”?

    • DougGman on 24 April 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Calvin, I’m certainly a long way from Paul’s level, but thought I’d share my experience. I have an extra #5 set as a scrub plane and find that it works very well.

      It seems that the #5 is by far the most common used plane available at garage sales in my neck of the woods (northern Wisconsin, USA), and are generally $10 or less. Most can be turned into good users with the normal rehab work of de-rusting and touching up the surfaces. So turning one into a scrub plane can be a fairly inexpensive way to go.

      Happy tool hunting!

  13. Anonymous on 24 April 2014 at 6:03 am

    Good workout with the legs. Masterclasses are my preferred exercise program!

  14. GeorgeRountree on 25 April 2014 at 1:53 pm

    How about tapering a leg with a drawknife?

  15. adrian on 3 May 2014 at 4:22 am

    Great show thanks for the details on the use of a hatchet to rough down close to the line.
    Sure beats setting up the taper jig on the table saw and much easier on the ears.

  16. brian18741 on 19 August 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Great video, love the method used to make the turn buttons. As you were cutting them I was trying to think how you’d remove the waste in the middle and separate them. I was thinking is he going to chisel down or drill, but I knew you’d have an easier way to do it.

    Then you hit it with a hammer! Brilliant!

  17. Stephen Tyrrell on 7 August 2021 at 6:52 am

    I am a bit lost with the dimensions of the turn buttons. If the mortise holes are set 1/2 inch down from the top of the apron, an the mortise is 3/8″ wide, a one inch square turn button will not be flush with the top of the apron.

    Also, Paul marks two parallel lines on the sides, but he says the marking gauge is set to 1/2″. That just marks a single line down the centre of a one inch block.

    What am I missing?

  18. deanbecker on 8 August 2021 at 3:47 pm

    The block for turnbuttons is 1&1/4 inch. The one inch he talks about is the rule and how far from the end he went. There is 1/4 inch between the gauge lines and if they fit the hole with out being tight the top would be loose

  19. Stephen Tyrrell on 12 August 2021 at 12:25 am

    I now see what is happening with the turn buttons. The block is the combined height of mortise (3/8) and the half inch from the top of the rail – so 7/8″ high by 1 inch wide. With the marking gauge set at 1/2″, I get two parallel lines as per the video, and turn buttons that fit. I had wrongly assumed the block was one inch square. Duh!

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