Bracket feet have just the right combination of strength and elegance. The thick blocks provide plenty of support for a project like the blanket chest in Woodsmith No. 145. But the graceful contours of the faces and the curves of the scalloped profiles keep the feet from looking too heavy. All in all, they're pretty impressive.
On the other hand, if you've never made bracket feet, ifs easy to be a bit intimidated by all these curves. Don't be. They don't require nearly as much handwork as you might expect — most of the shaping is done at the table saw and band saw.
FROM ROUGH TO READY. Bracket feet start out as lV^'-thick blanks. But as you can see in the margin, I glue two 3/4n-thick pieces together, so I don't have to buy lV^'-thick stock. The blanks are then cut oversized (4V2" x 16"), so the two halves of each foot can be cut from one blank.
All of the work of shaping the face profile is done while the blanks are oversized. Then they'll be cut in half and mitered, and the curved scallop will be cut (see the pattern on the next page). Finally the halves of each front foot will be glued together.
Roughing Out the Face
With the blanks in hand, you're ready to create the S-shaped profile on the face of each blank. All the rough work for this is done at the table saw, starting with a simple cove (Steps 1-3).
COVE SET-UP. A cove is cut by pushing a board across the table saw at an angle, guided by a pair of wood fences. If you've never cut a cove before, don't worry. Steps 1 and 2 will show you exactly how to set up
Profile your table saw. And cutting the cove is done in multiple passes, "nibbling" away only Vie" of material with each pass (Step 3).
To find the correct angle of the fences, I first, mark the entry and exit points of the blade when it's raised to its full height, which is 5/8" for this cove (Step 1). Then I make a posterboard "frame" (with a IV4"-wide opening and a border) and
17~o begin, raise the blade to the final depth of the cove (%")■ Then using tape, mark where the teeth of the blade enter and exit the table.
2 Next, make a template with a 1 %" inside window (the cove's final width). Then angle the template so the long edges touch the marks.
3 With both fences in place, set the blade Vm" high and make a pass. Raise blade in Vie" increments and repeat until cove is %" deep.
angle it until it touches the entry and exit points (Step 2). Now the first fence can be clamped in place.
To position the second fence, simply clamp it to the table with one of the blanks sandwiched in between. (The blank should slide smoothly.)
CUT COVE. At this point, you're ready to cut the coves (Step 3). Start with the blade set Vie" above the table, and don't remove any more than Vi6" in one pass. Stop when the cove is at its full height (5/sM).
MAKE TEMPLATE. Now before you do any more shaping, it's a good idea to make a template. (As you can see in the photo below, I made mine out of hardboard.) The pattern below is the only one you need for the feet. The curve on the end will help you create the face profile. (The scalloped profile will be cut later.)
With your template in hand, set it on the ends of each blank and align it with the cove. Then trace around the template, as shown in the photo below. Now you've got a good guide for what the profile will look like and where to remove the waste.
FINISHED WIDTH. The next step is to begin removing the waste by trimming the edges of the blanks (Step 4). With the profile already drawn on the ends, all you need to do is set the fence so the blade aligns with the profile lines. (You'll end up trimming about W or so from each edge.)
COMPLETE COVE. Now you're ready to elongate one edge of the cove. You could do tliis with a rasp or a file, but I removed most of the waste much quicker with a V^'-wide stacked dado set, as you can see in Step 5.
To remove the waste, you'll need to adjust both the angle and the height of the blade, but there aren't any hard and fast dimensions to work with here. Hie best way to set up the saw is to crouch behind the saw and eye down the saw blade (with the blank behind the blade so you can see the profile.)
Don't attempt to cut right to the line. The idea is just to get close enough so the final shaping doesn't take a lot of time (or effort). And be ready to make several passes, resetting the fence and the angle of the blade with each pass.
ROUNDOVER. After the cove is completed, the roundover located on the top, outside corner can be roughed out. Again I used the table saw to remove much of the waste, but this time, I used a regular saw blade tilted 45°, as shown in Step 6.
4 With the profile laid out on the ends of each blank (see photo
5 Next, extend shape of cove by removing waste with dado blade below), rip them to final width (4"), set at angle. Adjust rip fence and dado trimming waste from each edge. blade between passes as needed.
Bracket Foot Pattern
6 Now the top, outside corner of each blank can be trimmed. To do this, tilt a regular saw blade 45°. Then sneak up on the final layout line.
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There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.