Plywood Table Legs


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Id like some opinion. I am building a 7ft by 50 inch wide Board game table.....It will consist of solid oak apron as well as a 5 inch solid oak top arm rest. I will recess a plywood playing surface that will be 40inch wide by roughly 7 ft. Now for the legs. I want the legs to be oak to match the apron but solid oak legs are EXPENSIVE. Like 150 bucks shipped. I dont have a planer or jointer so I cant make my own legs of solid wood if I want them to be square. Anyways I am considering getting Oak veneer plywood and cutting 4 pieces at a 45 degree angle and essentially building a Plywood box with mitered edges to be the legs. My question is if I have 4 of these "plywood" table legs will they be strong enough to support the table? Any thoughts? Would it be better to make the legs from cheap 1x4 pine and cover it with veneer myself or is plywood sufficient? Thanks

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First, that leg design should certainly support the weight, but I would feel better about those mitered joints holding together if the leg 'boxes' were of solid wood, not plywood. Unless you add some reinforcement, the solid wood would form a better glue joint.

If you own a tablesaw, and have access to quality S4S stock, this is very doable. In either case (ply or solid), I would fill the part where the apron (at least) attaches to create a solid section for joinery.

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I share wtnhighlander's concerns. However, I think it might work if you use a very good grade of 3/4" plywood, similar to baltic birch, use splines in your 45 deg joints, and glue with epoxy. The epoxy is not so much for strength as for extra working time.

I also agree that the same method using S4S lumber will give better results and probably for comparable cost to plywood. In addition, using solid wood will allow you to select the wood grain so that all four sides are quarter or rift sawn, if you like.

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If it were my table, I'd do anything I could to make the legs of solid stock.  Not because your plywood approach wouldn't be strong enough, but because I would really want to taper the legs.  For a table the size you're building, I figure you'll want legs that are 3" or 3-1/2" square at the top - smaller, and it will look insubstantial, even if it's structurally sound.  But legs that size, if they aren't tapered are going to look awfully "clunky."  I'd want to taper the two inside faces of each leg from full width just below the apron to maybe 2" or 2-1/4" at the bottom.

If you need to, use S4S, as @wtnhighlandersuggested and glue up three or four pieces to get the thickness you need.  Taper at the table saw.

If oak to match the apron is cost-prohibitive, you might consider using a less expensive hardwood and ebonizing it to contrast, rather than match the apron.

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There are a couple of ways you can taper the legs using the 4-piece glue-up method: 1- glue them up as straight and then taper them as you would using solid material. Depending on how much taper, you would want to either start with 5/4 material or fill the center of the lower part of the leg where the components get thin.  2- taper the 4 components as you cut the mitered edges. This way, when they are glued-up, they will end up with the taper you want. With this method, you could use plywood, but filling the center void will be a bit more difficult as it will also be tapered.

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On 5/7/2021 at 5:01 PM, BillyJack said:

I've got a shuffleboard table to make out of walnut. Luckily I have the walnut for the legs. 

So I take it you will just stain the raw oak plywood edge?

 

Who are you addressing the question to?

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On 5/7/2021 at 6:01 PM, BillyJack said:

I've got a shuffleboard table to make out of walnut. Luckily I have the walnut for the legs. 

So I take it you will just stain the raw oak plywood edge?

 

He is talking about a mitered box. Where would the edge show?

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