Introduction: How to Make Identical Table Legs on a Wood Lathe

About: Husband to a great wife, father to my baby girl, and child of the one true king. 9-5er during the day and woodworker the rest of the time. Follow along as I offer tips, tricks, and woodworking plans. I star…

It can be a daunting task to make duplicates of any item. That's especially true when it comes to spindle turning. So, today I'm going to walk you through my process to make a set of identical table legs! If you're interested in making this exact leg, well you're in luck because I have a template available on my site!

Check out the video above for the build! If you like it, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and checkout some of my other projects while you're there!


ISOtunes Pro -
RZ mask M2 -
Wood Lathe -
Table saw (new version) -
Turning Chisels -
Outside Calipers -
Woodpeckers square -
Woodpeckers Paolini 6" pocket rule -

Step 1: Make Story Stick

The first thing to do is make what's called a story stick. This is basically a road map for all of the length and diameters needed to create the leg.

Simply put, you trace the profile onto a piece of material (cardboard, hardboard, or plywood) making sure the design is parallel to the edges of your story stick. Then using a square, draw lines from the feature transitions across the story stick.

Step 2: Prepare Stock for Legs

Once the stock is to the proper width and thickness, make sure all of the legs are to the same length.

Then mark the center on each end, and set the spur drive into one end.

With the piece mounted on the lathe, hold the story stick up to the stock, and transfer the marks. For this particular piece, I only transfer the marks for the pommel cut (transition from round to square) and turn all of the material in between each pommel to the largest diameter in my design.

Step 3: Cut Remaining Features

With all of the transition lines marked it's time to measure the diameter of each feature using a pair of outside calipers.

Once the feature is close to size, use the calipers to check the diameter. If you're new to turning, turn the lathe off each time you check the diameter of a feature.

Continue using the template to reference different feature diameters until the leg is turned!

Step 4: Completed Set of Legs!

As you see, this Instructable doesn't go into the technique of turning, but rather covers my approach to making duplicate items by hand. If you'd be interested in me discussing the techniques behind turning the different elements of this table leg, just let me know!

If you have a go at this tag #woodshopmike on Instagram and let me know how it goes!

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As always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments. And until next time, have fun making something!