Shapes and Sizes
Legs come in every size and shape. You can build your own legs, as I did, or you can purchase the legs turned or carved. Bestbilliards.com had a good selection of pre-made legs if you choose to go that route. To match the design, I chose to build my own legs.
Whichever style of leg you choose, they all connect to the table in the same fashion. They are bolted to
leg supports, which are made from Construction Grade 2X8 Douglas Fir (Born at the Home Depot.)
Since my Cabinet has no slope, this is a very simple square cut to fit snugly within the inside dimension
of the cabinet, and flush with the bottom. Glue and screw the 2X8 to the cabinet. Make sure to glue and screw along the length of
the support also.
Then install some simple glue blocks, also made from fir, along the joints of the support to tie it all
together. Again, if you have a sloped cabinet, you will need to cut the supports and glue blocks to fit
Assembling the first layer of the Legs
The proper playing surface height will be right around 29-1/2". To calculate the leg height, take the total
playing surface height of 29-1/2", and subtract the slate thickness of 1",
slate backing of 3/4", poplar slate supports of 1-1/2" (all detailed later), and the cabinet width of 12".
I came up with the number 14".
However, because the outside of my legs wrap around the corners of the cabinet, I had to extend the outer
layer an extra 12". But the bulk of the leg is 14" tall.
The width was up to my aesthetic preference. I chose a nice round number of 12" (not so round for the rest of the world, but we Yankees think of 12" as a round number.)
The basic structure is two 2X10 pieces of Douglas Fir (cutout picture at the bottom of this page), at the top and bottom of the leg, wrapped with the two layers of hardwood (three, including the trim), similar to the cabinet. Then capped, top and bottom, with hardwood. Because I had to drill for the bolts to be inserted through the leg support from bottom up, I left out the bottom 2X10, and the hardwood bottom cap, until the legs were installed.
After gluing, and screwing, the first layer of Oak plywood around the Fir, I then capped the top with another piece of Oak (gluing and nailing is sufficient for this piece.)
As soon as I had the first layer of all four legs built, I was ready to drill the holes for the bolts.
Drilling and Bolting the Legs to the Cabinet
I turned the cabinet on it's side then clamped the leg into position (flush with the outside of the cabinet.)
I then drilled three holes, in a triangle formation, with a 1/2" bit, to accommodate the three 3/8" bolts.
After drilling, I was going to take the legs off, then finish the other layers, and bolt them back on.
But, it made sense to bolt them now, and build the outer layers in place.
After bolting the legs to place, I glued and screwed in the bottom piece of Fir,
and wrapped the legs with the second layer (Hickory.)
As with the Cabinet, I interlocked the layers to form the finger lock effect. To keep the legs detachable,
I did not fasten the top portion of hickory to the cabinet. It's basically floating up there. The trim,
installed later, will stabilize any wandering of the boards.
Lastly, I capped the entire width of the bottom of the leg with a piece of Hickory. Doing this transfers the weight, from shimming the table to level, up the sides of the leg, instead of onto the Fir within.
I then flipped the table to the other side, and repeated the process for the other two legs.