One thing I forgot to show on the last update was the drawer runners. These are from oak, which is what I am using for the drawer sides and other internal parts. They have little stub tenons which fit into open slot mortices in the back of the lower rail - not for strength but to help with lining them up. They will be glued to the side aprons after assembly of the main frame.
But today's fun was tapering the legs.
Some people like to make a table saw jig for cutting the tapers. Others prefer the bandsaw. I could have done that, but on this scale, it's easier just to plane them.
At first, I was bothered about how to mark them out well, as a pencil line is hard to see on the walnut. I thought I would try masking tape, stretched from a reference line 1/4" below the aprons down to a 5/8" marked line on the bottom of each leg.
Here's the finishing mark - in pencil - plus a previous pencil line, no longer needed, and two advance warning lines in white pencil to show when I am planing near to the end. (One of many useful tips from Custard.)
I just clamped the leg in the vice and planed it down with my trusty 5½ jack plane. The pile of shavings shows how little work that was.
I soon had a second leg done, which I could put alongside and compare.
I realised that although the tape is nice and easy to see, it doesn't automatically make a straight line so I soon needed to peel it off and use the original pencil line as my reference. (I used a spirit level as a nice steady straight edge to draw these lines.)
After some more time planing, checking, planing, comparing, planing etc I had a set of four legs with one half of the tapering done. I know that an hour had passed as the afternoon play on the radio had finished.
For the second taper, it's not so easy to hold the legs in the vice, so I switched to working on the bench top. In retrospect, I could have done this from the start. My workholding setup got simpler as I progressed.
I was planing against a plain adjustable wooden bench stop, built in to the bench. To stop the legs sliding sideways I used these bench dogs which are a snug fit in the bench. They are made from holly wood so are very tough.
At first I used a handscrew cramp on the square end, held down to the bench with a holdfast and some bits of scrap.
but actually there is no need to fix the cramp down - it provides a useful bit of stability on its own. (I realise now that the round dogs don't show in this photo - they are behind the leg - but you can see them later in another photo. )
The point of mentioning all this is that I found the best solution was the simplest, because it meant I was able to pick up the leg frequently to look along it and check that I was planing square, without having to interrupt the flow to undo or release anything. This meant I checked more often and did a better job. I soon dispensed with the cramp, which meant I could also hold the leg I was planing up against one I had done, and make sure that the planed surfaces matched (well, nearly) for angle and flatness.
The job got easier and I got more confident as I went on, which is just as well. I'd done my best to arrange the pieces so that I was planing with the grain all the time. I scored 7 out of 8 - on the last leg I did, the grain was a bit more wild, and I was against the grain for much of the taper. I removed most of the bulk with the old Preston try plane (just for the pleasure of using it) and then switched to a freshly sharpened, fine-set and reliable 4½ which gave me a smooth enough finished surface.
And so this was the result.
There are still a few things to sort out before glue-up starts - such as kickers and buttons - but they shouldn't take too long.
Thanks for the encouraging comments and practical suggestions - they really do help - I'm doing quite a bit of this for the first time or what feels like the first time, so it's all a bit tentative and exploratory for me - but it's good to feel that there's safety in numbers and people will speak up if I'm heading too far off piste.