Chippendale (Newport RI) Desk Legs

(Richard Cournoyer) #1

So the guy who hates wood is making an heirloom circa 1800 modified (one-sided) Partner Desk (John Goddard Designer). I’ve had many people asking how do I do the 4-sided, 3-tiled programming/machining on the legs, so here are (I hope) all your answers.

Research 2 months (Complete)
Leg Model/test: 2 months (Complete)
Leg Machining/final: 3-4 weeks
Remaining desk machining: 6-9 months
Cost: Wood/hardware: $1000 (est)

Programing/Machining. How: In Fusion I create 4 different Setups (on each Square Block/ centered on the dowel hole) (the middle block will be removed during the 3rd tile move, and the end blocks manually removed via a miter saw).

While not a difficult project, it’s also not a for the novice. Strict bookkeeping must be maintained due to 32 difficult programs. A good program loaded in the wrong position will scrap the leg. I still need to write the various programs for the 6 Mortices on the leg top. The other photos should answer most of your questions. Let me know if I’ve left anything out.



The Setup. The cap screw head is being used as a locating dowel pin, and the 123 block (in the back) aligns the leg 90º to my table.

Finish leg (as modeled in Fusion (Missing the 6 Mortices, which I will design and program while the legs are machining)

Material: African Mahogany.
Cost: $50 per leg (No I didn’t buy any extra material!)


Six Mortices

Test Leg (Pine/Fir) (Without the upper portion)


Philly Inspired Partner Desk (There are NO photos of a Newport inspired Desk) Differences are subtle.

Someone set me straight
(Griff ) #2

I’ve been contemplating doing something like this…as soon as I learn how to model a leg from scratch. Thanks for the description and photos.

Looking forward to updates as the project progresses.

(ray) #3


Very nice work around/work flow. Looking forward to the finished product.

(Richard Cournoyer) #4

They ARE Done!
Here are the numbers
37 days (26 actual machining days), 51 individual programs (x) 4 legs = 204 program runs, 127mb of program data (largest program was 8mb, smallest 3kb), 48 Setups… and NO Shapeoko or Program Errors = Miracle!

PS1: I still need to program and machine the six mortise slots in each upper leg post.

PS2: The 1.0" x 1.0" notch on the upper leg will receive a fluted 1/4 column (I really could use a 4th axis to make these but will make do with my 3 axis). You can see a sample of the 1/4 column above (finished desk photo).

Lots of sanding and hand carving to do and many coats of homemade shellac.

Now on to the other 64 parts…

Note I made: 1Right Front, 1 Left Front, 1 Right Back, and 1 Left Back.

(Richard Cournoyer) #5

Turned and milled Quarter Columns (they get inserted into the legs) fresh off my CNC Shapeoko Lathe: