If I knew I would need to remember trigonometry would I have started woodworking? (yes)

cutting an angle over 45 degree's on a miter saw is hard

cutting an angle over 45 degree’s on a miter saw is hard

2x4 table legs

The I’s have it!

It’s a good thing I make reclaimed wood tables, because I generated a ton of waste pieces attempting to make legs this week. Before even beginning my cuts I was forced to perform trigonometry and find the co sine in order to calculate the support brace angles. I had to go through so much effort because the dimensions are odd, the largest side is 3 times the size of the smallest side so it has a very steep slope.  After all the calculations and math I discovered I had to cut a 57 degree angle. Unfortunately my miter saw only cuts to 45 degrees and the blade adjuster needs to be replaced on my table saw. . . After taking too long to calculate the cuts I spent the better part of the morning experimenting with ways to actually make the cuts. I was about to just use a protractor to draw the angle and cut by hand in a miter box, but instead I turned to the internet. I did a search for cutting a 60 degree angle with a miter saw and was inundated with results. As luck would have it there were several suggestions and many inventive solutions. I found two ideas particularly helpful. One idea is to turn the piece you want to cut 90 degrees on your saw. Subtract the angle you want from 90 and set your saw to the difference. Since I wanted a 57 degree cut and 90-57= 33 I set the angle to 33. The first time I tried to do this with a scrap piece of 2×4. It was hard to make the cut straight with the 2×4 perpendicular to the fence and sticking out at me. I adjusted by rigging a clamping system that allowed me to keep the piece in place and make the cut. The second idea is to make a jig to use so that the saw stays square (90 degrees) and cuts the angles without actually adjusting the angle of the blade. I have not tried the jig method yet. I got better at making the cuts using the first method but I am still not great at it yet. So I think I will be rethinking the design of the table legs. Right now they look like a pair of capital I’s. And they may stay that way. Each leg is made of a reclaimed 2X4 and 2 10” pieces of rough cut pine 1x2”s. I painted each of them white to match the frame on table 11. They have a rustic look, I will do three coats of white, sanding in between each coat and a complete the legs with a  dusty lacquer finish. I normally apply the finish coat when the table is assembled to give it a uniform look, but I will lacquer the base and the top separately for this one.