Laser level? need help with a problem

Does anybody know if we have a laser level like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-30-ft-Self-Leveling-Cross-Line-Laser-Level-with-Clamping-Mount-GLL-2/302344857

I’m trying to find a way to trim the legs on my desk that are at compound angles so the table top is level. My thinking is to suspend the desk (upright) and make it level so the legs are attached but dangling, then to use the laser level to mark the horizontal trim line on all legs at the same time. (I guess the desk could be inverted like in the picture and it’d have the same effect, but I also wouldn’t want to shine a laser right at eye-level in the whole workshop)

I’m also open to other ideas.

thanks y’all!

Do you know at what angles the legs are supposed to be? Is your issue measuring, or cutting? Are we talking about the tops, or the bottoms?

Glue 4 squares of 60 grit to a level work surface, one under each leg on the upright desk, and then gyrate the desk on the sandpaper… ?

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Nope…that will just leave the legs shorter, and maybe flatter, but still same relative length to each other (assuming proper gyration sanding technique). Unless I missed what you were suggesting.

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The trick here is finding a level surface at DMS. In the Machine Shop there is large granite table located next to the Cold Saw. That’s located about 15 feet away from where you are now.

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The bottom to the desk and the floor are parallel. Assuming that the each of the outer faces of each leg are planar, the interior angle between that face and the foot of the leg and the exterior angle between the face and the base of the desk will be equal.

Edit: As for the length… measuring along the planar face of the legs will get you close… and then you can use screw-in feet for fine adjustment. Or, laser level and a known flat surface as a base.

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And, by the way, it’s a nice looking desk. Did you make it here?

Also, did answer/anyone know if DMS has a laser level? I don’t ever remember seeing one around…

Thanks for the replies. A little more info:

The issue is marking out the correct “water level” (if we’re talking aircraft terminology). After I have them all marked, I can just take them to the band saw and then to the flat sander for fine adjustment.

The legs were cut a little long and are not flat on the bottoms. Also, the angles that they splay out at are not perfect (the way it goes with all woodworking) so calculating the theoretical length may or may not yield a desk that sits flat and doesn’t tripod.

so to describe a bit more about my thinking of solving the problem:

  1. jack up each corner with something that has fine adjustment
  2. make sure feet are off the ground
  3. use bubble level to make sure table top is level
  4. use laser level a couple inches off the ground, but high enough to hit all 4 legs, marking out a plane that I cut the legs to that is parallel to the table top.

So for this idea, I’d need the laser level, a bubble level and four adjustable jacks

also thanks, @mblatz. Yes, I made everything here at DMS, I started this project on 5/17. My first foray into real woodworking!


Here’s the drawing I made for the legs: You can see the 45° chamfer that joins the legs is made at 8° (in two planes) to the surface that mates with the bottom of the table which gives it the slight splay in both directions. On the right is the template I made to cut these out of a board. …if you were interested.

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You could invert the table, level the table top, then use a spirit level ( I meant water level… ) to mark the legs ( on all sides of each ) to get your cut lines.

Might be easier to work with than the laser setup, since as you note the latter would have to be set up low to the ground.

@tmc4242 That’s a good point, but but I think that just ensures the markings are parallel and not necessarily coplanar.

Sorry - used the wrong term. Water Level is what I meant.

http://www.diyinfo.org/wiki/How_To_Build_A_Simple_But_Effective_Water_Level

If your tabletop is leveled, assuming the bottom of the tabletop is parallel to the top, then using the spirit level to measure from the back of the tabletop to a point on the legs should make them parallel to the tabletop.

This does assume you get a good level on the tabletop. That adjusts out the possible un-levelness of the floor.

This may be more of a gypsy-rig than you want…maybe not. And it assumes legs are very close to same shape and still unattached, which I gather from what you’ve written is the case.

Consider fashioning a table saw jig/sled, which would be very similar to a cross-cut sled in operation, that holds the legs, one at a time, in a particular orientation/angle (derived from your drawing) with respect to the blade. There would need to be a stop/shelf at the length you’d want each leg to be and something that sets/hold the leg at the angle you need them to be.

Since you mention the legs are not perfectly the same that OK…depending on what type surface desk will sit, consider soft pads (felt?) on ends of legs such that a slightly shorter leg can get a tiny bit thicker pad. Time and gravity will have a tendency to self-level this approach, anyway.

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@tmc4242 I’ll have to check that link out later, not able to see it at work for some reason, but I think you may be on to something with using just a simple bubble level. It’s got my gears turnin’

@mblatz the legs are detachable so I could definitely make a jig for cutting them on the table saw. That’s not a bad idea for making a nice clean cut. just gotta figure out those angles. I could also just go home and CAD my worries away, but finding the position of the cut will still be the hard part. The felt pads are a good idea, and I may try to install adjustable feet as well like @brentwill suggested.

diyinfo.org appears to be inop.
This should be a similar thing, re: water level
https://www.deckmagazine.com/products/tools-equipment/making-and-using-a-water-level_o

of course, in most experiences, all this work to make your legs end co-planar will be thwarted by whichever flooring surface you place this on…

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ahh cool! great idea!

More pictures of the legs for those who are curious

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Very nice.

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This is an interesting solution. Your table might be too wide and cumbersome but it could work. I’d get committee permission before attempting…

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I have done what Marshall suggests (in miniature) regarding the jig for cutting. If the angles are the same in both axes, you don’t need two fixtures - you can cut it once, rotate it 90 degrees and cut again.