Screw-in Feet

Londoner, Geoff Osler contacted me about an early eighteenth-century walnut bureau he is restoring. My ears pricked up when he mentioned he was removing the later bracket feet and reinstating original style threaded bun feet.

I’ve mentioned bun feet with threaded spigots before and while they’re not particularly rare, until Geoff emailed me, I didn’t have any decent images of either original bun feet with threaded spigots or their corresponding threaded holes in the base of a carcase. Oh threaded bliss!

From the first half of the eighteenth-century, replacing late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century bun feet with bracket feet was a straightforward and relatively commonplace modification to modernise early case furniture.


Fig. 1. Early eighteenth-century bureau with later bracket feet (bottom of picture) and original bun foot threaded spigot holes at top of picture (later bracket feet removed). (Geoff Osler)


Fig. 2. Interior view of threaded spigot hole. (Geoff Osler)

Most cabinetmakers would be familiar with thread boxes (fig. 3) – or other, more modern contrivances – for cutting male threads in wood, but prior to their adoption in the second half of the eighteenth-century; a much simpler tool was employed.


Fig. 3. Thread box and section of the wooden screw it produces.

The male threads on seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century bun feet would have been created on a lathe using a thread chaser (fig. 4) which can cut the threads right up to a bun foot’s shoulder – something thread boxes and their neoteric counterparts are incapable of.


Fig. 4. Male thread chaser.

It is also worth noting the configuration of the carcase’s dovetails in figure 1 and the thickness of the cross-grained walnut veneer used to skin the moulding in figure 2 (see also here).

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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7 Responses to Screw-in Feet

  1. confur says:

    Hang on ! Coarse thread chasing ain’t much fun, possibly easier on a pole lathe.
    I still run the thread in a box to its limit, dismantle box and (as long as the V cutter is snug) continue cutting virtually right to the shoulder, Socket science !
    On a differernt thread…. Do you use Hoop pine as your secondary carcase wood ?


    • Jack Plane says:

      Chasing threads on a pole lathe wouldn’t be my interpretation of fun. I run my lathe on it’s slowest setting and poke my tongue out of the side of my mouth.

      I use radiata, Scotch or yellow pine for carcases and drawer linings etc.



  2. Pingback: Picture This LIII | Pegs and 'Tails

  3. jheimbecher says:

    Is there a common diameter and thread pitch for screw on feet or does it vary?


  4. Pingback: Picture This CXXV | Pegs and 'Tails

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