Attaching the Legs

The horse's legs are supplied as simple shapes cut from a single sheet of plywood (not laminations like the body) with some milling on the outside of each leg to give it a more horse-leggy shape. Importantly, the inside face of each leg is bevelled where it joins the body - this is what makes the legs splay out slightly from the body when it's all assembled. As with the body, this is done very accurately so it all fits together perfectly without any adjustment or fettling required.

Each leg has two dowels to locate it into place on the body; both the leg and the body have pre-drilled dowel holes which makes fitting the legs very easy. Two screws per leg are also supplied, but there are no pre-drilled holes for the screws, so I just selected a spot for each screw that looked reasonable - not too close to the dowels, and also ensuring that the screw would bite into a solid bit of the body behind. Drill a 4mm hole through the leg for each screw, and countersink each hole to make sure that the head of the screw will be well below the surface of the leg - you'll be gluing a muscle block over the screws so you don't want a screw head sticking up and preventing it from sitting flat on the leg.

Dowel holes (and holes to ignore) for a front leg
As when joining the body halves, clean up all the areas to be joined by sanding them lightly, making sure that there are no loose fibres or wood chips left that might stop the two parts coming together properly.

Glue the dowels into the dowel holes in the body and tap them down as far as they will go, then spread a good layer of glue over the entire mating surface of the body and the dowels. Locate the leg's dowel holes over the tops of the dowels and carefully tap the leg down over the dowels until it's sitting flat against the body. Be careful to support the foot end of the leg so that it can slide evenly down on the dowels without getting stuck. The dowels will stick through the leg - that's fine, you can cut them back flush later.

The dowels hold the leg quite firmly in the right place, but the screws will ensure it stays put. Working through the 4mm holes you drilled earlier, drill a smaller 2mm pilot hole in the body for each screw and then drive the screws home to pull the leg tight up against the body. Wipe off any glue that's squeezed out of the joint, and that leg's done!  Now repeat the above for the other three legs.

The right front leg fitted
Both right legs fitted

After the glue has had some time to dry, trim off the ends of the dowels with your flush trim saw and sand the whole area to make sure it's good and flat.

The final job for each leg is to glue the muscle block in place. This is a small shaped piece of plywood that covers the screws and dowels so that the finished horse won't have any visible fixings. The muscle blocks are quite oversized and will need a lot of sanding down later, but for now just make sure that the top edge of each block, where it butts up against the body, is a good fit - a couple of mine needed a little shaping to get the curves to match and minimise any remaining gap.

When you're happy with the fit, simply spread a layer of glue on the back of the muscle block and clamp it in place to dry. Be certain that you have glue over the entire surface with no dry spots, because when you later shape the block down to blend smoothly into the leg, you'll be exposing parts of the glue joint that are initially nearer the middle of the muscle block, and you don't want that newly-exposed edge to come unstuck from the leg.
The back muscle blocks clamped in place
Left front muscle block, out of the clamps. Lots of shaping/sanding to come!

You should now have a horse that can stand on its own four feet, looking something like this (I took this before fitting the back muscle blocks):
Legs and front muscle blocks fitted.


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