I make Arts and Crafts style legs from four pieces of quarter-sawn white oak to maximize the ray-fleck pattern on all four sides. I also try and cut the four pieces from the same board, allowing the grain pattern to wrap around the leg. I use a locking miter joint, cut on a shaper, to assemble the legs. Sometimes, when gluing and clamping the legs, the locking miter joint does not close up completely. Whether from too much glue in the joint, insufficient clamping pressure, or some unexplainable force–maybe karma–I get an unattractive gap in the leg. Normally, this gap won’t be more than a 1/16″, and can easily be closed with a simple burnishing procedure.
I use an antique drawbore pin, but really any burnishing pin or piece of metal will do.
First, I place the pin on the leg, perpendicular to the gap. Then I lean the pin slightly to the left (only a degree or two). With medium pressure I begin running it up and down the gap. As I go up and down the gap, I vary the angle of the pin from slightly left to slightly right. When the gap starts to close, I’ll move the pin back to the perpendicular position and take a few more strokes. Finally, I do a little clean up by taking a few strokes with some 150 grit sandpaper.