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Tricky joining of table legs to frame

Geir's picture

I have been asked to make a small table with legs like those on the attached photo. The tabletop is going to be glass (about 13 x 44 inches) resting in a frame/aprons.


On this glass there is supposed to live a number of pots with plants so it has to be able to support some weight.


The thing I am having trouble understanding is how to join the frame/aprons to the leg assembly? It's hard to see from the photo.


By the way, has anyone an idea of what time period or style of furniture this is? The wood is birch, slightly flamed at least in parts.


Thanks for your help.


Geir

Al from Unionville's picture

(post #106597, reply #1 of 18)

Hi Geir,
I cannot help on the style or period of the piece but as far as attaching the legs to the apron I would use mortise and tenon. Actually I would probably use a floating tenon. I have also on occasion used dowels for joints of this nature,but I find I get a more accurate alignment with a floating tenon / Al

MikeHennessy's picture

(post #106597, reply #2 of 18)

Hard to tell from the pic, but at first I thought it was just a lap joint (glued & screwed from behind). But if not, a bridle joint or a M&T would work fine.


What's more interesting is how the split part of the legs is joined into the single part. To me, that's the weak point and I have no clue how it was done -- never saw it before.


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.

blewcrowe's picture

(post #106597, reply #3 of 18)

Pic is way too big to view properly. Can you downsize it, please.

 

Denny

SgianDubh's picture

(post #106597, reply #6 of 18)

blewcrowe, right click the link, then choose open in new window. It takes a long time to download if you're on dial up, and only about two or three seconds on broadband, but eventually the picture will transmogrify into a managebale size to see on your monitor.


You're correct though. The picture is hopelessly large for use on the internet, particularly as it's also in Bitmap format and evidently straight off the camera.


Here it is a bit smaller, and I tinkered with it a bit in PhotoShop. Slainte.


 


PreviewAttachmentSize
Table.jpg
Table.jpg76.43 KB
JeffHeath's picture

(post #106597, reply #17 of 18)

Richard the Wise


I try to learn something new every day.  Today, you are responsible, so take a bow. 


I never knew how to view a super humongous overly sized photo in screen size until today.  Thank you kindly, sir!!


Jeff    aka Computer Challenged Mutthead  (CCM)

A distinguished graduate of the School of Hard Knocks
Geir's picture

(post #106597, reply #18 of 18)

The original questioner wishes to apologize for beeing away for most of the time since the question was posted, and not beeing able to read before now.


I am amazed of the number of responses and all the good tips. The drawings of the split leg joinery was specially useful, and I am sure I am going to use that one.


The leg to apron joinery is still a bit of a mystery allthough I am considering all suggestions. I am sure there is a way. 


Again thank you very much for your contributions. This forum is very useful indeed.


If anyone has new ideas I am still open to them. I will post a photo of the finished item, if and when it is ready.


Geir

harrycu's picture

(post #106597, reply #4 of 18)

Looks like to me a halp-lap with glue and screws from the inside would work also.


Harry


 


Following the path of least resistance makes rivers and men crooked.

Harry

Following the path of least resistance makes rivers and men crooked.

ring's picture

(post #106597, reply #5 of 18)

Any of the joints suggested here will work - M&T, bridle joint, etc.

The tricky part is the joint between the splayed leg parts. I would make the length of that joint as long as possible, and reinforce it with some dowels.

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #106597, reply #7 of 18)

As far as "period", it looks to me like a 20th century factory furniture designer has seen pictures of Duncan Phyfe drop leaf tables (from early in the 19th century) to get the basic form.   

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

mrbird90's picture

(post #106597, reply #8 of 18)

I made a table Just about like this one 30 years ago, then I used dowels to join the split legs and used a cleat at the top of each leg (on the inside)and attached the cleat with screws to the leg and top. the legs had metal feet at the ends.  Mortice and tennons were used to attach the strecher. The design was taken from a book on early american furniture. I cannot remember the author now. For attaching a glass top I would use biscuits to join the legs and I would still use small cleats about 3/4" x 3/4" by a length which is 3/8" shy of the outside legs and attach the cleats to the legs with screws and use those sticky pads sold at glass stores for sticking the top to the cleats. The original table from which the plans were copied was made of maple.


Edited 4/2/2008 1:09 pm ET by mrbird90

SgianDubh's picture

(post #106597, reply #9 of 18)

Here's a joint form common on antique sofa tables, which is the style your modern table I'd guess is inspired by.


It's a variation of mortise and tenon with dowel reinforcements to lock the sabre style legs in place. Slainte.


  


MikeHennessy's picture

(post #106597, reply #10 of 18)

Now there's one I hadn't seen before. I wonder why the tapered tenon? Just 'cause it's easier to cut the mortises?


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.

SgianDubh's picture

(post #106597, reply #11 of 18)

Probably Mike. If you think about it it's evident that you could execute the joint as follows: mark and cut the pointed tenon using a saw; whilst each one of the pair of sabre legs are separate mark and saw the angled mortise lines in each one of the pair of legs; chisel out the waste, working with the grain. You'll have, in effect, made something very like a bridle joint.


Next you bring all three parts together, glue and clamp it up and finally drive in some dowels-- naturally you'll have dry assembled, marked, and draw bored the dowels before the glue up stage.


At least, that's the way I'd approach it as I wouldn't fancy trying to work the mortise in the pair of sabre legs after they're joined. Slainte.


MikeHennessy's picture

(post #106597, reply #12 of 18)

I was thinking I'd just run each of those legs, before they were assembled, once over a dado blade and the mortise would be done, since the angled aspect makes that possible. No corners -- just straight through at an angle. Or, like you suggest, just two saw cuts and chisel out between the kerfs.


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.

SgianDubh's picture

(post #106597, reply #14 of 18)

You'd need a jig of some sort. The groove bottom isn't parallel to the faces that meet when the two bits of the sabre leg come together.


I wonder if the original questioner ever came back to find out if there were any answers to the question? There's not been a peep from him or her since the question was posed. Slainte.


489tad's picture

(post #106597, reply #13 of 18)

 


Geir


Sliding dovetail will hold the legs together.

I.G.N.

SgianDubh's picture

(post #106597, reply #15 of 18)

The grain would perhaps be a bit weak  because there's some short grain, but yes, you could use a sliding dovetail. It wouldn't be a good choice in my opinion. After all, you'd need to join the pillar into the top of the pair of sabre feet. A mortise would remove most of the dovetail joinery, and would you trust the pillar to sabre feet joint to, for instance, biscuits or dowels? Slainte.

489tad's picture

(post #106597, reply #16 of 18)

Tenon or tenons, dowels, biscuits on top of the legs going into the corosponding mortise, dowel hole or biscuit slot in the pillar.  Glue too. 

I.G.N.