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Thread: table leg joint suggestions

  1. #1
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    table leg joint suggestions

    I'm going to be making a 3' x 6' oval conference table with a leg design similar to this:
    2019-11-17_08h48_21.jpg

    Wondering about your suggestions for the leg joint I have boxed in red. I'm worried about the lateral movement of the bottom legs at the floor - the top of the upper legs will be attached to the top so no movement there. My initial thought is to cut the upper and lower legs out of a board wide enough to afford me the material to do a full ship lap joint - lots of glue surface and there will be a section of each leg that is vertical. I don't like the block at the center where the legs join, so need to get rid of that as well. And I would like to avoid seeing any bolts or fasteners. All suggestions welcome.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  2. #2
    Could you make the legs in one piece from veneered plywood with solid edge banding?

  3. #3
    It looks like there is a block of wood with 8 sides in the middle of it and the legs just have a plain butt joint with screws in it. The screws look to be countersunk with round top hole plugs covering them.

  4. #4
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    Bill, this is the kind of joinery that the Japanese excel at. I wouldn't be surprised to find something very similar in one of those books that show a million Japanese joints. I don't have any of them near me right now, but others, perhaps Brian Holcomb, will pipe in. Good luck, it looks like a great challenge. -Howard

  5. #5
    The legs in the photo are probably made from metal tubing.

    Make the legs from metal and cover them with wood.

    If you use just wood, use a bridle joint or make the legs from plywood.
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  6. #6
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    Use Ironwood and weld it.

    or

    Plywood or a bridle joint might be a little wobbly. Use Oak or something similar finished to 2" x 2". You can thin it some away from the joint to give it some interest and to lighten the look. Glue up with miter joints and add a small block, say 1 1/2 or 2" tall. Saw the inside point off to reveal a 2 3/4" vertical face. Then saw slots thru almost to the surface of the small block. Insert splines as thick as your saw blade. You should be able to fit 6 or 7. This will give you lots of glue surface. To hold the 4 bents together use steel brackets. Make these from 1 1/4" x 1/8" flat stock and recess them into the bottom by 1/8" and paint them a little darker than the finished wood color. Install with 4 rows of # 6 x 3/4" flathead screws.

  7. #7
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    Use a block of wood with 4 sides in the middle. The block needs to be large enough across so that each leg attached to the block sides can pass the next leg. The legs can be dadoed into the block, this gives great strength and a clean look
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  8. #8
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    Here's how I'd tackle it...
    The first pic is an overall picture of the base. It is all-wood. The legs (arms?) are 2x3 hardwood. The lower ones could taper as they go down to the floor if you want. The central block in the OP's pic is still in there, but it is small enough that you don't really see it. The C-shaped parts are made from three straight sticks of wood. The joint between the vertical short piece and the angled arms is a box joint, or maybe you'd call it a multiple bridle joint. Whatever you call it, it has a whole bunch of glue surface, and it fits together tightly. It is very very strong -- darn near as strong as 2x3 hardwood, which is darn strong. The second pic is a detail of that box joint. It can be cut with just a table saw.



    careybaseoverall.jpg

    careybasedetail.jpg

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the ideas folks. The table will be made of walnut. The top will be an inch plus in thickness and the legs will be 2x3, with the lower portion of the legs having a slight taper in both width and height. Tom and Jamie both came up with ideas similar to what I was thinking about. Namely, box joints (or finger joints) on steroids. Like you said, lots of glue surface. Since the top is going to be oval, the leg sets will have different angles and I'm thinking the longer of the leg sets - parallel to the long dimension of the top - will be full length with a lap joint at the intersection. Then the shorter legs would be finger jointed together as separate sets and attached to the longer legs - at the lap joint - with a large through tenon, wedged. I think (and I've been wrong before) that the longer legs, with a greater obtuse (?) angle to the floor will get more pressure to expand than the shorter legs.

    How much of the strength of the finger jointed short legs will I lose with a thru tenon? My inclination is not much.

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  10. #10
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    If the table top is oval then the square block in the middle won’t work as the ends require the legs to be under them with an angle less than 90 degrees. The ends will exert far more leverage against the centre support.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fretwell View Post
    If the table top is oval then the square block in the middle won’t work as the ends require the legs to be under them with an angle less than 90 degrees. The ends will exert far more leverage against the centre support.
    No, on an oval table, the square block still works. What changes is that the angles of the joints are different.

  12. #12
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    In my suggestion there were no joints, just the square block with legs dadoed in on the surface. Whilst you can reduce the angle for the leg at the end of the oval for more reach it really needs two legs at each oval end so the angle would be less than 90 degrees.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  13. #13
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    Bill, I was digging deep for an old thread, and came across this post. https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....uple-of-months About three photos down is table with similar leg arrangement. Might be helpful.

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