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Thread: Cantilevered Desk

  1. #1

    Cantilevered Desk

    I want to make a computer desk for my daughter. It needs to have a wide clear area underneath. If I don't cantilever the top, the stretcher ends up right where knees live.

    There are a couple of things I'm worried about in the joints to make up the ends. First, they are edge grain to end grain (about 7"). Second, there is a lot of stress on this joint.

    I can improve the stress situation by a mortise and tenon joint, or make up the thickness of the ends by laminating 2-3 pieces, with the vertical part and horizontal parts laminations overlapping (sort of a giant mortise and tenon). This still leaves the cross grain stress.

    The wood will be hard maple.

    Please advise,
    Steve
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  2. #2
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    Many successful pieces of furniture have joints which are like you describe. For instance, look at any wood door. The grain direction for the rails is horizontal, and the grain direction for the stiles is vertical. You can get away with it if the joint isn't too long. I wouldn't be too worried about a 7"-long joint. If you want to be really paranoid, you could put glue on only the middle five inches or so.

    Yes, a mortise and tenon joint is a good choice here,

  3. #3
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    You could also install a spline.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  4. #4
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    In a similar situation I used a pegged/wedged through-tenon. It also helped to make the long blank legs more interesting.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  5. #5
    Yes, I think pegged tenons will be a good plan.

  6. #6
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    "A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg".


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  7. #7
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    Bridle joints are a good idea (per glenn) but honestly several 10MM dominos in each joint would be pretty strong. You could even do exposed through-dowels if you want to over-kill it (per stan). Personally I would use a hidden spline in the back which might be what Andy was mentioning.

    That said, I would definitely construct the legs out of 8/12 lumber though. Your drawing appears to show the top and the legs the same size, maybe 3/4 which is a bit thin for my comfort and taste.
    Last edited by Michael Burnside; 04-15-2024 at 6:36 PM.

  8. #8
    I'm not following the part about the spline in the *back*. I was picturing a spline being similar to a loose tenon. I don't have a Domino.

    The legs are planned to be 6/4.

    The replies are all appreciated. My primary worry is expansion due to the cross grain.

  9. #9
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    For the spline, it's basically just routing a channel in the vertical leg at the back and a similar channel through the end of the upper support (right down the middle of both). Say 2" deep and 1/4" wide. Then you can use the same or contrasting wood and insert a spline, which will act like a very large, long tenon. This would be insanely strong and hidden at the back.

    Personally I'd use this as an excuse to get a domino
    Last edited by Michael Burnside; 04-18-2024 at 10:03 AM. Reason: Added clarification.

  10. #10
    That makes great sense Michael. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    You can spline it using just the table saw.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    You can spline it using just the table saw.
    Agreed. That’s probably the approach I would take too.

  13. #13
    Sounds reasonable, except I don't like table saws, I use a bandsaw. The spline should be easy to do with a router though.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven O Smith View Post
    ...I don't like table saws...
    Oh boy!

    Unsubscribed.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

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