I'm considering building a farmhouse kitchen table similar to this one:

enter image description here

I like the "appearance of simplicity", but in truth, I'm not sure it would be all that simple. all 5 of those joints need to be quite strong.

I would be working with 3" x 5" pieces of walnut. Here is how I was considering joining these pieces, and my concerns. Keep in mind I am an amateur woodworker at best.

For the center, I want to lap the two boards to make a tight 45-degree joint (three inches thick total). I'm considering attaching a truss between each of the center points by using a 6 inch bolt, drilling through the center of a 3 or 4-inch truss on each side, and digging out a small rectangular notch which would be on the bottom of the truss, allowing me to attach a flange nut. It seems like an elegant solution but I'm concerned about clamping three things together which will have a considerable amount of lateral forces on them.

As for the connections to the top and bottom, I was thinking about using 2 7" headlock screws as pocket screws in each. I was also considering oversizing the height of the cross-section by 1/2" and then routing out 4 x 1/4" deep trenches to hold each of the points in place. I'm not sure how that will look aesthetically, but it seems like it would take the load off the center joint.

Any thoughts or concerns? How can I make this rock-solid?

Example Table

Side view

  • I am having a problem relating your description to the image provided. I don't see a truss. I assume you are primarily discussing the leg assemblies and the cross connection. A sketch showing the various sizes and connection points you are planning would help us understand what you are trying to achieve. – Ashlar Jul 21 at 22:08
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    "Keep in mind I am an amateur woodworker" Let us know what tools and shop conditions you have available. This is definitely doable, but you are right, this is not a beginner project. BTW do you have 3"x5" walnut? If not you may be surprised by the cost. – Ashlar Jul 21 at 22:12
  • I added a side photo of another table with a similar design. I have a really good source for bulk walnut, and as far as tools go, I have a good sliding 12" radial arm saw for the cuts. I've been looking into a drill press. My lumber source planes the materials, because I don't have a joiner or planer, but I will probably smooth the top by hand after gluing. This is not a cheap table, so if the tool is < $1000, assume I'll buy it if I need it. – mreff555 Jul 22 at 3:18
  • I don't understand the reference to a truss, but the overlap AKA half-lap joint will be perfectly fine here, if made well (good and tight, no slop when assembled dry), glued and then the bolt or threaded rod is cinched in tight with the nuts. "As for the connections to the top and bottom" Sorry I don't understand this paragraph either. But if you're talking about connecting the top to the understructure then there are established ways of doing it on a large table such as this and they don't involve pocket screws. – Graphus Jul 22 at 8:48
  • You should be at least as focussed on how you'll do what are now called the breadboard ends (end clamps in old terminology) since so many guides out there now get this feature wrong in some way, and some get it completely wrong, setting up the table for failure of some sort in the future. – Graphus Jul 22 at 8:49

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