I have some images of a dining table.

The table has four legs at the corners. I like the joint of the leg to the table and would like some tips on how this can be done.

corner of the table

image from under the table

close up exploded view

  • The wood is probably oak, but if you can, take a picture from underneath, looking up at where the leg intersects with the aprons. Apr 5 at 12:55
  • Wood IDs are off-topic for this SE. This decision was taken early on in part because of the (extreme) difficulty in identifying wood from photos, even very clear ones. Plus different woods can look very very similar sometimes just through random chance, and with coloured finish applied one wood can be made to look very like another (a very common practice on commercial furniture). Just based on this one image I could guess at three species from completely different parts of the world. Now guesses aside, why do you need to know what the wood is?
    – Graphus
    Apr 5 at 17:28
  • "I like the joint of the leg to the table. How is this done?" There's literally no way to know from the outside. A joint that looks like this is very common in traditional Chinese furniture (still used today) but if this is not from Asia it could be put together in any number of other ways. If it's from another joinery tradition the joint type will similarly leave no sign externally of how it was executed. It could also be mitre joints with external reinforcement of some kind, fasteners (e.g. pocket-hole screws), or internal strengthening (e.g. Dominos or biscuits) which again are invisible.
    – Graphus
    Apr 5 at 17:31
  • @Graphus this table has a sentimental value to me. I can't get the original table. Thinking of trying to remake the table design, to my specifications.
    – Nachmen
    Apr 5 at 18:14
  • The underside photo shows some external fixturing that I wasn't expecting to see, so these could indeed be a simple three-way mitre joint that's held secure using that corner bracket and the screws. As to species, the wood is not so distinctive that an exact species match is vital to achieving the right sort of look, using appropriate dyes and/or coloured finishes such as "get stain". If you're in the US butternut might be a good starting point as there's a chance the original wood is walnut (American black walnut) which has faded over time [contd]
    – Graphus
    Apr 6 at 5:58

would like some tips on how this can be done.

As I mention above in the Comments, this is a typical joint in Chinese furniture (and I think in other Asian furniture traditions as well, although I don't know how they do the joinery). However, as I indicated if this is a Western piece it could be done in any number of ways and the added photo of the underside seems to show that this is the case.

The joinery
This is a three-way mitre joint. Traditionally this joint was done with complex internal joinery, as seen in the bottom two images below:

Three-way mitre joints

Given the very beefy corner bracket for external reinforcement there's a chance the joint on your table is cut very simply and just glued together. Although this makes the glue-up challenging (the joints will want to slide across each other) it greatly speeds up the preceding steps. It's impossible to know because the details are now forever hidden, but there may be some internal reinforcement as well (e.g. floating tenons, biscuits, dowels) which, in addition to adding strength, will also lessen or prevent slippage of the glued surfaces during assembly.

Read more about modern three-way mitre joinery here on Wood Magazine and here on Fine Woodworking.

We can only identify one screw in the provided photos and it appears to be a (substantial) countersink-head Phillips screw. Given all the drilled holes in the bracket are the same diameter I'm presuming they used the same screws throughout, and note, including upwards, to attach the top; this gives us a further clue to its construction.

The top
While Chinese tables are made entirely of solid wood the main field of the top is done as a floating panel, similar to how panels are done on frame-and-panel cupboard doors, which allows for seasonal movement of the wood.

From the photos we have so far, this table doesn't appear to have that construction. I surmise it has a plywood top, and only plywood (or other manmade board) allows for a solid top on a table of this type, with the legs integral to the entire construction and firmly fixed in place around all four edges.

You would typically surround the manmade board with solid-wood edging, in a picture-frame manner that is not suitable for solid-wood construction (see previous Question).

  • I can add a image from the top. Sorry I can't upload another image.
    – Nachmen
    Apr 8 at 7:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.