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Starting on a farmer's table and have it all how I want it designed, but I'm looking for assurance on my method of attaching the legs. I don't have a bountiful workshop, but I do have a table saw and dado blade!

This table top will be 8' long, 43.5" wide, and 29.5" high, contstructed of 2x8 boards with 2 perpendicular 2x8 ends. The apron will be constructed of 1x4s and will be 90" long and 37.5" wide, to allow for 3" overhang of the top. There will be a brace half way along the length, and an additional 4 slats to support and help mount the top to it.

For the legs, I intend to "tendon" .75" x 3.5" off two adjoining sided of the legs, thus notching them to slide into the corners and be flush with the apron. I can then attach an angled cut of wood across the corners, stopping horizontal movement.

My problem is then how to stop vertical movement. I am currently thinking about drilling the angled cut into the leg, screwing in a threaded rod (like a headless lag bolt?) and then keeping it secure with washer and nut. Would this work, or is there another way? Table Leg Table Apron

  • What are the dimensions of the legs? It would be helpful if you included a sketch . I'm not sure I understand the braces and additional slats. – Ashlar Mar 6 '17 at 23:14
  • All beginner or learner woodworkers should be wary of rethinking table design when there are so many established ways of doing things already. Instead of inventing something which comes with a whole host of unknowns (hence the nature of your Question) it would be better to copy an existing table plan exactly, then you're left with less to worry about and a much more straightforward construction — for example, the slats you're planning on putting into the apron? Those are completely unnecessary and in fact serve no useful purpose. [contd] – Graphus supports Monica Mar 9 '17 at 9:17
  • Also be very careful how you attach your planned end pieces on the top. A tabletop this wide will expand and contract quite a bit through the seasons so those end pieces might end up ~1/4" wider than the rest of the top during the winter and the same again in reverse during the summer or whenever the humidity is highest where you are. – Graphus supports Monica Mar 9 '17 at 9:20
  • Graphus, Thank you for the input. I am following Ashlar's idea of turning the slats to be more support, albeit possibly unnecessary. The original plan had the legs glued to the inside of the apron, and I preferred them flush and supporting under the apron as well. Since the apron would be supporting the ends, the plans called for attaching them with pocket screws, one each board. I see where this could cause a problem thanks to your post. I don't feel comfortable creating a mortise in the end yet. Are their other good ways to attach a breadboard end? Maybe a sliding dovetail? – Sean Kerwick Mar 10 '17 at 13:55
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If you select the "Design" tag and the "more info" button you will get a link to the sagulator which can be used to evaluate your design. I did a quick test and it appears that the 1 1/2" thick top can handle the possible loads, especially with the 3 1/2" deep aprons. I would suggest that the horizontal intermediate slats in your apron frame be turned vertical (they offer little support horizontally). Your legs appear to be 4x4 posts. If aprons are fully glued to the legs you may have adequate rigidity. The threaded rods would not offer as much strength as the glue would and the glued connections will not require exposed hardware on the outside. The final test is to build it. You can always add more rigidity by adding a second slat on the other side (interior) of the legs if the design does not offer enough strength as shown in your sketch.

  • Ashlar, Thank you for your questions, input and support input. The original plans had the slats for mounting points, however I see they would be able to serve as additional (possibly unnesessary) support so I have turned them in my latest plans. The legs were only glued to the corners inside the skirt on the plans, but it was slightly smaller table, and I wanted them more secure an added the cuts to allow them to fit under and flush with the outside of the apron. Even with glueing them, I may still add a screw or two in each leg for mechanical fastening. – Sean Kerwick Mar 10 '17 at 13:39

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