Skinney Leg Chair Joinery what options?

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jim posted 290 days ago 754 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am making some bar stools for the eating bar at our kitchen island. I have a dilemma about joinery. At the top of the leg where it joins the cross piece (in a table it’s called the apron … not sure if thats what it’s called in a chair) the leg is 1.5” square. If I connect the apron with mortise and tendon joints they intersect.

Here are the options I’ve considered:

1. Shallow tenons (3/4”) but I doubt these would be strong enough.

2. Sliding dovetails but these too will intersect. I can make them just slightly less deep and keep them clear of each other. Is this a viable joint for a chair leg to rail.

3. I was considering dowels but I don’t have a dowel jig and have never worked with dowels before and I’m not sure if this would be strong enough.

4. I see a lot of stool plans that use pocket screws but I would prefer wood to wood joinery rather than mechanical fasteners and I don’t know that pocket screws would be strong enough.

Please keep in mind I’m looking at a reasonably simple solution for a beginner to intermediate woodworker. I would greatly appreciate any advice you care to offer.


-- Jim in Langley BC Canada ---

4 comments so far

View sras's profile


3817 posts in 1761 days

#1 posted 290 days ago

When I made my stools I chose to cut a miter on the end of each tenon. In my case, that gave what looked like enough glue area.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View davidroberts's profile


1002 posts in 2118 days

#2 posted 290 days ago

It sounds like you are making bar stools with four square straight legs, no splay. Basically a tall skinny table, right? I grabbed the photo below fromf Google images (woodworking talk forum). You could probably get by with a shallow mortise if you support with corner blocks. I may not understand the problem so please disregard if I’m off base.

-- God is great, wood is good. Let us thank Him for wood......and old hand tools.

View pintodeluxe's profile


3334 posts in 1445 days

#3 posted 290 days ago

Check out the Dec. 2013 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine. Issue # 236 has a nice article on that subject.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Loren's profile


7425 posts in 2280 days

#4 posted 281 days ago

Overlapping or mitered tenons. Mortise close to the outside
of the leg to increase tenon surface area. Wider
horizontals offer a wider tenon shoulder, which helps
fight racking. Adding a diagonal block inside, fixed
with pocket screws, is recommended and very common
on chairs at a wide range of prices.


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase