Reply by JJohnston

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Posted on How to attach top?

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1622 posts in 3314 days

#1 posted 11-11-2012 05:33 PM


Honestly? Tell the customer it won’t work. There may be a factory-made set for sale somewhere, but it doesn’t get a free pass from the laws of physics any more than yours would, and it won’t be very long before it falls apart.

What you’ve got there is structurally unstable, IN THEORY. The only thing that makes it stable (and marginally at that) in the real world is the width of the leg perpendicular to the leg/spindle assembly. The ends of the legs bear on the underside of the top out at their edges when resisting racking. One way to improve this strength, therefore, is to make the legs as big as practicable in that dimension.

The real solution is to find a more reliable way to transmit bending force through the legs into the top directly, since you don’t have aprons to take these forces. I just had this thought; take it for what it’s worth. Call it, I don’t know, “T tenons”. Cut 2 mortises into the end of each leg, perpendicular to the leg/spindle assembly. Cut mating mortises into the top, but instead of making them the same length, make them long – well beyond the faces of the legs (you’ll be able to see them). Make loose tenons out of plywood (for its strength in all directions) shaped like wide, stubby Ts. This ought to give you better “grip” between table and legs. Don’t use solid wood; whichever way you orient the grain, it will have a weak direction. Making the top thicker will help, too, since you can go deeper with the mortise. Here’s a sketch.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

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