Want to join thin top without using screws

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Forum topic by abehil posted 09-26-2015 06:11 PM 916 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View abehil's profile


104 posts in 1335 days

09-26-2015 06:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: join table question router joining modern

I am hoping there is a non-screw method of joining these. I would actually like to use some sort of loose tenon but I’m not sure how shallow one side (the mortise) can be and still hold.
I’d also prefer not using through dowels either for aesthetic reasons.

I’m building some small cedar patio/camping/fishing tables that are fold-able. I made a prototype out of fir using screws but I don’t like the look and it’s just a matter of time before the screws get loose and then it’s trash.

All the boards are 1/2” thick. I could make the top a little thicker but no more than 3/4” or it wouldn’t be very fold-able which would defeat it’s purpose of being light and stow-able.

Any advice is appreciated.

6 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3582 days

#1 posted 09-26-2015 07:44 PM

Why can’t you use hidden dowels. I E drill from underneath but not all the way through, and fix the top of the spar to the underside. Then glue all that’s needed , squeeze up and when dried it should be perfect. Or use some hidden screws from beneath, using pocket hole technique. Or just by eye as some do. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Woodknack's profile


11616 posts in 2376 days

#2 posted 09-26-2015 08:05 PM

Outdoor screws are the smart bet. Outdoor decking and tables are attached with nails or screws because they give more to expansion and contraction which will be greater for outdoor furniture. You can try tenons or dowels but my guess is that wood movement will break them loose within a year or so.

-- Rick M,

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2253 days

#3 posted 09-26-2015 09:56 PM

Abehil, countersink the screw heads and fill the holes with matching or contracting plugs. Use stainless screws and they should last forever.

-- Art

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4725 posts in 2348 days

#4 posted 09-27-2015 12:45 AM

I have to agree w/ AandCstyle. Screws and plugs, that is what boat builders use.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View oldnovice's profile


6847 posts in 3364 days

#5 posted 09-27-2015 01:15 AM

Ditto on screws and plugs for sure!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 1129 days

#6 posted 09-27-2015 01:18 AM

2 through dowels at opposite angles and it will last forever. (ok maybe not forever)
Other than that, I would dado the slats and glue and clamp them. Maybe also toe nail them from the bottom with a pin nailer.

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