Coffee Table Joinery

  • Advertise with us

« back to Joinery forum

Forum topic by JasonZahn posted 01-03-2016 09:05 PM 619 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JasonZahn's profile


56 posts in 1281 days

01-03-2016 09:05 PM

I’ve been going back and forth with this in my head for a little while now and figured I’d throw it out there and get some opinions on it:

I am about to start building a coffee table for a relative, 32” square by around 19” tall, made from walnut and curly maple. The table will have drawers that can be opened from both sides, with a glass top inset into a frame, so that you can see down into the drawers. With that design, the table has only 2 aprons on the sides, rather than the 3 that it would have if the drawers opened only from one side, Basically, I am looking to make sure that I employ plenty of strength through the 2 wide side aprons that I have. The top rails above the drawers on the ‘front’ and ‘back’ sides of the table will be a lapped dovetail, and the stretcher below the drawer will be MT.

If I make the side aprons from 3/4” or 1” thick stock, will the 1/4” thick to 3/8” thick tenon (depending on stock thickness) be plenty strong enough? The legs are going to be 2.5 square where they’ll be mortised, so I was intending on the tenon being an inch to 1.25” long going into the leg mortise.

My other thought was to use 1” thick stock and go ahead and make the tenon and corresponding mortises 1/2”, but I thought that this might be overkill.

Any thoughts are, as always, appreciated.


7 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile


2962 posts in 1504 days

#1 posted 01-03-2016 10:23 PM

1/4” thick tenon should be adequate, but I would go 3/8.
I think somewhere I read tenon should be at least 1/3 thickness.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1175 days

#2 posted 01-03-2016 10:57 PM

What is the width of your aprons?

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View JasonZahn's profile


56 posts in 1281 days

#3 posted 01-03-2016 11:21 PM

Should’ve specified that…they’re side aprons, around 6” maybe a hair more

View bondogaposis's profile


4759 posts in 2375 days

#4 posted 01-03-2016 11:27 PM

1/4” would be plenty.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#5 posted 01-03-2016 11:49 PM

if you’re using a fairly hard wood I agree that 1/4” will work, anything softer than say poplur I’d be concerned about that small of tenon.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1175 days

#6 posted 01-04-2016 12:04 AM

If you have 6”’ of width I would do a double tenon, it is stronger then just one large one, and not any more work, make one large tenon, cut out part of the center of it and then make the 2 mortises on each leg. I aint happy with a 1/4”, do you have a 5/16 or 3/8 chisel for the mortiser? You have more then enough wall thickness in those legs. I would go with a 1 1/4 tenon, better safe then sorry.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View JasonZahn's profile


56 posts in 1281 days

#7 posted 01-04-2016 12:12 AM

I’ll be using walnut, so as far as the wood goes I’m not concerned, however I may just go ahead and do the 3/8” tenon to be safe rather than the 1/4” even though it might be overkill.

I never even thought about doing a double tenon, but might give it a thought now that you bring it up, conifur…

Thanks guys.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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