Table Apron/Skirt to Leg Joint

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Forum topic by langski93 posted 01-19-2016 01:46 PM 1808 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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111 posts in 3630 days

01-19-2016 01:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joining sliding dovetail mortice and tenon table leg connection attachment

Except for cutting rough lumber to length, all work is being done with hand tools.

I am dimensioning material for a dining room table. It will be 78” in length and 30” to top of table. The legs will be tapered from a 3” square billet.

The top will be a heavy piece of walnut made from 3 boards. The width of the top will net out at least 38” and possible as wide as 40”. I have not worked out all of the dimensions, but the apron will be 3.5” to 4” wide.

I am trying to decide if I should use M+T joint or sliding dovetail to connect the apron to the legs. I see sliding dovetail used on smaller tables and question if the scale of this piece is too large for that connection. I am concerned about the downward wedging action of the dovetail on the leg. In theory, if left unglued, the joint has the potential to be freed up if/when the table is ever moved. M+T joints, pinned or not are fixed.

All thoughts, suggestions and alternatives are appreciated.

Does anyone else make a distinction between a table apron and a skirt? I saw a diagram where the width piece was labelled as a skirt and the longitudinal piece was labelled an apron. I just refer to both as an an apron.

-- Langski, New Hampshire

5 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5086 posts in 2549 days

#1 posted 01-19-2016 01:50 PM

I’d go w/ M&T. It is tried and true, larger glue surface.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5171 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 01-19-2016 03:59 PM

What Bondo said^^^^^^^

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4760 posts in 2506 days

#3 posted 01-19-2016 05:51 PM

What Fred Hargis said.

Just something I read. I have no practical experience.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2567 days

#4 posted 01-19-2016 06:26 PM

I’d go with the haunched M&T, drawbored. I’ve only built two tables ever, but this approach has worked out very well for me. I don’t have clamps long enough for the sides, so apply a little glue to the joint, whack in the pegs, and move on, no clamps required, and a little extra peace of mind.

Edit : Not sure what the location this is ending up in is like, but you have made sure that you can get a table of this size, with non-removable legs, into the destination, correct?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View langski93's profile


111 posts in 3630 days

#5 posted 01-20-2016 12:58 AM

Thanks everyone. Alaskaguy I never considered the lateral split between joints like the diagram, but I can see it happening with the illustration you provided. My original concern was more of lengthwise split. Yours is just another reason to avoid the sliding dovetail.

I will be using an M&T with draw boarded pins based on the feedback.

BinghamtonEd, yes it will go through the two doorways I need to pass. Measuring that was one of the first things I did. When I was first married I bought a couch, dragged it home and then dragged it back after I could not get it up a set of stairs. The good ol’days

-- Langski, New Hampshire

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