help with basic construction theory

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Forum topic by spamfilterman posted 02-21-2010 12:34 AM 1114 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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147 posts in 2444 days

02-21-2010 12:34 AM

Help… noob here.
I’m trying to design a tv stand. Probably using a plywood carcase, solid wood top, face frame, legs, and drawer fronts.
It’s not terribly complicated, but I don’t have a full grasp of how to construct certain ideas.
I want something fairly simple like this:

My main question is, any idea how the legs attached to the main plywood carcase in that tv stand?
Same question for this:

Here is my current idea:
current idea

In this sketchup, I notched the legs to fit around the carcase, so that the entire carcase rests on the legs. Is that normal, or is there an easier way? If I do notch it like that, still, how do I solidly attach the legs to the plywood carcase? Glue and maybe a couple hidden screws?

If I were to make the carcase out of solid wood too… same questions… how to attached legs to solid wood carcase? Or would I need to go to some sort of mortise/tenon rails to connect the legs around the perimeter?


9 replies so far

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147 posts in 2444 days

#1 posted 02-21-2010 12:35 AM

btw, probably not final dimensions in that sketchup… I will probably want the legs to be a little beefier. And I’ve thought about taking out the vertical partitiions that divide the 4 empty spaces.

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2554 days

#2 posted 02-21-2010 02:59 PM

You could route a long mortise in the legs, then screw a “tenon” to the plywood side, and glue the leg on to the tenon.

An easy way would be to screw them on from the inside, and plug the holes. You could also hide the screws behind the horizontal plywood shelves, top and bottom.

-- Gerry,

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4541 posts in 2497 days

#3 posted 02-21-2010 03:07 PM

With this design, you have a lot of gluing surface for gluing the leg to the plywood. I think glue alone would do the job, but I would probably at a couple of screws from the inside that are hidden by the shelves for good measure.

Also – this might be a good place to use biscuits. They will help with alignment when gluing the legs and they might add a little bit of strength. I still would consider the biscuits as optional.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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1407 posts in 2981 days

#4 posted 02-21-2010 05:50 PM

Nice design. You can glue the legs to the sides if you’re using plywood since it doesn’t move. Whether you notch or not would just be aesthetic. Notched looks more contemporary to me, no notch would be more classic looking. Notching would lighten up the piece, where no notch would make it look heavier, depending on the look you’re going for. Tapered would have a similar effect. Upside down taper would look Asian.

If you decide to go with biscuits, Norm uses biscuits to put his face frames on his kitchen cabinets. He runs a groove down the entire edge of the plywood with a router and a 3 wing cutter so he doesn’t have to be fussy about locating them. Gizmodyne mentions building the face frame to the carcass so little measuring is needed.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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83 posts in 2583 days

#5 posted 02-21-2010 07:19 PM

From what I can tell from the photos, it appears to be constructed of four main components: the top, the center carcase, and the two sides. The sides appear to be constructed of plywood (possibly two layers) which is most likely dadoed/glued into the two legs. There also appears to be bolt heads on the inside of the carcase which are probably fastened to threaded inserts in the plywood of the side/leg assemblies.

-- Jason, JEV Woodworking

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165 posts in 2444 days

#6 posted 02-21-2010 07:21 PM

Good information.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#7 posted 02-21-2010 07:26 PM

I agree with Rich you could probably just glue and clamp, but if you want insurance just add some biscuits.

-- Custom furniture

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2491 days

#8 posted 02-21-2010 08:00 PM

I built this cabinet for a customer last year and after some minor disagreement with the customer added the legs toward the center of the cabinet.


It’s slightly over seven feet long and packed full of electronic components – some of them pretty heavy. The original plan just had legs at the ends, but after building it (and seeing her pile of components), I insisted on adding support.

Depending on the overall length of your cabinet, and the weight of the “stuff” you’ll put in and on it, some kind of center support might be a good plan.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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147 posts in 2444 days

#9 posted 02-23-2010 06:09 AM

Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like maybe I was making it more complicated than it needed to be. Time to go back to sketchup and work on some details.

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