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Attaching Table Top Question

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Forum topic by Pyamed posted 03-14-2011 06:36 AM 3345 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Pyamed

26 posts in 1412 days


03-14-2011 06:36 AM

Hi Folks,

I’m building a pub table and I had a question about the correct way to attach the Apron/Legs to the top. My thoughts were to do a Mortise and Tenon from the apron to the legs and then pocket screws from the apron to the top to pull everything together. My question is will those screws be enough of hold everything together specially the legs? Or should I also put some type of support from the legs to the top? Thanks for any help!

Kevin

-- Kevin - Rochester, NY


12 replies so far

View mstenner's profile

mstenner

57 posts in 1873 days


#1 posted 03-14-2011 04:03 PM

What you describe will be strong enough, but it won’t do well with seasonal movement. The problem is that the aprons won’t change much over seasons, but the top will. So, you need some sort of attachment that allows movement. There are many strategies. Rockler sells something called “table top fasteners”. They’re little bent metal brackets. You screw them to the table top, then they hook into a narrow kerf you cut on the inside of the apron. It clamps the whole thing together but allows movement.

Edit: I’ve been assuming you’re using a solid wood top of substantial size. If it’s a plywood top, or it’s small (say a phone stand or nightstand) you can likely get away with pocket screws.

-- -Michael

View Navig8r's profile

Navig8r

31 posts in 1385 days


#2 posted 03-14-2011 04:07 PM

Why not pocket screw the legs to the top and the apron? Seems simple and should add stability, I’d think.

-- ~ T.J. Hudson Valley, NY. It's all fun & games until somebody loses an eye!

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Pyamed

26 posts in 1412 days


#3 posted 03-14-2011 04:17 PM

Yes the top is 36” x 60” and 1 inch thick quarter sawn oak

-- Kevin - Rochester, NY

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2463 days


#4 posted 03-14-2011 04:37 PM

This top will move about 6 tenths of an inch from winter to summer. So the pocket screw method to attach the top, will cause the top to crack or the aprons to separate when the top swells. The table irons (top fasteners Michael mentioned) or wooden buttons are your best method for a solid wood top this large.

View superstretch's profile

superstretch

1509 posts in 1412 days


#5 posted 03-14-2011 04:41 PM

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=784

Would the boards move more horizontally or longitudinally? I’ve been looking into breadboard ends and came across something Norm always did with his—Drill holes for dowels, but in the tongue pieces, drill out the outer holes to make slots. That way, the ends were anchored in the middle and stayed attached.

@Kev – you could always do a floating top too.. those look pretty sharp

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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tenontim

2131 posts in 2463 days


#6 posted 03-14-2011 05:01 PM

Dan, the boards will move across the grain. The elongated holes in the outer holes will allow the top to move. Don’t elongate the center dowel and the bread board end will hold it position. If the end is made the same width as the top, it will either stick out or be recessed, depending on the season. The G & G furniture hides this with bread board ends that are intentionally made longer than the top is wide.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3556 posts in 1913 days


#7 posted 03-14-2011 05:02 PM

When I build a table that has a solid top, say oak, I use a fastner called a “figure 8”. You use a 3/4” Forstner bit and drill a hole about 1/16th—1/8” deep on the edge of the aprons, making sure it is below the top of the aprons…screw it down snug….With a table that size, I’ll put about 2- 3 on each end apron, and about 4 down the apron lengthwise. Turn the table over, place the top on the frame with the amount of over-hang you want, and screw it to the top….These let the top move with changes in humidity and seasonal changes. I’ve used them for years, and haven’t had a top crack or come off yet…..Here’s a couple of pixs to show how they work….

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1412 days


#8 posted 03-14-2011 05:06 PM

Breadboards are beautiful and very appropriate but they won’t help with mating your top to your carcass. However you fasten it must allow the top to slide against the apron/leg assembly. I ran into this problem in the purpleheart humidor in my projects section attaching the plinth to the box. I used sliding slots and brass pins to keep everything attached. I’m about to face the exact problem you describe in my ongoing cherry nightstand project. I plan to use wooden blocks/buttons mounted on the top slotted into dados in the aprons.

I’ll wish us both luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3556 posts in 1913 days


#9 posted 03-14-2011 05:10 PM

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View superstretch's profile

superstretch

1509 posts in 1412 days


#10 posted 03-14-2011 05:18 PM

Rick-
Now that you mention it, that’s exactly what holds the top on to my 120 year old desk at home. The only difference is that the ends that attach to the top are on the outside of the apron.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Pyamed's profile

Pyamed

26 posts in 1412 days


#11 posted 03-14-2011 05:50 PM

Rick, Great photos! Thanks so much for those!

-- Kevin - Rochester, NY

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3556 posts in 1913 days


#12 posted 03-14-2011 06:12 PM

Kevin,

Here’s where I get the figure 8’s from, if you decide to use them.

Woodworkers.com : Table fastners for desk and tabletops.

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

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