Need suggestions for attaching an end table top

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by TJ11 posted 05-12-2011 04:29 AM 1478 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TJ11's profile


57 posts in 2650 days

05-12-2011 04:29 AM

My first attempt at building mission-style furniture: a pair of matching end-tables. 28 BF of quartersawn oak, 40 tenons, 32 mortises, and 16 grooves later I am very pleased with the result. I cheated a little and used biscuits to attach the bottoms but now I am ready to attach the top. Can I use biscuits to join the tops or is that cheating too much? Is there another way I can attach the top without using any hardware? I am worried about movement so I will use fasteners/brackets/screws if I have to but I was trying to stay relatively authentic.

-- If I had more money, I'd have more tools

4 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2830 days

#1 posted 05-12-2011 05:04 AM

TJ, without seeing your piece it would be challenging to determine what is best. I understand too that your concerned about staying in the spirt of the piece. Authenticity is great but as it relates to joinery, one will find a wide variity of techniuqes, even in the same style of furniture. Authenticity is based a lot on what was available to the builder in his on region to some extent. The image I get from your brif description tells me that I would probably use through dowels or tenons and wedge them then finish flush with the top.
Savor the journey, JB

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2872 days

#2 posted 05-12-2011 05:16 AM

I am assuming you mean “attach the top to the substructure.”

You need to allow that solid top to expand and contract with changes in humidity. Metal top fasteners are the fast way, but there’s a way which is doubtless more “authentic” and will be a fun part of your impressive project:

You can see them here nearly at the end. Little L-shaped (sorta) blocks that screw to the underside of the table and catch a little dado in the perimeter of your substructure. You could cut that slot with your biscuit cutter or a slotting cutter in your router.

Oh, and remember, if we can’t see a picture of your end tables, they didn’t happen! : )



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2881 days

#3 posted 05-12-2011 05:08 PM

Lee’s right on both counts. The wooden blocks would work well. And NO PICTURE, DIDN’T HAPPEN!

Keep up the good work.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View TJ11's profile


57 posts in 2650 days

#4 posted 05-13-2011 12:02 PM

I will go with some homemade hardwood buttons per Lee’s suggestion. The tops are done and just need final coat of finish after attaching and to be honest I just want to get these done. The end tables are copies of a cabinet-style mission end table my wife fell in love with; we keep the family board games stored in our current end tables and she was worried about losing storage space with traditional slat-sided mission end tables. Next project will be a pair of traditional slat-sided end tables that I will use cabmaker’s suggestion on (through tenons wedged in place would be a nice traditional look).

Apologies to all for not including pics (I will post ‘em) but also thanks to all for your suggestions.

-- If I had more money, I'd have more tools

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