Advice on How to attach slab legs to sofa table project

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Forum topic by kcrandy posted 12-19-2011 07:49 PM 5214 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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285 posts in 3638 days

12-19-2011 07:49 PM

I have a gorgeous piece of Walnut, two inches thick, 9.5 inches wide and 54 inches long that I have finished and want to use as a sofa table. I have two other slabs of wood that are one-inch thick walnut that I need to refinish and then attach as the support legs for the rather heavy top. I’m thinking sliding dovetail is perhaps the best joint, but wanted to seek opinions here. I have a router, but not a router table so I couldn’t make the cuts for the dovetail in the legs unless I get a router table or take it someplace. Other ideas. I think, too, that I should connect the two legs together with a rod just under the table, for additional stability and/or provide a shelf near the floor end of the slab legs.

-- Caulk and paint are a poor carpenter's best friends

7 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5135 posts in 4166 days

#1 posted 12-19-2011 07:54 PM

Not knowing the design you are working, how about round thru tenons that are wedged from the top, or blind wedged tenons that don’t show from the top?
Without an apron of sorts, I don’t know of another style that will be strong enough.


View bondogaposis's profile


5098 posts in 2557 days

#2 posted 12-20-2011 01:53 AM

Wedged through tenons gets my vote too.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View kcrandy's profile


285 posts in 3638 days

#3 posted 12-20-2011 05:29 AM

I need to looked up “wedged through” tenons, but I have also been thinking a mortise and tenon route is the best way to go. The top slab is two inches thick, so I have a full inch of tenon to work with. But will do research on what wedged through means. I’m still such a newbie.

-- Caulk and paint are a poor carpenter's best friends

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 3071 days

#4 posted 12-24-2011 06:45 PM

Take a look at a recent FWW article – issue 222. It has an article about leveling large slabs, with a small subsection on how he attaches the base. Basically, he routes a mortise in the bottom of the table to fit the 2 slabs that form the legs. Then cuts hardwood “clips” that secure the legs. They are the same type of thing you would do for securing the top and base on a dining table, for instance. This way you also allow for some movement in the top.

I’m hoping to get started on a project similar to this over the weekend. I can’t wait…

Good luck

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3056 days

#5 posted 12-24-2011 08:37 PM

Are these live-edge slabs?

If your top is live-edge, You may want to consider something geometric (dimensional) for the legs/base. It tends to keep attention on the top. Even if the top is squared, this could be a nice design way to go.

If you do skirt (and perhaps stretcher), you can make the base pretty delicate and float, visually, your showpiece top.

Kinda like this.



-- " 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 Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3854 days

#6 posted 12-24-2011 09:55 PM

You don’t have to wedge the tenons. Sure, that’s the most audaciously
craftsman-like way to do it, but stopped mortises are fine too as long as
you’ve got the proportions of the joints beefy enough and you cut
the tenon shoulders well.

The through mortises can be easy to cut though, since they can be
jigsawed out rather than excavated. In that case, make sure you have
the sides squared well or tapered appropriately because that mortise
and tenon need to be well executed to look good as a through mortise.

View kcrandy's profile


285 posts in 3638 days

#7 posted 12-26-2011 06:48 AM

Appreciate all comments. Great food for thought. I have described the project, perhaps, poorly. Think three slabs of walnut. On is the top (two inches thick), the other two are slabs for the two legs. I have not seen a sofa table of this sort. They all have four legs at the corners. This will have two slab legs not at the ends but a third of the way in from the ends. I’m thinking now sliding mortise and tenon, then for additional stability a rod or board between the two slab legs under the top slab.

-- Caulk and paint are a poor carpenter's best friends

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