How would you suggest doing this?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by AandCstyle posted 08-03-2014 01:28 AM 1687 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AandCstyle's profile


3179 posts in 2459 days

08-03-2014 01:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak biscuit joiner router clamp joining arts and crafts

I will make a L & JG Stickley Prairie Settle #220 like the one pictured. I think I have it pretty well figured out except for attaching the the top to the side and back panels. Notice that unlike a Morris chair, there are no through tenons holding the top securely in place.

Here are my current thoughts:
1. Use desk top fasteners. Ugh! But they could be hidden from view, except from below looking up.
2. Drill holes in the upper part of the corbels for screws and sink and plug the holes. Better or ugh?
3. Use floating tenons in the legs that would go 1/2-5/8” into the top which is 13/16” before sanding. Alignment could be could be difficult and I’m not sure how strong this would be. You know that someday movers will lift it by its top.
4. Apply a thin strip of glue to the tops of the rails and clamp the top in place. Maintaining alignment would be a challenge. Another question regarding the strength.
5. Use dowel pegs or biscuits to increase the glue surface. Also, solves the alignment issue, but accurate placement of the pegs or biscuits might be difficult. Still doesn’t answer the strength question.
6. Glue a spline into the tops of the rails and route a corresponding groove in the top to accept the spline. This is my preference at the moment

Which of the above would you use or do you have another suggestion?

Thanks for the assistance.

-- Art

21 replies so far

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2629 days

#1 posted 08-03-2014 01:56 AM

Recently I have got in tune with my biscuit machine and had good results with it, I tossed the fence which was always off. now I only use the base as a reference, it is limiting I know, but at at least it is accurate.
To answer your question – use biscuits.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3586 days

#2 posted 08-03-2014 02:22 AM

I think your number 6, using splines the full length, would be the strongest way without showing the attachment. I did that on a face frame before. Using screws and plugging it would be the easiest no-fail method, but it depends on whether you/your customer minds a few well-matched plugs. The one in the picture appears to be made with screws from below into the top with holes plugged on all the brackets/corbels or whatever you call them. That should work fine too.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View BobLang's profile


160 posts in 3602 days

#3 posted 08-03-2014 02:42 AM

#4, short answer is keep it simple

detailed explanation can be found here:

-- Bob Lang,

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2826 days

#4 posted 08-03-2014 03:06 AM

My name is Jack and I am a dowler. Setting it up would not be that difficult with Dowell centers. They are surprisingly strong.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Woodknack's profile


12431 posts in 2582 days

#5 posted 08-03-2014 03:19 AM

Beginning with easiest:
1) Screw through the corbels then plug the holes. Only another woodworker would ever get down and look.
2) Biscuits would be next easiest and hidden.
3) Screw down through (or use dowels), square the top of the hole and use chamfered plugs for faux through tenons. I’ve seen this done a lot on A&C furniture.

-- Rick M,

View Mark's profile


971 posts in 2177 days

#6 posted 08-03-2014 02:35 PM

Morning Art. That’s a cool piece. I’m thinkin’ you wouldn’t be happy with dowels/plugs on the top. I think the idea behind that piece is a clean looking top. I read Bob’s response and while I certainly don’t doubt it, I kinda lean towards over building. Such being the case I’d go with the splines or biscuits.
Best of luck with your project and don’t forget to post the pics…lots a pics.

-- Mark

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2137 days

#7 posted 08-03-2014 02:51 PM

First off, Bob Lang knows a helluva lot more than me, so I am inclined to listen to him. I do agree with him that since that glue joint is in fact long grain to long grain, I would feel pretty comfortable with just glue. Wood glue is incredible.

If that doesn’t satisfy, I would go with the biscuit/dowel/floating tenon option. The biscuits and floating tenons give you a little more wiggle room to be off. I would cut all of your mortises in the rails and the tops at the same time using the same reference fence. I’d make a spacer block to compensate for the difference in width of the “armrest” top and the rails below. It’d be some work, but I think you’d get a really solid joint there that would hold up to even the most irresponsible of movers.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View sras's profile


4943 posts in 3331 days

#8 posted 08-03-2014 03:20 PM

Another vote for #4.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View AandCstyle's profile


3179 posts in 2459 days

#9 posted 08-03-2014 03:30 PM

Bob is “da man” so I will follow his advice. Thanks, Bob, and everyone else for the suggestions.

-- Art

View Grumpymike's profile


2333 posts in 2517 days

#10 posted 08-03-2014 05:24 PM

Hi Art,
Looks like you got your answer with the glue. ... But wait there is more … I blew up the photo and noticed that there are screw holes in the corbels that have been plugged.
So besides the glue, it appears that there are counter bored screws going up into the rail at each of the corbels???
Just an observation.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Scott's profile


153 posts in 3174 days

#11 posted 08-03-2014 06:59 PM

I agree with Bob Lang and the others about the strip of glue. If done correctly, that should be fine.

However, I own a modern Stickley Factory settle and they used screws through the corbels.

View bondogaposis's profile


5092 posts in 2553 days

#12 posted 08-03-2014 09:42 PM

All I can add is that if Bob Lang gave me advice on an A&C piece, I would go w/ that.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View AandCstyle's profile


3179 posts in 2459 days

#13 posted 08-04-2014 12:50 AM

Again, I appreciate all the feedback. I will use just a strip of glue along the top rails and clamp the tops in place. As mentioned, if Bab Lang says it is good enough, then I am a believer.

-- Art

View BobLang's profile


160 posts in 3602 days

#14 posted 08-04-2014 01:27 PM

Most of the time, in original pieces there are plugged screws in the corbels. That’s long-grain to long-grain too, but the curved surfaces tend to slip around when clamped. Screws make it all pretty easy and if you make the plugs from a scrap of the piece being plugged and line the grain up, they can be nearly invisible. Invisible at least to normal people, woodworkers will be compelled to point them out.

-- Bob Lang,

View AandCstyle's profile


3179 posts in 2459 days

#15 posted 08-05-2014 12:50 AM

Bob, again, thank you. I will let the corbels into the legs so there shouldn’t be any slippage, but I might try this on a future project to see how I like it. :)

-- Art

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

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