Could you help me choose the best joint?

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Forum topic by zippymorocco posted 11-17-2014 04:01 PM 742 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View zippymorocco's profile


38 posts in 709 days

11-17-2014 04:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joint mid century shelf

Hello, This is my first post! I am hoping to find some insight. I am planning on building a shelf with legs like this.

My question is this. Can I use a joint that would hold and not rack. If so what would it be? I have experience with Loose Tenons, dowels and biscuits. Would any of these be sufficient? I paln to use 3 three boxes attached to the legs rather than any flat shelves. So there would be a lot of long grain on long grain. The boxes will be walnut plywood and the legs solid walnut.

Thank you.


5 replies so far

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1275 posts in 1356 days

#1 posted 11-17-2014 04:21 PM

Loose tenons and dowels would work for sure, and biscuits might even work too. If you are using boxes, you should have a lot of glue area on the sides of the boxes to glue to the legs, correct? If that is so, a few dowels/ tenons plus the glue surface between the legs and the sides of the boxes should be plenty strong.

It’s possible that with a lot of glue surface area, you could even totally forget about the joinery (waiting for lightning bolt from Krenov….). The issue with this is that when the glue finally fails in a century or two, everything will fall apart. I would suggest at least some sort of joinery though, it would make the glue up much easier.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2263 posts in 1790 days

#2 posted 11-17-2014 04:48 PM

I agree with Oyster in that if you’re gluing that much long grain to long grain, whatever other mechanical joinery you use is going to help in alignment while the glue dries, and then hold it together when the glue fails after you’re dead. I would probably just use glue and something for alignment help. If you weren’t building the boxes separately you would need more involved joinery, I think. I think loose tenons would give you the best combination of alignment and strength.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 11-17-2014 05:23 PM

I like loose tenons also they are fine for putting the side/legss together themselves but conecting the sides/legs look like pretty thin material,so depending on the type of wood your using it might be best just to counter sink some holes in the sides/legs and screw the boxes on and put plugs of the top of the screw heads. The boxes will prevent the racking.

-- Custom furniture

View zippymorocco's profile


38 posts in 709 days

#4 posted 11-17-2014 05:45 PM

Thank you for the responses, the legs will be solid walnut 3/4“ thick. I originally considered biscuits and glue but thought strength would be an issue. There will be 2” X 16” of long grain to kong grain contact. I am trying to avoid screws if possible to because my boxes will be open. I have not ruled out screws if that is the right thing to do.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#5 posted 11-17-2014 05:53 PM

The right thing to do is open to opinion . Walnut is pretty strong so loose tenons should do the trick. One of the best books out there on joinery is this one.

I have many books on joinery but this is the best ,well worth the investment

-- Custom furniture

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