Apron/leg assembly question

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Forum topic by Pitt posted 05-05-2009 03:11 AM 1202 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 3737 days

05-05-2009 03:11 AM

I’m building a coffee table for my daughter in California, and want to send it to her finished but unassembled. My question is around the best way for her to assemble the legs/aprons without clamps.

The construction is mortise & tenon.

Option 1 – glue it and use ropes as clamps
Option 2 – countersink holes for screws going through the leg into the tenon. This seems like the best option, but I’m wondering how to get her plugs the right size and finish.
Option 3 – Plugs that stick out of the legs (square tops)

Any suggestions?

7 replies so far

View Pitt's profile


35 posts in 3737 days

#1 posted 05-05-2009 04:21 AM

Thanks Dave. Yes – built it before I thought too much about the knock down. I think I’m just going to buy her some glue and inexpensive strap clamps. I thought about plugs but think they would eventually fall out – stainless screws and shaker don’t mix well

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35 posts in 3737 days

#2 posted 05-05-2009 04:27 AM

It would have been cheaper to go out there and buy her one. 10 ft lumber does NOT fit in an SUV, and windshields do crack…

View rickf16's profile


390 posts in 3511 days

#3 posted 05-05-2009 04:46 AM

Two words: pocket holes. You could dry assemble the table with pocket hole screws. This would insure everything fit correctly and establish the holes. Mark all the pieces so she will assemble it the same way you did. Then, when she puts it together, she could use wood glue for the final assembly. Have her put blue painters tape at the joints to protect the finish. Be sure to send her the same screws you used. I would use pocket holes for the apron to leg joint and also a 45 degree brace across the legs apron to apron. Should hold just fine.
Just my two cents.

-- Rick

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117029 posts in 3507 days

#4 posted 05-05-2009 04:53 AM

Instead of strap clamps you can use rope with pads on the corners and a stick twisting the rope and a wire to hold the stick to so it can hold the twist in place,

-- wood crafting & classes

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3667 days

#5 posted 05-05-2009 06:22 AM

This would do the job well. It is from Rockler. It is a table apron bracket.

Here is the link. Open the technical info PDF

This will work with mortise and tenon construction.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3603 days

#6 posted 05-05-2009 06:37 AM

I like DaveR’s sliding dovetail suggestion the best. Minimal clamping would be required for a good glue up, and very easy to assemble on her end. 2 Big boards go parallel 2 little boards go parallel (assuming rectangular design, even easier with square.)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18224 posts in 3606 days

#7 posted 05-05-2009 07:00 AM

You could use the old style of offset pinning the tennons. It wouldn’t even need glue as the offset pins draw it up tight. If it was glues, they would replace the clamps. The pins could be driven in from the side that shows and not worry about he excess on the inside as it would only have to be about 1/2 inch with a bit of taper to start it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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