Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada.
    Posts
    2

    How to attach shelf to end table legs?

    Hi

    I am building an end table that is about 24"x24"x24" out of hard maple. The legs are 1.75" square and there is a 7/8" thick shelf half way down that I am trying to figure out the best way to attach. There is no frame/skirt etc so I was thinking of notching the legs with the router and kind of making a tennon out of the shelf corners. In fact I am pretty certain this is the joint I want.

    Any suggestions on how to cut these "mortise and tennon" type joints?

    Thanks

    John

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA.
    Posts
    3,491

    RE: How to attach shelf to end table legs?

    WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!! :) :) :) :) :)

    Wow - i had this EXACT same challenge on my end tables a year ago. Is your shelf solid wood, no breadboard edge? Like ... nothing between those legs and the expansion of that big panel, right?

    I asked and searched and tried various designs. I thought maybe a dovetail shaped slot that would allow for some movement. I'd have to notch the "tenon" part a little to make some room for expansion. My legs were also tapered and only about 1" square at the level of my shelf, which added to the challenge.

    I thought of slotting a pocket hole on the shelf into the leg. I thought of sliding mortises with shoulders all the way around. I thought of notching out the whole leg and resting the shelf in there with shoulders to hide any gaps that may come with shrinkage - what a glue-up challenge that would have been.

    In the end, the sliding dovetail one was the only one that I could pretend to have confidence in. Trouble was that the legs were tapered on the INSIDE, where the shelf will go. That meant my dovetail in the leg had to be straight, but the tail had to be straight AND angled just slightly to make up for the slight difference due to the taper. OY VEY!

    It came down to a design change at that point. The utility of the shelf down there wasn't very much - in fact, the shelf limited what could be stored under the table. So the shelf went (AFTER I GLUED UP THE TWO CHERRY PANELS!!!). I opted for the chicken approach. I couldn't find any designs that had the shelf like the way I'd envisioned and I surmised there was a reason for that. My tables came out great, sans shelf, and I'm not at all concerned about movement ripping apart the aprons or the legs.

    I'm not suggesting that you scrap the idea. I don't mean to sound discouraging. This is just a recount of MY experience. I was unable to solve this problem. If your situation is as tricky as mine seemed to be, I hope you find a solution and share it with us all!! Heck, even if it isn't, when you solve it let's see it! :)


  3. #3
    Member cabinetman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    So. Florida
    Posts
    3,355

    RE: How to attach shelf to end table legs?



    An approach you might consider is to notch the shelf to fit the legs. Drill a dowel hole in the legs perpendicular to the grain direction of the shelf. Rout out the underside of the shelf with a core box bit so inserting the dowel with a length to extend out from the leg, allows the dowel to seat in a pocket under the shelf. This would allow the shelf to be removable, if desired, and the dowel not visible.

    http://www.amanatool.com/bitdetails/45900.jpg

    If the shelf is needed for the rigidity to the legs, you could drill a slotted hole on the leg side that lines up with the long grain, and use a pocket screw, still allowing for movement along the cross grain of the shelf.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Bradford, Vermont, MerryCanna.
    Posts
    18,751

    RE: How to attach shelf to end table legs?

    ...or glue the dowel(s) in the slot(s).

    -- Tim --

    Passion is the weather;
    Love is a climate.


  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    .
    Posts
    7,910

    RE: How to attach shelf to end table legs?

    John,

    Using your method I would give serious consideration to using edge-banded Maple plywood as the shelf material. That will eliminate the seasonal movement issue of a solid shelf.

    As for the joint, I'd simply cut a notch in the legs in which to insert the shelf corner. Use what you have available, a hollow chisel mortiser, a router and chisel, a saw and chisel, etc.

    Cody
    Tyler, TX


    While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease



  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Las Cruces, NM, USA.
    Posts
    3,882

    RE: How to attach shelf to end table legs?

    Is it too late to add a couple of stretchers where you want the shelf to go? That is what I did on an end table I made a while back, and then you don't have to worry about the wood movement of the shelf if you attach it to the stretches instead of attaching directly to the legs.

    Just a thought in case that is an option that might work for you.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada.
    Posts
    2

    RE: How to attach shelf to end table legs?

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I am leaning toward the dowel idea (fairly simple) or "corner" M&T joint.

    The table does not have a skirt or frame. It is just six pieces of wood: a top, shelf and four legs. The shelf and top are identical wood, thickness, orientation, construction etc. There shouldn't be any _differential_ movement between the shelf and top (ie width change). Therefore my concept is that the entire table would expand when its humid, the top and shelf expanding at the same rate and direction. The legs would just "go along for the ride".

    John

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •