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    Table apron to legs joinery

    So far I have seen M &T joinery used for table apron to legs. But tonight I was watching The Router Workshop and they used sliding dovetails instead. They didn't give a reason. That made me remember that I have seen or read somewhere about using sliding dovetails for this type of joinery, but I don't remember why.

    Can anybody give me the pros and cons?

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    It could be due to the large thing on top of the older dude's head:lol: :lol:
    But I would choose M&T over the sliding DT for the easy of construction. Also I think that you would get better glue surface with M&T.
    My .02, Dave:-)
    :-D Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile :-D

    Honestly Honey, that will cost around $100 $150 $200, and I need a few more tools.

    Heard from a client..."If I had your tools and experience...I could do it myself"

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Unless you pin the M&T, you are depending on a cross-grain glue-joint to keep the joint from opening.

    I think it's a concern in this scenario since the table-leg acts like a lever on the joint if/when the table is dragged across the floor.

    The sliding dovetail on the other hand is purely mechanical and does not require glue. Cut correctly, the mating action actually puts the joint into tension, ensuring no gap (like the action of a draw-bored M&T).

    Tougher to cut tho.

    I *suspect* a M&T will carry more shear load before failure, but I have never seen an actual stress-test comparison of the two joints.

    -Mark

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Steve, I think the sliding DT would keep the joint from pulling apart. I am not sure about which joint would fail first from a shearing force but as long as you don't plan on doing any table dancing I think the sliding DT would be a great joint for attaching the apron to the legs.

    D L
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. George Orwell (1903 - 1950)

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Have a look at the pictures of my coffee table. I put sliding angled DT in the rail leg joins.
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    I look forward to the day when I can consider, "Do I want dovetails or M&T?" As a newbee to woodworking, my next attempt at learning something new will be the dovetails on the drawers for the nightstand I am now making. You may remember I made a ten drawer chest for my daughter. I have modified the chest to become a nightstand. So far so good but it will have dovetail drawers.

  7. #7
    Returning Member DavidF's Avatar
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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Good luck with that - don't forget - no pics, didn't happen:lol:
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidF
    Have a look at the pictures of my coffee table. I put sliding angled DT in the rail leg joins.
    OK! Now my question is what is the basis for a decsion to go with sliding dovetails vs M & T?

  9. #9
    Returning Member DavidF's Avatar
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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    In my case it was a design element as the two interlocked at the top of the leg. Structually, I would say that the DT was better, but having said that, with modern adhesives and the larger gluing area of the M&T I would say that was marginal. As for the making - the DT was easy.
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    I agree with DaveF. Even with the cross grain of the M&T, the tenon still only tightens up in the mortis in excess moisture. The dovetail will expand out of the top of the joint in a similar fashion. But this movement is small, just don't attach the top to the legs. Another way might be to extend the dovetail below and cover it with a lip from the apron and glue only the top.

    Tightbond is so much stronger than necessary, I don't think that it makes any difference, unless it is unfinished and in the pool.:fish:

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    A couple of years ago, one of the woodworking magazines did a comparison & test of the apron/leg joints. It may have been Fine Woodworking. I remember it being a pretty good article. Maybe somebody remembers the article and can lay hands on it. My old magazines are all boxed up in the attic.
    Randy O

  12. #12
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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Another reason to go either way is whether you want to see the top of the joint. Obviously with the Sliding DT you will see the top, therefore it must be perfectly made. With an M&T you can start the joint 1/2" down from the top and not see it; if you have had to "fiddle" the joint to make it tight only you will know. No such luxury wit the DT, but it does make a nice design feature when you get it right; especially if you do the interlocking type as I did.
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Had I read this thread before I joined this group, I would have struck a match to the table I made and sold all of my equipment. Guys.... there is soooo much for me to learn and only so many hours in a day..... HOLY COW I am almost getting disheartened.
    Dawn
    " I've learned that I still have a lot to learn"

  14. #14
    Returning Member DavidF's Avatar
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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    Hey, that's WHY you joined the group - we all help out each other. If you need a hand with something or quick informal training course just ask, one of us will certainly offer to help. It's only a way of spending money after all - your're not expected to produce anything:lol:
    David
    "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" Bernard-Paul Heroux

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    Returning Member dbvilla's Avatar
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    Re: Table apron to legs joinery

    But David,
    Should I decide to try M &T joinery on a project, couldn't I just use a drill press and jig saw and of course my favorite band saw?
    There are soooo many new tools, I have never considered. I would really like to try new things, all the while getting the hang of the tools I have available to me now.
    " I've learned that I still have a lot to learn"

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