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Table leg joint strength12/1
An architect wants me to build a small conference table for his office. It will finish at 84" long, 33" wide, and 30" high. The material is 12/4 cypress, reclaimed from an old train depot, and has been sitting in a dry warehouse for at least 10 years. He wants to dovetail the legs into the top, giving a clean parsons table look. I don't think this is going to have enough lateral stability and will eventually break. Any bracing between the legs would completely restrict the movement of the top. Check out the images. Anyone have a good idea? Thanks!
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I have used the joint you have depicted on several tables. It worked well and was quite strong. I tend to be like you and visualize someone dragging the table across a room on the carpet. There really is no way to protect yourself against the poor judgement of others. I believe it is a strong enough joint for any reasonable use. People can figure out a way to break almost anything. It is not idiot proof, neither is your finish.
I've also had good luck with a similar joint: pegged through tenon, not a dovetail. The table's about 6 years old, but made in cherry.
I see no problem with the joint as you have it planned. Cypress is a bit soft, and that would be my only concern.
Make a test joint and try to destroy it. I bet you will find it as strong as a 3" apron with a haunched 1/2" x 2-1/2" x 3" tenon in a 4" leg.
Would you trust a mortise and tenon in this application? That's pretty much a through mortise and tenon without an apron.
Thanks for your input guys. Because the top is laminated to show the edge grain, I can make the outer strips with the legs joined to them, and then glue those to the top. This will give me a chance to see how strong the joint is before I commit and lose the chance to mortise in a cross brace between the legs. I hope you all are right, and that is not necessary. I will post a pic when the table is complete.
Delivered the table yesterday. The dovetail was more than adequate and the table was as sturdy as any traditional style. I also posted a picture of the console I made to go with it. I showed the client this thread and he was impressed I sought out industry advice. Thanks to all that contributed!