Using Biscuit Slots to Mount a Tabletop
There are lots of ways to attach a tabletop, whether it’s with simple screws, shop-made buttons or even specialty hardware. As long as it it’s a good fit and allows for seasonal expansion and contraction, they’re all good.
In building an Arts & Crafts library table based on this article from Eric Keil, I decided to go with s-clips — sometimes called tabletop mounting clips — rather than drilling and chiseling elongated holes through thick, oak members that form the base of the table.
One end of the clip gets screwed into the underside of the tabletop, while the unscrewed end of the “s” slips into a slot cut into the frame of the table. The only trick is to set the slot low enough that screwing it into the top pinches the clip against the table below to create a tight friction fit.
With the tabletop off, I slotted the table using a biscuit cutter. I referenced off the top of the table and set the height of the slot so it would properly cinch down the tabletop. The biscuit cutter makes this job quick and easy. The long, deep slots give plenty of wiggle room to position the clips and to let the tabletop move with the seasons.
Once the slots were cut, I flipped the table upside down onto the top to drill pilot holes. After positioning the table for an even overhang on all the sides, I used a transfer punch to mark the locations and then drilled the holes.
I decided to do this before finishing the piece, since I was worried about scratching the finish. (By the way, I wrote about finishing the tabletop in this blog post here.)
If you’re interested in other ways to attach a tabletop, check out Mario Rodriguez’s article on different techniques for doing so.
The mounting clips attach a tabletop firmly while also allowing for seasonal movement.
I cut the slots using a biscuit joiner and referencing of the top of the casework. This is easy to do after assembly.
Rows of slots waiting to receive the clips.
Attaching the clips is easier if you flip can flip the piece upside down.
Marking the hole with a transfer punch so I can drill without the clip in the way.
I lay out the clips on the underside withthe tabletop is in its final position, being careful to leave a little wiggle room for expansion and contraction.