Creating the Rule Joint

comments (2) April 26th, 2014 in blogs

Killenwood Tim Killen, contributor
thumbs up 1 user recommends

I'm again faced with designing and making the rule joint for this Shaker table. The rule joint is the very functional, structural, and beautiful connection of the table leaves - to allow the folding of the table.

Here is the table with two folding leaves.

This joint is tricky, and requires my review of the details and procedure every time. Of course, it helps to work through the process in SketchUp before moving into the shop. Then you know you've got it right.

So in the following video, I'll show how to make this joint in SketchUp.

Whether you are in the shop or in SketchUp, the first thing you need to know is the size, and detail design of the rule joint hinges. Hinge suppliers usually provide some details, but it is best to buy the hinges to have on hand to verify the details.

I started with a scanned image of a particular hinge from Horton Brasses catalog number H-150. Then I traced over the shape of the hinge and created a full scale model including the exact thickness.

The model of the hinge is built with separate components for the two halves. In this way you are able to rotate the hinge to have the fold-down configuration as well.


The next step is to place the hinge on the butted-up table top with the leaf. Note that the thickness of the hinge is a very important variable to know. This establishes the center of rotation and the geometry for the rule joint on the edges of the Top and Leaves.


The next steps are to do the geometry changes to the edges of the Top and the Leaf. To begin the geometry changes, the Circle Tool is positioned at the rotation center of the hinge.


The remaining work is with the Push/Pull Tool with some erasure clean-up. Also, the underside of the table leaf and top need to be routed out for the body of the hinge that will be flush on the bottom surface.



posted in: blogs, Sketchup, shaker table, Rule Joint

Comments (2)

TKWW2 TKWW2 writes: In response to robbo41.

What an interesting and amazing comment. You do realize that DCB is about using Sketchup and that involves lines on a computer...don't you?

If you take Sketchup out of a blog about Sketchup what do you have...banjo music? If you actually read the magazine you will see many articles on Sketchup in this magazine and many others.
Computers are becoming mainstream these days and squirrel hunting is on the decline.

Have a Fine day!
Posted: 10:18 am on April 28th

robbo41 robbo41 writes: Welcome to Fine Sketchup.

I click to what could be a really interesting article on making and fitting a rule joint - and I get a guy drawing lines on a computer. Drop this obsession with Sketchup out of your blog. If it ever becomes a feature in your magazine, I will drop my subscription. This is crap.
Posted: 5:52 am on April 28th

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