Joining Legs to Aprons
The size and location of mortise-and-tenon joints affect their strength
Synopsis: The life of a table is not easy. All the stress concentrates on the leg-to-apron joint, which holds a table together. Here, Garrett Hack offers step-by-step directions on how to make a well-designed, tight-fitting mortise-and-tenon joint that locks the apron to the leg for a long-lasting, stable piece. His techniques employ a mix of hand and power tools.
The life of a table is often not easy. Legs get kicked; the table gets pushed and pulled across uneven floors, leaned against and sometimes even sat upon. To make matters worse, the very nature of wood adds to the stress. As the tabletop shrinks and swells with seasonal changes, the movement works against the integrity of the table’s structure. Where is all this stress felt? It’s the leg-to-apron joint that holds a table together and gives it rigidity. When that joint fails, the table falls apart.