Strong Joints for Thin Legs
I’m planning to make a table with legs that are 1-1/4 in. square at the top, and aprons that are 4 in. tall. I’d like to use mortise-and-tenon joints for the leg-to-apron joinery; how can I make the mortises large enough to be strong but not weaken the legs?
David Dominick, Austin, TX
Cutting a single 4-in. mortise at the top of the leg would definitely weaken it. One alternative is to cut a 1/2-in. shoulder at the top of the apron so that the mortise on the leg begins 1/2 in. down. The tenon should end flush with the bottom of the apron. But the walls of one long mortise will have a tendency to spread over time. A better solution is to cut two mortises. Keep the 1/2-in. shoulder at the top, and leave the bottom flush. Make sure the tenons fit well and that…