Better Way to Attach Tabletops
Dovetail cleat is strong and stylish
Synopsis: Andrew Hunter explains why he uses the sliding dovetail joint to secure tabletops to their bases. This construction method keeps a solid-board top flat and allows for seasonal expansion and contraction. It also looks great. A taper along the length of the joint makes it tight and solid. And because glue is not used, the table can be broken down if need be. The author gives directions for using two types of sliding dovetails — shouldered and unshouldered. Either can be incorporated into the design of the piece.
The sliding dovetail joint is not a modern invention. Examples are found in furniture dating back over 500 years, and I suspect the joint’s origins go back into ancient history. But I use this joint to secure tabletops to their bases. The dovetailed cleats keep a solid-board top flat, and they also allow for expansion and contraction. And by leaving them exposed,…