How to make a knuckle joint
Steve Latta demonstrates how to create a knuckle joint, the heart of a period drop leaf table.
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Sticking with precedent, I use a five-knuckle layout, the triple knuckle fixed to the inner apron and the double knuckle cut on the swing arm. I mill the stock at least a few inches longer than necessary to provide options should life happen when I’m not paying attention. Each knuckle joint starts with two blanks, 3⁄4 in. thick by 45⁄8 in. wide by 14 in. long. Ideally, I’ll cut each pair from a longer board for continuity. But this is not the place to use pretty stock. Function takes precedence and nice, straight grain is the ticket.
Set up a router table with a 3⁄8-in. roundover bit and, for safety, accuracy, and to minimize tearout, use a fence and a push block. I rout the profile on both ends of each workpiece, using a four-to-get-two approach: I’ll cut knuckles on all four ends and pick the best two when they are…