How to make a rule joint
This joint links drop leaves to the tabletop and looks good with the leaves up or down.
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To cut the rule joint on this table’s top, which is 5⁄8 in. thick, I use a 1⁄2-in. cove bit combined with a 1⁄2-in. roundover. Before diving into the real thing, mill up a couple of test pieces 5⁄8 in. thick by 6 in. wide by 15 in. long. Believe me, you will recover this investment of time when making the actual joints. Using a routertable, run the roundover on one of the boards leaving a 1⁄8-in. fillet. On the other piece, still using a router table, run the cove bit. Sneak up on the fit until there is a gap the thickness of a piece of veneer between the profiles when they are butted together.
Hardware is never the place to skimp on quality. I prefer Horton Brasses for my hinges (#510). The placement of the hinges is key. With the leaves dropped, the hinges should not be visible and…