Joinery for thin table slats

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 08-01-2015 02:32 PM 1109 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2653 days

08-01-2015 02:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

Good morning,

I am building an outdoor dining table. It will have thin slats (less than 1.5”) and the table will look something like:

I’m not sure how to attach the narrow slats. If they were wider (and fewer!), I would probably mortise and tenon them. I was thinking of rabbeting the slats and routing a groove down the end and middle pieces. Then just sliding the slats in during glue-up and use dividers to keep them separate. If I did it this way, would I need to attach the slats with anything other than glue? The slats will be 3/4” thick.

Or is there a better way to do this?


3 replies so far

View 69BBNova's profile


341 posts in 3709 days

#1 posted 08-01-2015 02:58 PM

I can think of only one way that wouldn’t make me so nuts that it would wind up in a chipper…

I’m thinking drill and pin it from underneath with dowels…

Its a bit tedious but that’s how I think I would try/do it.

View jdh122's profile


1284 posts in 4311 days

#2 posted 08-01-2015 04:03 PM

Your suggested way to do it will work fine with only glue. I would do a tenon on each slat (ie rabbet them, as you suggest, but on both sides). Glue in the spacers too. And use Titebond III just to be sure it’s waterproof enough for outside.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View MrRon's profile


6333 posts in 4736 days

#3 posted 08-01-2015 11:54 PM

I would never build a table of slats for outdoor use. There are just too many joints that after being exposed to the weather, will do one of the following: joints will swell and crack, individual slats will warp and/or twist, or both. Sure, it’s looks great, but the weather will wreak havoc in no time. I have built tables using that kind of construction and it did not last long in an outdoor environment. Now if I were going to build a table for outdoor use, it would be made of teak which stands up well in the weather.

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