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Forum topic by DBDesigns posted 10-08-2018 02:11 PM 459 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DBDesigns

220 posts in 416 days


10-08-2018 02:11 PM

I am fishing for opinions here. I am building a solid mahogany bedside table with tapered legs, a front drawer and a shelf about 6” off the ground. I am scratching my head about whether to use m&t joinery for the connection of the body to the legs or using angled cleats with screws. The cleats and screws will be faster but I feel like the m&t will be more traditional.

I am concerned about cross grain glue joints with the m&t as well due to the extreme humidity and wood movement here in the south. All opinions are welcome on this.

As far as tools, I have a mortise chisel set-up for my drill press and a band saw for the tenons. No budget in this project for fancy new machines from overpriced “designer” tool makers. And I can improvise with hand tools if necessary.
Thanks,
Tim

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead


10 replies so far

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 909 days


#1 posted 10-08-2018 02:34 PM

Something about screws in solid mahogany just seems wrong. I’d go with M&T, and if you don’t have large tenons, there shouldn’t be much of an issue. The worst I could see is some loosening over many years, which is easy to deal with if you use hide glue. The tenon can still loosen with hide glue, but it’s an easy repair to make.

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Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#2 posted 10-08-2018 03:24 PM

It really doesn’t matter structurally how you join the apron to the legs. Whether M&T, dowels, pocket screws or brackets, the result is the same for something that’s going to remain stationary. The thing about M&T is that, while it’s a mark of fine craftsmanship, nobody ever sees it. It’s like wetting your pants in a dark suit; it might give you a warm feeling, but nobody really notices.

So, it’s really up to you. I use M&T joints. They’re strong, I can make them quickly and they are self-aligning during glue up. Also, since I sell my work, that’s what anyone who understands joinery wants to have, and they do ask.

Finally, forget the cross grain issues with M&T. For a tenon that size, it won’t work loose in your lifetime. Even with a wider apron, M&T is still appropriate, you just have to know how to deal with movement.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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DBDesigns

220 posts in 416 days


#3 posted 10-08-2018 06:30 PM

Rich,
Thanks for the info and support. The aprons will be 6” wide by 3/4” thick. I’m thinking the tenons will be 1/2” thick by 4” long. Lumbering on made a good point about old school joinery in a wood such as mahogany.
Vote tally is 2 to 0 in favor of mort and ten.

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#4 posted 10-08-2018 06:58 PM

You are fine with 4” tenons. If you really are worried about them loosening, just glue the top half (top 2”) of each. But trust me, a 4” tenon isn’t going anywhere.

One more thing, making your tenon about half the thickness of the board is pretty standard, so 3/8” would be better for the tenon thickness. If you make them 1/2”, then there’s only 1/8” left on each side of the mortises and you could get blow out when you’re dry fitting and trimming the tenons.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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BFamous

316 posts in 539 days


#5 posted 10-09-2018 12:56 AM

I’d vote M&T as well, but I typically make mine 1/3 the width of the board – the math is simpler :)

If you want to go even fancier, you could go with sliding dovetails. They’ll lock themselves in place and even shrinkage over time won’t allow them to pull out.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 909 days


#6 posted 10-09-2018 01:15 AM



I d vote M&T as well, but I typically make mine 1/3 the width of the board – the math is simpler :)

If you want to go even fancier, you could go with sliding dovetails. They ll lock themselves in place and even shrinkage over time won t allow them to pull out.

- BFamous

Stumpy would agree. :)

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CWWoodworking

528 posts in 598 days


#7 posted 10-09-2018 04:48 AM

I would pocket hole cause that’s how I roll. Stumby would beat me with a cane.

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DBDesigns

220 posts in 416 days


#8 posted 10-09-2018 12:29 PM

BFamous,
I like your idea of sliding DTs. I will have to figure out my router setup but I think I could do that without glue if they are tight enough.

I like to taper sliders so they go in easier so this may require some math.

Anybody got an opinion on a dry glueless sliding dovetail joint?

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 909 days


#9 posted 10-09-2018 12:37 PM



BFamous,
I like your idea of sliding DTs. I will have to figure out my router setup but I think I could do that without glue if they are tight enough.

I like to taper sliders so they go in easier so this may require some math.

Anybody got an opinion on a dry glueless sliding dovetail joint?

- DBDesigns

They’re a good option. Not only do they hold up well, they look impressive. Just be sure to do a few practice runs on some scrap pine – learned that the hard way.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#10 posted 10-09-2018 03:10 PM


I like your idea of sliding DTs. I will have to figure out my router setup but I think I could do that without glue if they are tight enough.

- DBDesigns

I think you’ve taken a wrong turn on your thinking, particularly the idea of not using glue.

Live and learn.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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