Looking for strong joint to add length to legs

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Forum topic by WhoPutDatPlanetThere posted 01-21-2020 09:19 PM 366 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View WhoPutDatPlanetThere's profile


1 post in 26 days

01-21-2020 09:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

Hi. Im new to woodworking and trying to plan my first workbench but im stuck on adding a little extra length to the legs. But im struggling to know what will be strong enough for the attachment from pine leg to hardwood joint section.

-The work surface is going to be 2×4 pine and legs are pine as well. And the bench is going to be taken apart regularly so im worried about pine joints loosening.

-What i was thinking of doing was adding about 6 inches of hardwood to the end of the leg and then cutting the joint where the legs meet the bench top out of the hardwood.

I like the idea of building without nuts and bolts so id prefer a solution using wood if possible.

7 replies so far

View bilyo's profile


987 posts in 1733 days

#1 posted 01-21-2020 11:08 PM

I would do it with nuts and bolts. But, if you are dead set against that, look up information on making pegged and wedged mortise and tenon joints.

View SMP's profile


1736 posts in 536 days

#2 posted 01-21-2020 11:16 PM

I’m confused. You are wondering how to add length to legs you haven’t built yet? Why not just make them longer to begin with?

View Axis39's profile


158 posts in 228 days

#3 posted 01-22-2020 02:32 PM

I would say pegged tenons as well might be the best shot for a knock down workbench.

I’ve been working on sketches for knock down saw horses and been planning on using wedged tenons. Of course, my saw horses won’t have to be as sturdy or stiff as a workbench. But, I would think they should still work for you.

I also would think that a pine joint alone would be sturdier than a pine to hardwood joint and the hardwood containing the joint… I would think the hardwood to pine leg joint might end up end grain to end grain and not hold up well. Just design the joint well, make sure there’s enough meat left in the pine to take the stresses.

Of course, you could do some kind of stepped or splined lap joint, maybe? But, it’s gonna start getting complicated quickly.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View Firewood's profile


1091 posts in 2265 days

#4 posted 01-22-2020 02:50 PM

I think transitioing the legs to hardwood is a bad idea. I used bench bolts to put my bench frame together. I then glued blocks to the underside of the top and pinned it to the legs with dowels. I can easily take it apart if I ever have to. It is rock solid. If you have SYP available in your area (unfortunately, I don’t), it makes a great bench material. Also, you mentioned using 2×4 material. You might want to consider looking at 2×10 stock instead and ripping your pieces from that to avoid the pith. The end result will be more IMHO.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

View Woodknack's profile


13056 posts in 3011 days

#5 posted 01-22-2020 03:18 PM

To answer the question, half laps or scarf joints, but I agree that you are needlessly complicating things. Either use a harder wood or live with the pine.

-- Rick M,

View AndyJ1s's profile


146 posts in 386 days

#6 posted 01-22-2020 06:54 PM

In soft wood, I think wedged tenons would work out better in the long run than pegged tenons. You can always fit new wedges if the wood in the joint compresses too much over time. Just leave plenty of tenon proud of the wedge’s mortise, to prevent blowing out during use.

I have a set of bunk beds my grandfather built for my father in 1939, and heavily used ever since. All soft wood. Wedged tenons are used to fasten the sides to the ends. Still tight and sturdy.


-- Andy - Arlington TX

View Popsplinter's profile


2 posts in 356 days

#7 posted 01-30-2020 02:43 PM

I built a Ron Paulk style plywood bench using only 1/2” plywood. It came out perfect. I reinforced the top with glued in hardwood strips on the underside for dog holes and added a inset router plate.

For the legs, I used SYP 2×10’s ripped down to 3” wide. Before glueing 2 halves together, creating a 3×3 leg post, I cut dadoes to accept the lower rail by employing a bridle joint. No screws. Just glue. The joint has been rock solid for 6 years now.

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