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Joining Leg to Foot for Trestle-Style Table

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Forum topic by weekendwood posted 05-09-2021 08:35 PM 453 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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weekendwood

2 posts in 42 days


05-09-2021 08:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question mortise tenon

I’m building an outdoor dining table for our screened-in porch. I’ve modified a design I found that my wife liked which incorporates a trestle-style base with two two-post pedestals attached by two runners. I’ve attached a model of one pedestal. The posts are 4×4” dimensional cedar, attached to top and bottom feet made of 2×6” dimensional cedar, one mitered board glued to another. The original plans called for pocket screws to attach the posts to the 2×6” feet, but I wanted to avoid visible pocket holes if possible.

My first thought was to mortise the mitered 2×6 before gluing it to its base and then glue and insert the whole 4×4” end into the mortise. No tenon needed. Not sure if this is going to be strong enough or if the lack of a tenon shoulder will make it rack. I could create a tenon from the 4×4 post, but I only have about 1 1/2” in the 2×6 for a length which is not a lot of length for a tenon from a 4×4” leg.

Am I overcomplicating this? Will inserting the full 4×4” post into the mortise with glue as initially described be sufficient? Appreciate any thoughts!


8 replies so far

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1thumb

442 posts in 3276 days


#1 posted 05-09-2021 08:40 PM

screw or lag from bottom into leg either before or after you join 2×6’s together

-- I actually have two thumbs

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therealSteveN

8009 posts in 1693 days


#2 posted 05-09-2021 09:19 PM

Mortise and Tenon joinery would be the classical joint used here. Old school is chopping them out. Newfangled is building them in by building the base which is wider anyhow around the upright and smaller leg. Built tight neither has a distinct advantage for strength. Push comes to shove the glue in the joint is going to be stronger than the wood.

Really newfangled guy with a Domino XL is just gonna shoot some loose tenons in set tight, and glue it, clamp till set, and be done.

Tightbond III is your friend here.

Build the legs as a unit on each side, then screw the top on with slightly elongated holes into stringers across the bottom side of the top. Think picnic table, just with better lines.

I would use some long screws rated for outdoor use. I like GRK Headlock. I’d go through both of the larger parts of the foot, and top plate, then place on the pad portion over the screw heads on the feet. Pilot hole just undersized in all but the leg portion. You’ll want to shop around for the screws, they also sell boxes of 50, which make per screw cost a LOT lower. Handy to have around if you have a home, and like being out in the yard.

-- Think safe, be safe

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AlaskaGuy

6633 posts in 3428 days


#3 posted 05-10-2021 02:26 AM

Traditional Mortise and tenon if you ask me. I’d want a shoulder on the uprights/leg.

https://youtu.be/uPgoDxKsGYU

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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AlaskaGuy

6633 posts in 3428 days


#4 posted 05-10-2021 02:54 AM

For the OP

I found another video that is more close to you design.

https://youtu.be/vseqA6lbd9U?t=529

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Pat3

162 posts in 2998 days


#5 posted 05-10-2021 04:20 AM

You could wedge tenon and draw bore the tenon into the mitered board.
I did that on a trestle table I built, it is rock solid joinery.

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SMP

4156 posts in 1025 days


#6 posted 05-10-2021 04:32 AM

I am also a fan of the Headlock screws for outdoor stuff like pergolas , arbors. and fences etc. Which is kind of what you are building, just in the shape of a table.

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weekendwood

2 posts in 42 days


#7 posted 05-10-2021 10:18 AM

Thanks for all of the replies. I thought about screwing/lag bolt into the bottom, but was hesitant about the strength of screws directly into end grain. Will be using TiteBond III for the joints for best water resistance, even though it’ll be on a covered porch.

AlaskaGuy, that video was just about what I was looking for—thanks! I think I’ll end up doing that, guess I just wanted some confirmation that the shouldered tenon would be worth the effort. Pretty new here, lots to learn.

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Bstrom

360 posts in 293 days


#8 posted 05-11-2021 12:21 AM



Thanks for all of the replies. I thought about screwing/lag bolt into the bottom, but was hesitant about the strength of screws directly into end grain. Will be using TiteBond III for the joints for best water resistance, even though it ll be on a covered porch.

AlaskaGuy, that video was just about what I was looking for—thanks! I think I ll end up doing that, guess I just wanted some confirmation that the shouldered tenon would be worth the effort. Pretty new here, lots to learn.

- weekendwood


A mortise-only approach into the 2×6 would have to be accurate to avoid gaps – mortise and tenon avoid that issue. A through nut/bolt fastener into the sidewall and a wood plug would be attractive, simple and solid. You’ll still want some sort of stretcher between the leg assemblies to avoid racking, I’m guessing. Trestle tables are my favorite.

-- Bstrom

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