Measue twice, Cut once.... Prevent mistakes like this one

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Forum topic by Ben Kahmann posted 07-09-2009 01:09 AM 1336 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ben Kahmann

231 posts in 3834 days

07-09-2009 01:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: joining tip question

Well summer is my busiest time of year and I never get more than one or two projects done if I’m lucky. (I can’t wait for retirement so I can have more time :-) Anyhow, for the past couple of months I have been in the shop trying to get this table done for my Grandparents and I got a little sloppy. I joined the apron to the legs with sliding dovetails. I usually use M & T, but I have never tried this method before so I thought I’d give it a shot. My mistake was the depth of the dovetail groove in the legs. I used my router table, fence, and stopblocks, but still one came out 3/16”th longer than the others. I never ran into this problem before and racked my brain trying to think of a solution to salvage the table. So what I came up with was to take my handsaw and cut of a bit off the dovetail pins on the aprons to level it out and glue a 1/4” strip of ambrosia maple scrap on the top of the apron. It ads a decorative touch and hide the problem. The small gaps on top of the legs will be hidden and the top will be attached with figure 8’s. Does anybody else have a clever fix to a problem like this? I am not planning on making this mistake again, but you never know. It should have never happened, but when I have time to get in the shop I get a bit excited and I guess my stopblock slipped a little bit and I didn’t notice. Take a look…....

Sorry the photo is so EXTREME, I haveing problems with my camera. The maple is flush and level with the legs. Any other ideas on how to remedy this. I would love any ideas. Thanks

-- Ben Kahmann Dayton, OH

7 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117786 posts in 4139 days

#1 posted 07-09-2009 01:28 AM

Hey Ben
If I understand your problem you ran the dove tail to far down the leg on one side? by adding contrasting wood to the top of the aprons it will looks like a intentional design element. exactly what I would have done it except I might have used ebony or a much darker strip , just a personal choice

View DrDirt's profile


4600 posts in 4305 days

#2 posted 07-09-2009 01:32 AM

based on the photo, I would cut the top 1/4 inch off the top of the legs rather than add an accent strip

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Karson's profile


35209 posts in 4963 days

#3 posted 07-09-2009 02:36 AM

I was also thinking about shortening the legs by 1/4”

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View woodworm's profile


14476 posts in 4153 days

#4 posted 07-09-2009 02:57 AM

Once you put the top, they would be invisible.
I f you shorten the leg to make the joint flush, you may have problem with your appron.
a1Jim has better answer for that.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2824 posts in 4152 days

#5 posted 07-09-2009 03:03 AM

I would have cut the 1/4” off the top of the legs, flushed the aprons up nice and tidy, then added a contrasting wood to the bottom of the leg to regain my height. At that point you could take off more on the bottom and add as big a piece as you like. You won’t really see this fix if your top has an overhang, so if I was going to fix it this way I would have just used the same material, ran it all the way through the full length of the apron and then cut the dovetail on the add on as well. Basically, make the apron 1/4” wider. You wouldn’t see the glue joint unless you were looking for it.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

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Ben Kahmann

231 posts in 3834 days

#6 posted 07-09-2009 03:15 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone. I thought about taking a bit off the legs and the appron was a concern for me as well. I think I made the right choice and it better be because it is already glued up and sanded. I was looking for some other fixes and got a good one confirmed by two of you, thanks again. a1Jim…...I thought about using a darker strip, but I had a long piece of scrap ambrosia maple already milled almost to spec and my top I am working on is curly maple veneer and walnut. And to be honest I didn’t have a long piece of anything darker than the walnut I used for the base. We’ll see how it turns out in the end. I hope to have it completed and posted for criitique within the month.


-- Ben Kahmann Dayton, OH

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3849 days

#7 posted 07-10-2009 12:25 AM

Mistake?——-I don’t see any mistake. Only modified design.


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