Best way to connect 2x4's like this? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 45 Old 12-11-2011, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question Best way to connect 2x4's like this?

I'm trying to build a computer desk and have run into a bit of a problem. Well, it might be a problem, I don't really know..

I'm trying to make this cheaply and, even more importantly, easily. The potential problem I see is the corner of the desk. Here's a picture:



Hopefully you can see that those are three 2x4's coming together in a corner. The center one is vertical and is a leg, the one on the right is one the rear of the desk and the one on the left is one of the sides.

The problem is that I'm not quite sure how to strongly attach these together. Should I just use two wood screws into the ends of each of the side and back 2x4's? If that's what I should do, then will it be a problem that to attach the left 2x4 I'll have to go through the long side of the leg (4")?

Thanks for your advice!
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post #2 of 45 Old 12-11-2011, 09:01 PM
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This method should do what you want.








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post #3 of 45 Old 12-11-2011, 09:10 PM
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I kind of suspect that he wasn't thinking anything all that complex...

If you don't want to do mortise and tenon, you could through dowel the joint, leaving the dowels exposed. I use dowel joints a LOT. Strong, decorative, and easy as pie to do. Going long ways through the 2x4 let might be a bit of a challenge, but the look is well worth it. You could of course countersink some holes for some decent size wood screws and the use dowel plugs to give the same look...

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post #4 of 45 Old 12-11-2011, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman

This method should do what you want.





.


that's not cheap and easy. Not many people would try that joint. Let alone 2x4s.

When it's rustic......it's rustic
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post #5 of 45 Old 12-11-2011, 09:18 PM
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What about pocket screws?
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post #6 of 45 Old 12-11-2011, 09:20 PM
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I personally thought Half lap joints right away, myself.

C-man.... You crack me up! I just might try that joint someday.....

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post #7 of 45 Old 12-11-2011, 09:24 PM
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Nate,

I don't know how involved you want to get in this, but take a look at a Kreg pocket screw system. It could do what you want and the screws could be hidden. Here are some examples of kits: http://www.lowes.com/pd_142733-39450...reg&facetInfo= and the basic http://www.lowes.com/pd_255535-39450...reg&facetInfo=

Once you have the kit it's good for lots of other things, too.

Then again, you could do the same thing by carefully installing the screws at an angle or doweling like dbhost said. C-Man's idea is excellent joinery but it gave me a headache just looking at it.

Incidentally, here's a nice joinery guide: http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/person...ineryterms.htm

Bill
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post #8 of 45 Old 12-12-2011, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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cabinetman - LOL! There's no way I could use that method! There's a reason I'm making the entire desk out of 2x4's -- I don't know what I'm doing ;-)

dbhost - Thanks for the information on doweling. I had never heard of that before and it looks interesting. So, basically I would just drill two big holes into the ends of each 2x4 (4 holes in the leg) and connect them all with dowel rods and glue?

dodgeboy77 - Thanks for all the information. Unfortunately I can't afford to buy any expensive tools, but I found a "Kreg Mini Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Kit " at Home Depot for $20 (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053), which I can afford.

No one seemed to comment on using long wood screws to connect the 2x4's together. Is that because that's a really bad way of doing it? Which of the methods suggested would be the sturdiest?

I really appreciate all of your advice, thanks!
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post #9 of 45 Old 12-12-2011, 11:33 AM
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what do you have for tools?

Available tools always determine methods of work. A handsaw would work to make this type of joint. It would allow the use of shorter screws, long ones are fine, but the joint has a bit more resistance to racking without relying totally on the screws.
Any sort of block or corner brace will also add a lot of strength.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #10 of 45 Old 12-12-2011, 12:10 PM
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Simple and cheap? Kreg.

Otherwise?

It's hard to explain how I'd do it. On your right piece, make three tenons that look like Mickey Mouse from the end. Needs to be a sizeable gap between all tenons. On your other two pieces, do a half-lap. You'll need to make two notches on the outside corner, then a mortise for the center tenon in the mating piece. Should be a massive amount of surface area for glue.
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post #11 of 45 Old 12-12-2011, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate View Post
cabinetman - LOL! There's no way I could use that method! There's a reason I'm making the entire desk out of 2x4's -- I don't know what I'm doing ;-)

dbhost - Thanks for the information on doweling. I had never heard of that before and it looks interesting. So, basically I would just drill two big holes into the ends of each 2x4 (4 holes in the leg) and connect them all with dowel rods and glue?

dodgeboy77 - Thanks for all the information. Unfortunately I can't afford to buy any expensive tools, but I found a "Kreg Mini Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Kit " at Home Depot for $20 (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053), which I can afford.

No one seemed to comment on using long wood screws to connect the 2x4's together. Is that because that's a really bad way of doing it? Which of the methods suggested would be the sturdiest?

I really appreciate all of your advice, thanks!
Nate, you can make a workable pocket hole jig out of that $20 one at HD.

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post #12 of 45 Old 12-12-2011, 12:38 PM
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Man this getting old is... I forgot the picture of the pocket hole jig.
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post #13 of 45 Old 12-12-2011, 06:32 PM
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A combination of lap joints.
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post #14 of 45 Old 12-13-2011, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Will pocket screws be as strong as long wood screws going through the ends of the boards would be? If I use pocket screws, would I use them like this?:

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post #15 of 45 Old 12-13-2011, 11:29 AM
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^^ Yes, like that. You want to conceal the pockets. ^^
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post #16 of 45 Old 12-13-2011, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Will four pocket hole screws be enough to hold the corner of the desk together?

I've never made a desk before, so this may be a very poor design, but this is what I've come up with:







The main thing is that it needs to be really cheap to make. It's also a standing desk, in case you might not have noticed :) I would welcome constructive criticism!
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post #17 of 45 Old 12-13-2011, 12:04 PM
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Pocket screws & glue will be strong. You said you want cheap & why?

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post #18 of 45 Old 12-13-2011, 12:05 PM
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An easy joint would be to rabbet the top of the standing 2x4, 3/4" deep by 3 1/2".

Then, butt the back 2x4 to the standing 2x4 (leg). Then rabbet the side 2x4, 2" deep, by 3 1/2".

When assembling with glue (and clamps), the side 2x4 creates the front of the step for the back 2x4.
No pocket screws.
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post #19 of 45 Old 12-13-2011, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominick View Post
Pocket screws & glue will be strong. You said you want cheap & why?
I'm a student and can't afford to build an expensive desk. It needs to be cheap
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post #20 of 45 Old 12-13-2011, 12:30 PM
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The easiest way to build a desk is to build two drawer stacks, space at least 24 inches and put a top on them. You can build a pencil drawer if you want to.

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