Hardware or no? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 04-22-2019, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hardware or no?

I've been working on this trestle table from beefy softwood stock that someone gave to me. I need to decide whether the joinery should be sufficient, or whether some kind of hardware ought to be added. I want the look to be the same throughout, so whatever a chose--hardware, dowels, or nothing, I want to do the same throughout.

The first picture is the understructure. The foot will be attached to the leg by a mortise and tenon. I'm confident in the strength of that joint. I would only pin it with a dowel or hardware if I do that elsewhere, in order to match the other joints.

The legs are then joined to the spine with a kind of sandwich joint. Since the grains are cross, will it be sufficient to use yellow wood glue? Or ought I to pin it? If I pin it, that will strengthen the legs against oblique stresses, like if someone's leaning on the end of the table. I could pin it with two dowels, oriented one above the other. Or even three. Or I was also considering some kind of antique looking hardware; wrought iron lag bolts with square heads, or something.

Then there are the joints where the ribs cross the spine. Those are lap joints, like a Lincoln log. I notched the rib and the spine, and fit them together. I don't think they need much reinforcement, but I could put a screw straight down and nobody would ever know because it'll be under the table top.

Here's where it gets tougher. How do I attach the top? In the second picture, you can see the rough boards laying on top of the structure. (I have yet to plane them and do the glue-up). I may put breadboard ends on it, but I haven't decided. I have good diagrams of joinery for the breadboard ends.

So, I could attach the top with lag bolts down into the ribs. I'd drill a circular hole for the center ones, and then oval shaped holes for the ones out on the edges to allow for expansion and contraction. I could then either plug the holes over the lag heads, or leave the head visible. I could also do the same with carriage bolts. If I did that, I'd lean in to the visivble hardware and have the heads exposed on the surface.

But is there a way to attach the top that doesn't use any hardware at all?

(My next round of questions are going to be about finishing it. It's got lots of loose knots and checks, and the wood is soft, so I want a hard finish that's going to strengthen the surface. Some kind of epoxy, probably. But that's a topic for a different thread).
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post #2 of 3 Old 04-22-2019, 04:22 PM
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If you use a jointer and straighten the joints for the top that should be sufficient to glue up the top. It doesn't need any kind of dowels or biscuits or anything but glue.

Where the base fastens to the top is normally done by just putting screws through the four corners of the arms. Perhaps a better way would be to screw a flat board on the underside of the top and then fasten it to the table base. If you elongate the mounting holes on that board and use pan head screws and washers it should allow for wood movement. Sometimes when a table top such as that shrinks the screws hold too good and causes the top to split do to the wood movement.
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post #3 of 3 Old 04-26-2019, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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