How do you secure a top on a bench? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-17-2012, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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How do you secure a top on a bench?

Good Afternnon Gentleman,

I am trying to be as pure as I can and do my joinery without pocket holes, screws, etc....

This is my second attempt at a vanity bench. First one looked more like an end table So we are using it for that. I used pocket hole screws for the joinery.

This attempt I did my first M&T joints and was surprisingly quite pleased It is square/level and strong. It is made out of Red Oak.

Question? How do I attatch the top using traditional joinery? I was going to use pocket hole screws but want to hone my skills. Any ideas?

I am trying to see if I can do this without one screw.
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-17-2012, 06:53 PM
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You could use glue blocks cut out of the same material. If you look under a lot of older pieces, you'll see intermittent blocks glued to the underside of the top and the inside of the apron. This would be the best approach at this stage of your project. And only glue blocks with the grain so you don't end up with crossgrain glue blocks. If you do need to screw it together at a later date, the blocks will make that easier as well.
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-23-2012, 09:53 PM
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My vote is for glue and dowels. I'd glue the top down to the base, then once the glue is dry drill out a hole in each corner going into the legs and glue a dowel in, flush cut and sand. You could also use a darker/lighter wood for the dowels to add some contrast, or just use the same wood.

I think the more traditional joinery would have tenons coming up from the leg posts into the top, or even through the top with a wedged tenon. However it appears that you are done with the base so building the legs with tenons on top is out of the question at this point which leaves dowels.....though I am curious about other suggestions you might get on here.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-23-2012, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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I secured it with dowels. It is a vanity bench do it isn't going anywhere. The dowels only go half way through the top so they do not show. Here is the final project:
How do you secure a top on a bench?-v5.jpg
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 01:53 PM
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for the sake of creativity, i think it would be fun to keep thinking about this. I had this same predicament and i never really figure out a way.

i'm still brainstorming and i've thought of creating a joint that would be at the top of each leg. perhaps a kind of rectangle that is chiseled out of the tabletop and under beveled or routed so that a kind of dovetail coming from the leg could be put in and then slid. so a sliding dove tail that isn't through.

the assembly would be interesting and is making my brain tingle in a good way.

perhaps i could draw a picture when i'm home from work to explain it.

Last edited by johnmark; 12-26-2012 at 01:55 PM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 02:20 PM
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Click here, and go to post #9.





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post #7 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 05:52 PM
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the op asked about not using screws, cabinetman

also, isn't there a potential problem with using glue?

i understand gluing long grain together, but isn't there a problem if it's glued on the long grain on opposite ends?

ie:let's say the table top is a wide rectangle with the long grain going left to right.

if the front is glued with a few glue blocks, and the back is glued with some wood blocks, could the expansion in the summer make it break loose?

most homes don't experience this kind of humidity now a days though.

i actually have no idea, but it seems like it could break loose if put in extreme environments.

side question...

is there any difference in expansion between the rings' radius and circumference?

these are both cross grain references and not tree height.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 06:15 PM
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for future reference. how traditional is this joint? sliding dovetail is pretty common, but in this fashion? i understand the precision and difficulty in the chisel work. a router could also be used i imagine.

lay out inner boundaries and start recessing the T section and then cut the dove tail angled slots,

perhaps grain orientation would be considered , but it could freely move seasonally and would maintain a great joint.

please excuse the rushed ms paint art.


Last edited by johnmark; 12-26-2012 at 06:19 PM.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmark View Post
the op asked about not using screws, cabinetman

also, isn't there a potential problem with using glue?

i understand gluing long grain together, but isn't there a problem if it's glued on the long grain on opposite ends?

ie:let's say the table top is a wide rectangle with the long grain going left to right.

if the front is glued with a few glue blocks, and the back is glued with some wood blocks, could the expansion in the summer make it break loose?

most homes don't experience this kind of humidity now a days though.

i actually have no idea, but it seems like it could break loose if put in extreme environments.

side question...

is there any difference in expansion between the rings' radius and circumference?

these are both cross grain references and not tree height.
If I thought there was a better way to secure a top, I would have suggested it. Boards that make up a top (all running in the same direction) can be edge glued. I didn't suggest gluing them to the frame of the table. The center board of a multiple board glue up can be used to screw down the top. The top can still move to either side of that connection.






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post #10 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 11:11 PM
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You cut a 1/4-inch dado about a 1/4-inch down from the top of the aprons. You then make blocks that are 1/2-inch thick with a 1/4 X 1/2-inch rabbet along one side that keys into the dado. These blocks then screw onto the bottom of the top. This gives you a connection system that allows movement in length and width, while securing the top to the base.
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
If I thought there was a better way to secure a top, I would have suggested it. Boards that make up a top (all running in the same direction) can be edge glued. I didn't suggest gluing them to the frame of the table. The center board of a multiple board glue up can be used to screw down the top. The top can still move to either side of that connection.




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only the first sentence was to you.

the other was a general question to whoever about gluing the top.

again, a center screw requires a screw.

If you're saying he could use a wood screw tap partially into the table and tapping into a mortise and tenoned middle board with a wooden screw thread, that would be interesting. i've got a screw cutter and tap and i've been thinking about interesting applications for using them.
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigs-n-fixtures View Post
You cut a 1/4-inch dado about a 1/4-inch down from the top of the aprons. You then make blocks that are 1/2-inch thick with a 1/4 X 1/2-inch rabbet along one side that keys into the dado. These blocks then screw onto the bottom of the top. This gives you a connection system that allows movement in length and width, while securing the top to the base.
i've noticed people do not read very carefully on this board.

he had a very simple predicament.

he writes, "I am trying to see if I can do this without one screw."

and several people respond, "use screws"

seems like an odd response.

not trying to be rude, but it seems dismissive to the original poster's wants.
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 11:41 PM
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The last 5 benches that I have built include desks with 8' long tops and some 6' stuff. Bash worth carving bench and so on.

Well aware of the potential risks, I have employed GRAVITY to keep the bench tops from floating away. Until that Law is repealed (do we need a referendum or a federal task force?), nothing has moved.
Batteries not included, no moving parts and simple assembly. Low cost, too.
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-26-2012, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mengtian View Post
I secured it with dowels. It is a vanity bench do it isn't going anywhere. The dowels only go half way through the top so they do not show. Here is the final project:
Attachment 57920
Nice job ! How did you do the fluting on the legs ? Router with jig ?
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-27-2012, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by against_the_grain View Post
Nice job ! How did you do the fluting on the legs ? Router with jig ?
I just secured it to a table top and clamped a couple of stops for the router. I routed the left and right side with an ogee bit, then flipped 180 degrees and repeated.

The green clamps kept it from moving and all I had to do was remove those and put a new pieces in.

I used a brace shown in the pic to keep the router from tilting.
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post #16 of 16 Old 12-27-2012, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
Well aware of the potential risks, I have employed GRAVITY to keep the bench tops from floating away.
What's gravity?





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