Problems With Table Apron Corner Braces... - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Problems With Table Apron Corner Braces...

Hello,

I'm working on an oak dining table (see below for some specs), and I was planning on using metal corner braces and bolts to draw the legs up against the apron. I was not planning on using any mortise and tenon joint, just the brace and bolts; like this, but with two bolt holes: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=782
However, I'm having some issues.

1. First of all... can I get some tips on drilling the holes accurately? This probably seems stupidly simple to some, but drilling into the corner of the leg and getting the bolts to line up perfectly on all axes is proving difficult, even with a drill press. Should I turn the presses table 45 degrees, or mount some angled pieces of wood on the table so the leg sits at 45 degrees? I just have a plain, flat table... should I have some sort of guide or something?

As-is, the bolts end up slightly off from the centerline of the leg, and slightly off paralell from each other, which ends up throwing the whole bolt/brace connection way out of wack. Not acceptable.

2. Should I (or, do I have to) do a mortise and tenon joint here? Would it easy my frustration with the bolt/brace connection somehow? Just realized though that I've already cut the aprons... which might make that difficult :(

3. I'm at the point where I'm ready to give up on the corner brace and just try pocket screws! E.g., putting two or three pocket screws from each piece of the apron into each leg. I know this might make traditionalists cringe, but I've been amazed at the strength of pocket screws... add in some glue... seems like it might be pretty darn solid?

Specs: top of table is all 6/4 oak, edge glued, about 72"x42". The apron will be 6/4 oak also, and about 3.5 inches wide all the way around. The legs are solid 3.75"x3.75" glued-up 6/4 oak.

Thanks!

Last edited by mofo83; 02-26-2013 at 01:24 AM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 01:14 AM
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All I will tell you is that I have had to repair a number of tables which were put together that way. I don't recommend it.
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 09:41 AM
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"2. Should I (or, do I have to) do a mortise and tenon joint here? "
******************************************
I agree with you, the drilling schedule, without priors, could be problematic.
A 1/2 day's homework into drilling samples, however, & I think you would have it.
Drilling cold? Probably adversity.
Have studied the shallow mortice & tenon issue with cross dowels and bolts as the viable alternative.
This kind of connection will last as long as the wood. Moreover, you can knock it down and it requires no maintenance. If ever the structure needs refinishing, it will be easy to put it back together. The tenon shoulders are always pulled tight against the leg.
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 11:39 AM
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[Have studied the shallow mortice & tenon issue with cross dowels and bolts as the viable alternative.
This kind of connection will last as long as the wood. Moreover, you can knock it down and it requires no maintenance. If ever the structure needs refinishing, it will be easy to put it back together. The tenon shoulders are always pulled tight against the leg.[/QUOTE]

My experience in repairing these leads me to disagree with you. The torque put on the screws as the table gets leaned against, pushed or pulled around, etc. over the years seems to cause the screws to loosen in the wood a little bit. Then the torque causes that looseness to increase and it's a domino effect until you have loose joints and a wobbly table. I've had to repair at least 6 of these over the last 10 years. I would say that this type of joint MAY work better on a short coffee table due to shorter legs and thus, less torque, but on a full height table, there are enough that fail that I would not use this method.

I have a mahogany veneered dining table that I literally pulled out of a dumpster. The only thing wrong with it was that it had been put together with these type of joints and they had failed. I fixed it and it's now my kitchen table.
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmwood_1 View Post
All I will tell you is that I have had to repair a number of tables which were put together that way. I don't recommend it.
Which way are you referring to as bad, mmwood - the pocket hole method, or the corner braces/bolts method (or both?)

Also, an update - I think I've figured out how to drill the holes with a little homemade jig. I will report back once I get a chance to try it out.

And, I was thinking... if I get the holes drilled properly, why couldn't I use both the corner braces/bolts AND a few pocket screws for some added strength?

Thanks
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 03:18 PM
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"My experience in repairing these leads me to disagree with you. The torque put on the........"
**************************************************
Reminds me of Amazon appraisals.
Lots of comments, some arbitrary, some completely opposed.
I am an advocate. Have seen and stressed many a work bench with cross dowels and bolts.
Big 2-400 pound maple class-room hogs bolted together, no glue.
My benches are older than 30 years, never need tightening and they're drug all over the shop.
All of the beds I've made use X-dowels. Most production made beds use them. I have a granite surface plate stand that's more than 250 pounds, all x-doweled together.
Steel cross dowels and cap screws may loosen but I've never seen one fail.

Last edited by Quillman; 02-26-2013 at 06:40 PM.
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 05:30 PM
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As I said, it's based on my experience, Quillman. Obviously, yours is different. But that's why we have a forum, isn't it?

And mofo83, I was referring to the metal crossbrace with screws. I never said it was bad, just that I have had to repair a number of them which had worked loose, and I wouldn't use that method myself. Every method has its pros and cons, we're presenting them to you based on our own experiences. The choice is yours to make.
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, gotcha mmwood.

Yeah, I think the metal crossbraces may be the best option for me still, at this point, given the time I have to devote to the project and my skill level. Plus, I already cut the apron and don't have enough wood to redo them all, so the "right" way (mortise/tenons) may be out, for now.

If they fail over the long-haul, I can always repair/replace/modify.

By then, hopefully I'll have more woodworking skills under my belt!

Thanks. I'll update once I create and test the homemade drilling jig.
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 06:23 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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here's great way to make table leg braces

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/r...d-table-16604/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Ah, thanks for this, I think you had showed me this once before, too, a loooong time ago, when I first started asking questions. I like it.

But, to make those braces, would you need a band saw?

Thanks
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 06:48 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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maybe

I took on the challenge and made 2 of them on the table saw.
Had some scary moments but nothing bad happened because of my skill and experience.... and Oh yeah, proper/safe set up.

These metal ones require a saw kerf to keep them located, a good idea!
http://www.ebay.com/itm/HEAVY-DUTY-M...item4d09124eee

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-26-2013 at 06:51 PM.
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post #12 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post

These metal ones require a saw kerf to keep them located, a good idea!
Yeah, those are exactly like what I have! But, mine have holes for 2 bolts instead of one.

We'll see how it goes... though I'm also tempted to try and cut those wood corner braces on the table saw. So... how would that work exactly? :)
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 07:20 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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sorry I forgot how

It involved some bevel cuts and supporting the work piece in a different manner than I am used to.

Send a PM to Lola Ranch and see if he remembers how he did them.

A bandsaw would definitely be safer.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-26-2013, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm... maybe a good excuse to cruise Craigslist for a band saw!

Thanks again for the help.

I'll let y'all know what I end up doing.
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post #15 of 15 Old 03-01-2013, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update... the little simple jig I made for drilling the bolt/bracket holes worked PERFECTLY. It looks like a stubby "L", where the short part of the L holds tight against the TOP of the leg, and the long part of the L has two holes pre-drilled in it. I just take my cordless drill and use the pre-drilled holes in the jig as guides.
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