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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys

I am new to woodworking - this is my first project and think I may have bitten off a bit much
I’m building a solid walnut coffee table which has taught me a lot. I have completed the top, bottom frame and panel and the box legs, I now need to join it all together and am a bit lost.

Would appreciate some advice from some more seasoned woodsman!

This is the table and legs
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I have tried to put a couple option together (but unsure if these are even plausible) so very open to new ideas!

Attaching the top

Option 1 - Connect the top using z clips table top fasteners
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Two on each side of the bigger box leg
1 on each side of the smaller box leg (could potentially get two on side running against the tabletop grain)


Option 2 – Image below but fasteners are in inside of the box
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Connect top using figure 8 connection inside the boxes
Unsure if these will allow for enough movement though

Option 3 – Connect top using figure 8 connection on the outside of the box legs
This would show the figure 8 on the underside of the table top but it would allow me to connect the base internally first using z-clips (I think this is probably the easiest solution? but I don’t like the figure 8 being visible)

Option 4 – add rails
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Attach additional rails to the top of the inside of the box legs using glue (and screws?) create elongated screw holes in the rails, attach leg to top with pan head and washer.



Attach bottom
I will be attaching the bottom seconds unless I use option 3 above so will mostly likely be attaching the base to the legs rather than the legs to the base unless someone wiser than me has a great plan

Option A - screw into rails
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Similar to option 4 above, attach addition rails to the base of the legs, create elongated screw holes in base and attach base to rails with panhead and washer.


Option B - Drill directly into base of legs (only on sides that run with grain)
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Create elongated screw holes in the base to allow movement and attach base to legs end grain with panhead and washer. Could only screw into the box legs sides that run with the grain


Option C - Drill directly into the base of legs but don’t sit legs flush against panel
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If I just drilled directly from base into the legs but set the legs offset 2cm away from the panel I believe the box legs would just shift with the base panel and I don’t need to worry about separating the wood movement.

Questions

Option 1-3

  1. Do you think I will get enough strength using the z-clips or the figure 8 fasteners?
  2. I am concerned they may not give enough support for the weight of the table. Not planning on this but foe example is someone lifted up the table by its top is there chance of the z clips or figure 8 bending or snapping.
  3. Would the z-clip and figure 8 be sturdy enough to support the top (as there are only legs in two corners) and unsure if I need to worry about them handling offset of pressure for examples someone put their feet up on a corner without a box leg
Option 4, Option A


  1. Would the rails require screws/nails as well as glue to support them? Or is Glue enough? It is edge grain glued to the face of the box leg.
    1. I don’t think I can fit a drill in the space of the smaller box leg to screw.


I am thinking I would try either

TOP/ BOTTOM

Option 1/Option A

Option 4/Option A

If I need to screw the rails in, it may make both option 4 & A not possible so in the case I would use

Option 1/Option B


If you made it to the end congratulation and sorry for the long post. Open to any ideas :)

Table as current

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Any of those methods to attach top will work.

My question is whats gonna happen when 250# Uncle Buck sits on the corner? Or maybe you don’t have a 250# Uncle Bucks in Australia? :):)

But seriously, any top hanging out there in space would concern me. I think you need a leg there.
 

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In general, I agree that any of those methods would work. However, I'm unclear whether we are dealing with all solid woods or if some plywood is involved. You say that it is being made from solid walnut, but one of the illustrations indicates some plywood. If you are using plywood, some methods might not be as suitable; for instance, screwing into edges.
You are correct to be concerned about the strength of the various fasteners when either picking up the table by the top or resting something heavy (Uncle Buck) on the unsupported corners. My sense is that by using a sufficient number of fasteners, it will be OK. But, testing on a mock-up would be a good idea. Or, if you have an engineer friend, maybe he/she could do a strength analysis for you. Or, just tell Uncle Buck not to sit there. Or, just put in a slender support leg at those two corners and be done with it.
Not related to your question about fasteners, I am more concerned about the apparent cross-grain conflict at the ends of the base. If the base main panel is solid wood, not plywood, the edge banding is going cross grain and you are likely to have some expansion/contraction issues there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your responses

My question is whats gonna happen when 250# Uncle Buck sits on the corner? Or maybe you don’t have a 250# Uncle Bucks in Australia? :):)
:LOL: There's always a uncle buck somewhere

Will look at putting some support legs in the corners either way I will make sure buck give a wide berth around the table

As to fastening I thinking I will go with option 1 and Option A - attaching additional rails and screwing into the top and base. Believe screwing into the table top would give it more strength then the fasters? or is this incorrect. Thinking I could strengthen the rails by attaching a bracket between them and the inside of the legs.

Sorry for the confusion Yomanbill, it is made of solid walnut, the picture with the plywood (coloured pictures labeled B C D) are just some examples I had found of other tops being fastened.

Thanks for pointing out your additional concerns, im not 100% sure I know what grain conflict you are mean? Are you referring to the base being wrapped around by the frame? If so I have built this as a frame and panel with the panel floating, its got about 15mm either side to allow for expansion/contraction would this be ok if this was your concern?

If you are talking about something else could you potentially show me where on the picture the concern is. Thank you very much for your input

Cheers,
Tom
 

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Here's my observations:
You have a combination of a solid wood top and plywood base and support "columns".
The top will need "expansion" connections to the columns.
The perimeter frame of solid wood, around the plywood base may have some contraction/expansion issues, I donno?
I would assemble it upside down, top laying flat, then attach the columns to the underside, then finally attach the base to the columns.
Structural issues are IF Uncle Buck or other cantilevered/unsupported downward pressure is exerted, the opposite corner will tend to lift up.
Those attachment fasteners will be under considerable tension and want to get pulled out of the solid wood top.
There will be a "load limit" to that design, which may only be determined by structural "failure".
Even the most minimal size support "leg" would alleviate that issue.
:)
 

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Thanks for pointing out your additional concerns, im not 100% sure I know what grain conflict you are mean? Are you referring to the base being wrapped around by the frame? If so I have built this as a frame and panel with the panel floating, its got about 15mm either side to allow for expansion/contraction would this be ok if this was your concern?
Yes. The floating panel is the way to go. I assume you mean that you have 1.5mm of float each side (not 15mm).
 

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Another possibility, although it may take longer would be to assemble an attachment to slide inside the columns and attach them to the bottom of the desk top itself.. Getting it to fit right would be quite a chore though.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's my observations...
Thanks for your message, I plan to attaché the top by adding rails to the column drilling elongated screw holes and then screwing this to the underside of to top, thinkin this will allow for the expansion/contraction.

yea unsure about the base, it is solid walnut and I have built it as a floating panal inside the frame so i guess we wil just see over time how it holds up.

That's how I was planning on assembling it, thank you for that. I will be using the same method to attaché the bottom as I do the top.

seems like the structural design with the unsupported corners is potentially the biggest problem.
I'm hoping if a screw enough screws into the top from the rails (attached the to columns) it would give it enough strength but obviously it would have a certain capacity on the unsupported columns - would you know how i could estimate this weight? is there any programs or calculation of sorts?

I do like the two column design but may resign to adding the support legs -Hoping even just 1 additional leg might give it enough support
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes. The floating panel is the way to go. I assume you mean that you have 1.5mm of float each side (not 15mm).
Cool, haha no sorry I actually did 15mm using a dado and the placed the frame with 7mm either side for movement, I didn't know how much room to give and really didn't want the frame popping off so just went big...

Now using this shrinkuatlor I realized I may have gone a little big

429401
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Another possibility, although it may take longer would be to assemble an attachment to slide inside the columns and attach them to the bottom of the desk top itself.. Getting it to fit right would be quite a chore though.
Nice idea, but may be above my skills, did you have an examples that I could see what you mean?
 
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