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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all,

I am embarking on my second piece of furniture, a console or "sofa" table. My wife has requested a "modern" build, which in her mind is a top that looks to be the only joinery at the top of the table legs...i.e. no aprons or upper rails.

I've been in my shop for the last two evenings staring into space trying to figure out how to approach this top construction. One thought I keep having is to use my table saw and dado blade to make square tenons at the tops of the table legs, but completing this by somehow perfectly locating four square mortises in the table top seems like a "pipedream".

Alternatively, I could just make a very shallow (3/4 to 1" thick wood) horizontal apron that doesn't garner much attention, but stabilizes the upper portion of the table and provides a platform for the top.

I envision making the top itself by framing some nice curly cherry or maple with what the rest of the table will be consructed from...soft maple stained with the very popular "espresso" (very dark brown) finish. Could I get away with a "large frame and panel" construction for the top?

I realize what I really need is a set of plans to work from, but I haven't been able to find plans for the table I envision. If anybody has a good source for table plans, I'd be ever so happy if they would share.
 

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where's my table saw?
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks, but not what I'm looking for...

I should have given more details...the base will involve four 1 7/8 square posts for legs, with a short 2-sided taper at the lower end of the legs. No metal or slabs involved. Thanks for the input, tho.
 

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a design like this?



This minimalist design has very little structure and must rely entirely on the corner construction for strength, not an easy thing to do in wood. Metal welded construction would be best in my opinion. If you are determined to use the wood, then mortise and tenons or locking sidling dovetails would be best.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
woodnthings, that is the design I was shooting for, but that joinery leaves the tops of my wood legs exposed, which I don't want,hence the problem.

firemedic, you are exactly right, I was trying to avoid aprons (by decree of my wife), but i think I have come up with a compromise:

If I turn a 7/8-1" thick board 90 degrees--a "horizontal apron" or upper rail--that will keep the overall depth of the top where I want it, and stabilize the table and give me a flat platform to mount an eye-popping top. I'll just have to be careful and run the edge of the apron flush with the front of the legs and their tops to get a "clean" look. I can get a 3/8 to 1/2" tenon out of that...should be ample strength for this largely decorative table. Feeling good now, thanks.
 

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Locating mortises isn't that hard. Here's how I'd do it: (NOTE: I'm an amateur. I don't really know what I'm doing.)

1) Cut tenons on the top of the legs, to something like 3/4 the depth of the table.

2) Build a jig to locate the mortises. I'd use a piece of masonite with some 1x2 tacked on as a fence, but I've got a lot of scrap masonite and 1x2 right now.

3) If I liked routers, I'd use a plunge router with a pattern bit to make the mortises, then square the corners with a chisel. Since I hate routers, I'd just use a chisel. I'd probably also make the mortises somewhat wider at the top (meaning, they get larger as they go into the board), and try a fox wedged tenon. That's mainly because I've been looking for an excuse to try one, though.

The legs might be a little weak laterally, but most tables don't have a lot of stress that way, so I would figure it would hold until I was a better woodworker and could make a stronger one.
 

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How about putting the rail inboard of the legs. It will give you the leg support, stabilize the top and the setback should hide it better.
 
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