Power-tool Joinery: Attaching Solid Wood Tabletops

Methods that allow wood to move with the seasons.
By Bill Hylton
Pages: 26-28

From the December 2006 issue #159
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About a decade ago, I made a drop-leaf table for a book of projects. When it came time to mount the top, I just drilled pilot holes and drove cut nails through the top into the aprons. Are you horrified? Actually, the approach worked great. In the years since I put it together, the top has remained sound and firmly affixed to the aprons. And while I don’t hesitate to use this approach when the circumstances are right, such as on an informal kitchen table, there are many better ways to mount a tabletop to its stand.

You could attach a tabletop to its stand with blocks glued securely to both the aprons and the tabletop. This doesn’t allow the tabletop to expand and contract, of course, and the resulting stresses eventually will split or buckle the top.

And herein is the challenge: How to prevent wood’s ongoing expansion and contraction from destroying the assembly or itself. The tabletop must be held tight to the leg assembly, but in such a way as to allow the top to expand and contract.

From the December 2006 issue #159
Buy this issue now