Joining the Legs and Rails

Simple Way to Connect Legs, Rails and Table Top

table_cornerTo speed construction (remember, I had a plane to catch), I used metal corner brackets to join the legs and rails, and metal Z clips to secure the top to the rails in a way that would allow the top to expand and contract seasonally with changes in humidity. This is not the traditional way to make a table with mortise and tenon joints, but it does work well and remains hidden from view in the finished project. The shelf will eventually be supported on brass shelf pins (two per corner, as you’ll see later), threaded into inserts set into the legs. For now just leave the shelf aside. Later I’ll show you a trick for installing it.

Begin by cutting saw grooves across the ends of all rails and the top edges of the rails. The plans show where the saw grooves need to go, but without measured locations. That’s intentional. Groove locations in relation to the ends of the rails are critical, so make sure you follow the dimensions required by your hardware.

Predrill and install the threaded metal studs that work with the corner brackets into the inside corners of the legs, then bring together the legs and rails into a freestanding assembly. There’s one stud per corner. You’ll find it easiest to drill and install these studs if you create a flat spot on the inside corner of the legs. Watch the video up next to learn more about how corner hardware and Z clips work.

Before going on to the next phase you should have:

  • Legs and rails joined into a complete table support structure.
  • Table top anchored in place and held to aprons with Z clips.