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Thread: What joint for a small bench with angled legs?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Swarthmore, PA

    What joint for a small bench with angled legs?

    I'd like to build a small 'shoe' bench with legs angled similar to the picture. The top will be two boards angled in, so it is a little more comfortable than a flat bench, but I'm not sure how to connect the top boards to the legs. Should I use dowels, through tenons or just put in screws and plug the holes? I'll probably add a stretcher to add some strength.

    Looking at Thos. Moser's site, he simulates angled through tenons:
    but how do they make it strong enough?

  2. #2
    You're not going to get a very strong glue joint with a single through tenons on this. The top would be basically end grain to long grain on the legs.

    You could wedge the tenon to form more of a mechanical joint or split the tenon up into smaller tenons to get more long grain glue surface. You could also try a variation of a socketed sliding dovetail.

  3. #3
    You could also Miller Dowel it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Atlanta , Ga.
    I would use angled through tenons and then pin them. But.. I don't care for the design strengh of the bench as shown in the picture and would probably add a center stretcher to beef it up. It's pretty as it.. but I personally question any thought given to a fidgety, over-weight person or an aggressive child (children are always aggressive it appears) using the bench for what-ever.

    One look at it would suggest that my lovely wife would spot it in time of need to get to that top cabinet and use it for a step stool also.

    Just my thoughts... :>)


  5. #5
    You're not supposed to sit on that bench. You're supposed to mount iton top of another bench under a spot light and then admire it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Redwood City, CA
    I can't tell from looking at the Thos Moser pics, but if the legs at one end are actually tied together across that 3/4" gap, the piece gets much sturdier. Say the legs are tied together. Now combined leg is something like 3" thick, with two angled tenons on the top. Because it is 3" thick, it much better resists racking than if it were only 3/4" or so. Actually, the legs don't have to be tied together for the entire height. If they're tied together just near the bottom, that would do the trick.

    As for making the joint at the top, you could do a true through-tenon, angled. That ain't easy. Alternatively, you could use screws or Miller dowels, with the heads buried under an inlay which simulates the end of the through-tenon. Yeah, yeah, screws aren't kosher, but if Sam Maloof uses them, why not us ordinary mortals?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Redwood City, CA
    One more thought...

    A true through tenon here wouldn't be a very strong joint. What holds a mortise&tenon joint together is the glue on the tenon cheeks. In this case, that glue joint has face grain on the tenon cheeks, but end grain on the mortise walls. Glue generally doesn't bond to end-grain very well, and the joint is likely to fail.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Mazon, Il
    The strength of the Edo Side Table, comes from the "V-canted" legs... a completely different and much sturdier design than what you have proposed with two straight, angled legs. You'd have to add stretchers just under the seat for each side, for your design, or, build it like the Edo Side Table.

    Also, per the description, "The surface holes are hidden with a lateral bungs made of end-grain", indicates dowels or screws... probably dowels.

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