Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Building the 2x Side Table: Joinery Part 3

Furniture with exposed joinery is not only an expression of craftsmanship but of honesty.   Joinery as a design element should be used with restraint.  Modern furniture has sometimes rejected the importance of joinery in search of sleek lines.  I believe there is a balance and its success is marked by using joinery for strength without overwhelming the simplicity of the piece.

Lay out the center-line of the dado for the shelf, by ganging both legs together with a clamp.

Note: I use only a centerline as this eliminates the mistake of being on the wrong side of the line.

The dado jig I am using, wonderfully explained by the Wood Whisperer:

is clamped in place with a plunge router/ bushing setup.

Putting the boards back together, to double check that the dado lines up, here is the result:

With the dado cut, we can layout the mortises for the through tenons.

Score the outline of the mortise with a marking knife, to fight chipout.

Next up, how do you cut those mortises?


  1. Cool, Nabil. I didn't realize the shelf itself would be mortised into place. That should create a great deal of strength in the piece.

  2. I agree w/ Vic. Not only that, but from that last picture, it looks like those thru tenons will add a nice visual aesthetic to the outside of the piece.

    Do you plan to stain the thru tenons a different color?

  3. Hi Dave,
    I finished the table all the same in shellac and nitro lacquer; but, since the tenons are endgrain they tend to take on a deeper color if sanded the same as the rest of the grain. In this case the contrast of the endgrain next to the face grain of the legs is welcomed.

  4. Nabil, it's looking great... I can't wait for the next installment.