Table Leg to Apron Joint

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Unless I'm mistaken, I think it's pretty standard practice to attach the aprons on a table to the legs with mortise and tenon joints, like so:


So the apron is going to expand and contract vertically (across its width, and across the grain), but the leg isn't going to move nearly as much in that direction because the grain in the leg is oriented vertically. So why isn't this a problem? Is it because the apron is so narrow that the movement is negligible? Or does the mortise effectively constrain the expansion of the tenon? Or something else?

-- Russ

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Though I'm no wood movement expert, I think you're correct on both counts. The mortise is strong & can withstand movement to a point & the apron is small & won't move too much.

Even if those explanations are wrong, we know from practice that it does work, so go for it.

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The amount of movement is negligible. If the skirt was wider, say like a headboard into a bed post, different joinery strategy should be used. More important in this situation is the cross grain fastening of the skirt to the top, where larger amounts of movement can be expected.

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