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Dave S

Best way to attach legs

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Y’all helped me with a finishing question a while back for dresser drawers (“Dresser glides, to finish or not?”; many thanks), and that project is still ongoing.  Yea being retired I have the luxury of working very slowly which is good because my experience is limited. The dresser I’m building my daughter is three components; two chest of drawers and a center shelving component.

The shelf component is small and so I wanted independent legs rather than a leg structure like I built for the chest of drawers. Because I used a box joint-like joinery for the sides, bottom and top on all 3 pieces (pic attached) I have a hardwood bottom. One way to attach them would be to simply screw through the bottom into the legs (pic of leg attached). However, that would leave a screw hole in an exposed shelf which requires me to insert a plug to cover it. Now that’s fine, if that’s the best way to do this.

SO, I was hoping to get the advice from you more seasoned woodworkers. What’s the best way to attach an independent leg when you have a solid wood bottom?

Quick details. The bottom of the shelves is 7/8 of an inch thick. The leg shown in the pic is about 2 ¾ inches across the top, 2 inches on the bottom and is about 1 5/8 inches wide. The direction of attachment is important to match the direction of the legs on the dresser which are rotated to face each other from corner to corner (left front-right back) and held at that angle with stretchers and a lap joint connecting the two stretchers.  

Sorry to be so long-winded, but I’ve kept up with the posts and see that y'all usually have a bunch of questions in order to get people the best advice. Thanks guys.

bottom side joinery.jpg

leg.jpg

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As a general statement, I agree with @Tpt life, but It's not clear from the pics & description just what you're dealing with. Maybe my brain hasn't kicked in yet today.

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I just bought my Jack Daniels for the week and I haven't opened it yet. But it sounds to me like you do need an apron to control the leg movement.  I'll be more certain when I get that bottle opened and a little emptier.

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Dave, could you back off from the first pic a little to give us a better idea of what’s going on and where the legs will be attached? 

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Yes an apron. In addition you need four more pieces just like the leg piece you have. And a mitre on the length of the outside so the eight pieces make 4 corners, attached to the apron.

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39 minutes ago, curlyoak said:

Yes an apron. In addition you need four more pieces just like the leg piece you have. And a mitre on the length of the outside so the eight pieces make 4 corners, attached to the apron.

I think what the OP has in mind is something like this, where the legs are on an angle, and there's a pair of stretchers connecting legs diagonally across the bottom from each other, with a lap joint where the stretchers cross.

I'd assume this will provide some measure of racking resistance, but I don't know how much - and I assume it would be a function of the dimensions of the unit and the dimensions of the stretchers.

1326048017_Leglayout.thumb.jpg.1c645a678e273566a45d5cd78bb11772.jpg

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I was trying to avoid an apron because the cabinet is so narrow, and it's not the look I was after. A few pieces of mid-century modern furniture just have independent legs and my daughter like that. But if that's the soundest way okay.Here's a pic.

Cab.jpg

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3 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

I think what the OP has in mind is something like this, where the legs are on an angle, and there's a pair of stretchers connecting legs diagonally across the bottom from each other, with a lap joint where the stretchers cross.

This is what I did with the dressers. Just like that. However, when I did a bit of a mockup it looked too bulky and cluttered when all three pieces look that way.

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This picture helps a lot.  You mentioned the bottom is 7/8" thick, I would think a threaded insert in each corner 1/2-5/8" deep, would be fine.  This would allow you to not see the fastener.  Drill a hole in the top of each leg, epoxy in threaded rod and then thread into the inserts.

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40 minutes ago, Woodenskye said:

This picture helps a lot.  You mentioned the bottom is 7/8" thick, I would think a threaded insert in each corner 1/2-5/8" deep, would be fine.  This would allow you to not see the fastener.  Drill a hole in the top of each leg, epoxy in threaded rod and then thread into the inserts.

Kreg screws might work from the legs up into the bottom shelf, along with epoxy.  But legs standing alone without side to side support are one day going to create problems.

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2 hours ago, Dave S said:

I was trying to avoid an apron because the cabinet is so narrow, and it's not the look I was after. A few pieces of mid-century modern furniture just have independent legs and my daughter like that. But if that's the soundest way okay.Here's a pic.

Cab.jpg

Sometimes a "Look" isn't the solution that makes the project function. Occasionally you have to toss the look aside, for a more pragmatic result. Keep checking in here, there really are other solutions, and they will solve your problem.  Eventually!

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The splay and shortness of the legs removes my racking concern. I think that’s obvious, but in case it wasn’t. 

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The above mentioned fastening solutions should work, but my personal experience with single-screw attachment of such legs hasn't been good. I would probably resort to some sort of (really short) mortise and tenon, maybe with a screw for added support. That's just me.

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1 hour ago, wtnhighlander said:

The above mentioned fastening solutions should work, but my personal experience with single-screw attachment of such legs hasn't been good. I would probably resort to some sort of (really short) mortise and tenon, maybe with a screw for added support. That's just me.

I agree on more than just a single screw.  Maybe a couple of short dowels, or a dowel and a screw for each leg?

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If you having a way of making mortise and loose tenons I would go with that. As narrow as your legs are you wouldn't need to worry about movement and a ⅞" bottom should be more than adequate mortise depth for the application.

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Thanks for the added pic as I was envisioning something totally different. If I read it right, if the legs are 1 5/8”, although they don’t look that thick, then imo, a floating mortise would be they way to go. I think the threaded rod is a good idea as well. 

Sorry Mick, we were thinking alike, you just type faster than me. :D

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Been investigating this for a while and have seen many threaded insert/hanger bolt-like arrangements. So thanks for confirming this was a reasonable idea. The floating mortise and tenon seems the most stable way to do this when I envision the shelving cabinet being pushed across the floor during a move, a concern that had not occurred to me until I read your responses. Now I just have to work up a jig to get the router to place the bottom shelf mortise at the angle of attachment I am after. The legs I can do at the router table. Wish I had a domino.

Anyhow, thanks so very much to you all. What a resource this group is!

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Is your carcass glued up? If not you could possibly do it with a dowel, 1/2” size. Drill your hole through the bottom shelf into the leg, doing your best to drill at the angle the leg sits. You’ll need to do this with the bottom sitting on the legs with the legs in the correct position, drill through shelf and into the leg. 
To help with stability, clamp the bottom shelf to your workbench with the legs in position between the shelf and the workbench, the clamping pressure should be enough to stabilize the legs for the drilling procedure. It might be a little hairy but it should work.

Yes, a domino could be used here too, but if you don’t have one it doesn’t help. 
 

I would also consider in addition to the dowel a brace glued in place under the cabinet and on the part of the leg the is not visible. 

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13 hours ago, Dave S said:

Now I just have to work up a jig to get the router to place the bottom shelf mortise at the angle of attachment I am after.

They wouldn't need to be at an angle unless I'm missing something. The tenons would be at 90 degrees to the bottom of the shelf and to tops of the legs.

 

352327778_ScreenShot2020-05-29at4_45_58PM.jpg.aaa7350d12e391383d0c15861cb6b01d.jpg

Edit: Just realized that you meant relative to the edges.

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