How to Attach a Table Top?

How to Attach a Table Top?

I’m working on a small table, using mortise and tenon (first try at joinery) to attach the apron to the legs. What are my options for attaching the top to the leg/apron frame? I’ve read about Z-clips and I’ve seen Norm use small L-shaped pieces of wood that run in a grooves and screw into the top. Are there other standard methods?

Michael Dresdner: At least two others come to mind. You can drill and counterbore holes in the aprons themselves and simply screw the aprons to the top, or you can install corner blocks spanning from apron to apron diagonally across the inside of the leg. Drill a hole in the corner block and screw the top on through these. My personal favorite: Z-clips. Elegant, simple, and virtually invisible, they allow for plenty of movement and easy top removal.

Ellis Walentine: Those are the simplest options I know of. I prefer the “button blocks” like Norm uses because they’re sturdier than the metal Z-clips. In both cases, you can either rout or saw a kerf in the apron or use a biscuit joiner to cut slots only where you need them.

For a typical table, I used to make my button blocks about 3/4″ thick x 1-1/4″ wide x 2″ long, with a 1/2″ by 1/2″ rabbet at the business end. Drill and countersink or counterbore a clearance hole about 3/4″ from the shoulder for a #10 or #12 sheet metal screw. Make the groove at least 1/4″ deep and be sure it is a little further down the apron than the depth of the rabbet on the blocks; that way, the screw will pull the top down tight. On the long-grain sides of the table, allow enough room between the shoulder and the apron for the top to expand in humid weather.

Another option you could consider is “figure eight” clips, which look exactly like they sound. You screw one end of the figure eight into a shallow recess in the top edge of the apron and then screw through the other end into the bottom of the tabletop.

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