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I want to join these four 1.8 cm thick beechwood boards as one can see on the picture. My idea is to join at the B points with biscuits but I’m not sure what to do about the A points. It needs to be a very firm join so that the table is not wiggly. Besides that I’m not sure at which height (the questionmark) the middle board between the A points would provide best solidity.

Table

Update

Two boards

Photo

There it is! Thanks for your advices.

enter image description here

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that doesn't look terribly structurally sound. What's preventing the 3 large side from flexing? I'd consider adding a full front and/or back. As for joining the A's to B, you could consider kerf joints. –  DA01 Mar 17 '13 at 3:06
    
@DA01: I don’t want to have a full front or full back. Aren’t there other ways to do it? For example elbow connectors? And can you send a picture of such a kerf joint? Biscuits wouldn’t be a good choice? –  mcb Mar 17 '13 at 10:39
    
How about the updated design? –  mcb Mar 17 '13 at 11:32
    
Maybe tenon kerf joints for the two lower middle supportive boards? –  mcb Mar 17 '13 at 11:51
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2 Answers

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Biscuits for all joints will work fine. Across side panels to top. Along the two rails at the top and at sides.

Be sure to have a helper, and perhaps some extra temporary stretchers that match the rails (for the bottom). That way you can clamp and square the sides first and put the top on last.

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End grain to long grain glued joints are not very strong, and in most cases a form of reinforcement is required.

Biscuit Joints

Biscuits are more for alignment than for strengthening joints. They work well in long grain to long grain joints (e.g. joining planks to make a table top), but not so well in end grain to long grain joints (e.g. rails meeting stiles). In reality the glue is doing most of the heavy lifting, the biscuit is simply providing a convenient way to line the work pieces up.

Pocket Hole Joint

A pocket hole joint provides strength without the use of glue, though it does not provide a clean fastener-less appearance. It is a very popular joint since it's strong, versatile, and easy to create.

Dowel Joints

While dowel joints might take a bit more effort to create, they are very useful for adding strength to almost any joint.

Mortise and Tenon

A mortise and tenon joint provides a very strong joint, which is especially true for end grain to long grain joints. The design of the joint actually changes the joint from an end grain to long grain joint, to a long grain to long grain joint.


If it were my project I'd use either dowel joints, or the classic mortise and tenon. If I didn't care about having a fastener-less appearance, I might use pocket hole joints in some places to speed up the building process. My biscuit joiner, however, would never leave the shelf during this project.

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I've had good luck using pocket hole joinery on similar joints. –  vitisimus Mar 19 '13 at 13:43
    
Aren’t these boards too thin (1.8 cm) for hole joinery? –  mcb Mar 19 '13 at 22:27
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@mcb No. I use dowel joints on 1/2" (12.7 mm) stock all the time. –  Tester101 Mar 20 '13 at 10:55
    
And would they be too thin for wedges in mortise and tenon joints? –  mcb Mar 20 '13 at 11:30
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@mcb I'd probably do a glued stud mortise and tenon, not a through, wedged, mortise and tenon. Though, a through, wedged mortise and tenon on the cross braces could look really nice. Even a plain old through mortise and tenon, could look really nice. –  Tester101 Mar 20 '13 at 11:55
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