Dining Table Build – Table Legs

I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about the table top of the dining table build. How I made the mortise and tenons, glued together the table top, created the breadboards, and drilled the holes for the breadboard pins. It’s probably a good time to start talking about the legs that make that table top stand. 

The design of the table calls for two slightly beefier legs to support everything. In order to get the beefier leg size, I used 4”x4” lumber that was ripped down to 3”x3” to get rid of the rounded lumber edges. After ripping the pieces and then cutting them to size, it was time to attach them together. The simplest way to do this was to use pocket hole joints on the inner three cross pieces to attach them to the outer posts. 

I’m pretty much a pro at photoshop. The red arrows show how the pocket holes (2/arrow) hold the cross pieces in place.

Pocket holes are typically only used to attach pieces that are less than 1½ “ thick. In this case, the table legs are twice as thick, so I used two pocket holes on both sides of the cross piece being attached. This means that every cross piece has 8 pocket holes attaching it to the outside pieces of the leg and will be extremely secure.

One drawback of using pocket hole joints on both sides of the cross pieces is that they leave visible holes. In order to clean up the final look I used pine dowels to fill in the holes left behind. It was a relatively simple process and cleaned up the final look of the legs nicely.

The first step was to glue the dowels into place in every visible pocket hole. Using light taps with a hammer it was easy to drive the dowels all the way into the pocket hole. 

I was concerned the gaps at the bottom of the dowels would be an issue, but they went away nicely after flush cutting.

After letting the glue dry I used a double sided flush cut saw to cut the excess dowel away. This saw is extremely flexible and can be set flat on a surface to cut another piece of wood flush to it (must be the reason for the name..). 

Some final sanding is required to finish what the flush cut blade started.

After some final sanding work, the pocket holes are now cleaned up nicely. As you can see above, they are still visible due to the slight difference between the dowel color and the leg color. In this situation I was happy to not have a perfect match in color/grain. I purposely spaced the pocket holes precisely so that the final fill of the holes looks like a nice design feature.

The finished pocket holes now look like a finished design feature rather than just a functional joint.

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