How would you make this table?

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    Charles Cleland

    Hello all, I have a technique question.  I’ve been wanting to build a coffee table based loosely on the design found here

    I plan to change the construction a bit to make it more traditionally crafted more than the pocket screw based construction the original designer used, essentially using a solid glued top and mortise and tenon joinery for the legs and apron, but I have two questions:

    1.) What is the best way to fit the “x” on the ends? I’m thinking a lap joint in the middle for continuity/strength, but how to attach it to the legs and apron?

    2.) Is there a better way to do the shelf underneath, perhaps a rabbet for it to sit in rather than the notches shown?

    All input appreciated.  Thanks,


    PS: For those that might have noticed, I began posting on this forum under “Charles Cleland” (My legal name, for billing purposes) but realized I could change it to Andy (what I go by in everyday life) when I went to add my location. So as far as I know there is only one member of the Cleland clan here 🙂

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:


    Hey Andy. I suspect Paul have some suggestions about this.  Based on the stuff I’ve learned through his videos, the lower shelf should probably be dadoed into the legs. This is Paul’s method when doing shelves for a bookcase as you need the vertical support. I can’t really address the “X” frame except to guess that Paul might say to half lap the joint at the crossing, and use mortise/tenons on the ends. We’ll see if I’m catching on to his methods when he replies. Best.

    Paul Sellers

    Sorry guys, just about to board the plane for US. Will look at everything later. Interested to hear what others think on this too.
    Will be back when in New York school.


    Hi Andy,

    I would do as you suggest and use a half lap for the middle of the X. for attaching the X to the legs you could use blind mortice and tenons or even barefaced tenons. making the shelf  using tongue and groove boards fixed with nails in a rebate would work.



    Hello Andy,

    Maybe my personal preference, but i would make the legs square.

    In my opinion this makes the table more stable and there is more wood left in the legs after you cut the mortices.

    I would also place the X in the center of those legs.

    Lopik - Netherlands

    Steve Follis

    That is a nice looking table Andy.  I think there is a lot you can do with that design.  I would go with Mortise & Tenon, and Half Lap on the X.  It would be a fun project using hand tools.  Good Luck!

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Charles Cleland

    I think everyone is on the same page, I forgot to mention I intended to make the legs nearly square just as juryaan suggests.  Anyone have any thoughts/resources on the best way to attach the “X”?  I think a mortise and tenon as has been suggested will be the best, but the angles are certainly going to complicate things.  Luckily it’s more decorative than structural, which might simplify things.

    I’ll be starting on this fairly soon, I’ve been building a workbench over the last couple of days as my current one (a newfangled workbench, from Fine Woodworking Magazine) is too flimsy for much planing and the vise isn’t up to par as far as I’m concerned.  One top slab done, the other with glue drying tonight, and leg frame assemblies on the block for tomorrow! Unfortunately the bench will probably be done a few days before the vise arrives from Lee Valley.

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:


    Hey Andy. I’m working on a small catapult for a little buddy and had to do something similar. What I’d recommend is getting everything but the crosses done, dry clamp it up for fit. Cut the half laps leaving some extra length on the tenon ends. Then clamp the cross to the outside of the legs, mark the shoulders of the tenons from the legs. Also scribe lines on the legs where the cross lays over it. Then unclamp, cut the tenons. Reclamp it to your legs using the lines you scribed. Then mark the actual mortise lines from the existing tenons. Cut the mortise, pray, pray some more, then try the fit.

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