HowTo Cut the Leg Joinery

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For me, the real challenge to the leg joinery was doing things in the right order and with the right technique.

I started the job at the drill press, as shown in Fig. 1. The completed mortise will be slightly less than 3/4" wide, so I installed a %"-dia. Forstner bit to drill out the waste. A fence clamped to the table will take any guesswork out of centering the holes in the mortises. The tenons on the rails will be IV2" long, so you'll want to go just a little deeper with the mortises (l/\6 should do it).

When the work at the drill press was done, I took the legs to the workbench to clean up the mortises (Fig. 2). The key thing to remember here is that you want to match the width of the mortises to the thickness of the plywood for the panels. A scrap of the plywood makes a perfect test tenon to check the fit.

When you set down your chisels, the final task is to connect the middle and upper mortises with a panel groove. And since the groove ends in the middle mortise, I decided the router table was the best place to do the work (Fig. 3).

The mortises in the legs make routing the grooves easier by giving you a starting and stopping point for a V2"-dia. straight bit. To keep the groove centered, make a pass and then flip the leg end for end for a second pass. Again, I used a scrap of my plywood to check for a snug fit.

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