Dovetail joint in table top?


I'm planning on building a smallish coffee table, maybe 24"x50," with a wood framed glass top. The frame will be figured QS white oak (QSWO) approx. 1" thick and about 3-3.5" wide. Normally, I would use mortise and tenon joints to form the frame but for aesthetic reasons I was thinking of forming the joints with either through or half blind dovetails so that you could see the dovetails from above. However, I worry about seasonal wood movement loosening the joints even with QSWO. Any thoughts?
foster239
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Just for fun, I made a square coffee table around 30" on a side which used ALL handcut dovetail joints. The legs were made by dovetailing 1x3 boards. The apron attached to the legs with dovetails, and the outside frame of the tabletop (it had a glass center) was done with dovetails. I had to add some hidden extra bracing so strengthen the joint between the legs and the apron, but otherwise it's been very sturdy. The joints in the frame of the tabletop look great all year long.
Unfortunately, I haven't taken any pictures specifically of the table. I do have a few pics online where you can at least see it though. If you click on the one with the cat, and select "All Sizes" above the picture, you can see a high resolution version where you can see the dovetails in the tabletop a little bit.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcaron2/tags/coffeetable
Josh
foster239 wrote:

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It's not seasonal movement I'd be worried about. If I understand you correctly on the long side of the table you'd have the grain running perpendicular to the joint. It'd be real easy to shear off the pins/tails on that side without the grain running parallel. I would suggest doing a pegged M&T. Maybe you could even inlay over the pegs with tail shaped pieces that would sort of look like dovetails.
-Leuf
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Your right, that was not a well thought out idea. I think that half blind dovetails might would work better but there would still be a good chance of sheering off either the pins or tails. Well, back to the drawing board. Your inlay idea would accomplish my "look" without the perpendicular joint problem.
Thanks
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I did one that I used inlayed dovetails to join all four corners of the apron. Then I attached the legs to an inner apron via mortise and tenon joints. The outside rim of the table hides the fact that there are two aprons and it provides a stable attachment for the legs and as an added bonus eliminates the stress that would shear your dovetails that the other posters are talking about. It's two years old and I haven't had any sign of the joints loosening due to seasonal wood movement. Hope that helps. bc
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