newbie: how to assemble table frame


So, I got the table legs cut (and rabbet joints in them). Now to attach the top frame to the legs, how do I make sure that the individual member of the frame gets attached exactly 90 deg. to the leg?
I mean.. it is hard to hold down the leg and frame and then put a screw so that they are jointed at 90 deg.... even if they are clamped down...
In general, how is the assembly done? face down? but then once you have two legs joined to one member of the frame, how do you assemble the pair.. there is no 3-way 90deg. clamp available..
it is hard to explain in words.. but if you get the gist, how do you assemble cut parts where one part is laying horizontal on the table and the other part is to be joined 90 degree vertically, to hold it, square it and then put to drive a nail or a screw..
i guess it cant be done unless there is another person helping or there is a horizontal-vertical clamp?
Thanks
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On 7 Jun 2006 11:17:05 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I don't know how you made the legs or aprons, but I generally make the apron as a full frame, and cut a stopped rabbet in the leg that the apron fits into- or use mortise and tenon joints to connect the apron directly to the frame. The other way I've seen it done is to stop the aprons to butt them against the side of the leg, and put in a 45-degree cross brace to connect the aprons. This way usually uses two bolts protruding from the leg and through the cross brace- if the leg is not plumb, you can shim one or the other of the bolts with stack of washers.
As long as everything else is square and properly milled, I've never had a problem with assembly- the design generally will pull the leg into alignment, your job is just to hold it as tightly as you can to make sure the screw pulls it into position rather than out of it. If you just need something to clamp against, you could try making a false bottom the size of the apron assembly (or a little larger, depending on the shape of the legs) to hold the legs apart, and use a band clamp to hold them in place.

Of course it can be done, I've made dozens of tables. Just pay attention while you're doing it and don't rush. If your first one doesn't work out, take a good hard look at it and try and figure out what went wrong, then make another.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (in snipped-for-privacy@y43g2000cwc.googlegroups.com) said:
| So, I got the table legs cut (and rabbet joints in them). Now to | attach the top frame to the legs, how do I make sure that the | individual member of the frame gets attached exactly 90 deg. to the | leg? | | I mean.. it is hard to hold down the leg and frame and then put a | screw so that they are jointed at 90 deg.... even if they are | clamped down... | | In general, how is the assembly done? face down? but then once you | have two legs joined to one member of the frame, how do you | assemble the pair.. there is no 3-way 90deg. clamp available.. | | it is hard to explain in words.. but if you get the gist, how do you | assemble cut parts where one part is laying horizontal on the table | and the other part is to be joined 90 degree vertically, to hold | it, square it and then put to drive a nail or a screw.. | | i guess it cant be done unless there is another person helping or | there is a horizontal-vertical clamp?
Since no one else has responded, the guy who doesn't build furniture will give you his best effort. Where I screw up, someone will probably jump in to correct me (I really do love the way usenet works :-))
I think the "frame" parts are called "aprons". The trick is to mount the aprons to the (face down) table top with a gap at each corner. On the inside of each corner you add a diagonal brace with a hole in the center. Take a moment to visualize this.
Now you can fit the leg into the corner gap and drill a pilot hole through the corner brace into the inside corner of the leg; and then pull the leg tight against the apron parts with a lag screw. Alternatively, you could install an anchor bolt in the pilot hole and draw the leg tight using a wrench to tighten a nut on the machine threads.
I like the anchor bolt (wood threads on one end and machine threads on the other) approach better because it allows for repeated assembly/disassembly without wearing out threads cut into wood. Anchor bolts are a bit more expensive but (IMO) worth the added cost.
I wouldn't use nails to assemble a table.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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@hotmail.com says...

First I make a couple of inverted Us by clamping the legs to the rails. Depends on construction - if you have a lap at the end you can use an f-clamp, if you have a traditional mortise and tenon you have to use a sash clamp, lengthwise.
You lean one U against a table, and start fitting the third rail into the second U, with the end resting in the joint of the first one. Lightly clamp both sides, then put in the 4th rail. tighten your clamps somewhat, now measure the diagonals. The diagonals have to be equal, then your table is square. You can use the same technique to check the legs, but if the joint was cut properly they should be squaring themselves. You can use a ratchet tiedown to pull the table square if one diagonal is longer, or a sash clamp - I sometimes bolt two sash clamps together if I haven't the length.
However, I do not use nails or screws - I use glue. With PVA you have about 20 minutes for this procedure between applying the glue, and fixing things square. There's nothing stopping you using screws, once you have it assembled like I described above. I don't see the point myself .....
h.t.h. -P.
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