Pseudo Sliding Dovetails

I’m attaching the leg assemblies of my trestle table to the top. It could be screwed directly, but the design I am following (Tony Konovaloff’s from Fine Woodworking 106, 1994) uses a dovetail assembly so that the legs can be removed by simply loosening screws in the battens. This has the advantage that screws don’t need to be completely removed so they are less likely to get stripped and won’t go missing.

A sliding dovetail is usually a two piece affair: a log tail sliding between two pins in the form of a corresponding long slot. In this case the pins are the battens that are placed next to the tails, so the fit is perfect first time.

Sliding dovetails are something I would normally attack by hand, but I thought I would put my router to use on the job. Though it is an expensive piece of equipment and I’ve had for ages – it has hardly ever used! I bought it for my very first woodworking project, then discovered hand tools and it has sat in the cupboard since.

So I made up a ‘minimalist router table’ (see this article by Doug Stowe) from shop scraps and pushed my components over a dovetail bit. The dovetail in the leg is slightly wider than the thickness of the battens to be screwed to the top. This ensures the leg will be clamped to the top effectively. While the router was set up, I also quickly rounded over the non-dovetailed side of the battens.

Note that all the holes, other than the ones located at the center of the battens, have been elongated to accommodate the seasonal expansion and contraction of the table top.


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