Bottom shelf preparations

I don’t have a lot to show this time around, but what I do have is a pretty useful trick. The bottom shelf of my endtable presents an interesting problem, because it’s made from solid wood. I wanted the shelf to completely fill the  space between the aprons. That’s easier than it sounds when you take into account how much a panel that wide will move. A dado in the aprons got me part way, but I floundered  for a while with how to best handle the shelf/leg intersection.  I really didn’t want to chop out a square slot in all 8 legs.

I went to visit my parents last weekend, and while helping my dad install some new fence posts he explained a trick he learned a while back. It took a little while for me to grasp, as it seems counter intuitive. Basically all you need to do is make a dado across the corner of the legs, and then chamfer the corners of the shelf. Hopefully the following pictures will explain it better.


A dado cut across the leg diagonally.


The aprons dry fitted


a stand-in shelf


look mom no gaps!

Posted in: Power Tool Woodworking
Part of the Project


  • John
    August 10, 2012

    Don’t you need to make the panel (shelf) narrower than the space available between the dados in the rails (in the apron), so that as the panel expands, it doesn’t force the rails apart?

  • August 12, 2012

    You got it Right John. When I make the shelf, it will be 1/2″ narrower to allow for movement. I double checked in cad, and even with that much movement, the corner of the shelf will still be hidden in the dado.

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