Through leg tenons
#5
  
So my wife asked me to build a smallish sized sitting bench and I was told her sure, I'm trying to practice more hand tools now rather than power, beyond the tedious work of thickness planing. I've got everything roughed out and I was thinking of adding a little complication to my life and for some aesthetics I'd cut the top of the leg into a square through tenon and then plane it flush with the top of the bench.

Now my question is does anyone see a problem with wood movement along the top pulling apart my apron/stretcher mortises in the legs as the wood in the top moves? Also should I wedge the tenon into the top? I've seen most of this style of bench done in two pieces for the top with each piece connected to only 2 tenons, so I wasn't sure if this was to combat the wood movement busting it apart or if that was visual appeal.
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#6
  Re: Through leg tenons by UpstateNYdude (So my wife asked me ...)
I have made benches like this and did not have a problem with splits. My tops were 6/4 and 8/4, so YMMV if your top is thin. As for the through tenon, go for it. Be sure to start the tenon at the top so issues are covered up at the bottom. Use wedges that are perpendicular to the grain. Good luck.
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#7
  Re: Through leg tenons by UpstateNYdude (So my wife asked me ...)
(08-10-2017, 10:29 AM)UpstateNYdude Wrote: So my wife asked me to build a smallish sized sitting bench and I was told her sure, I'm trying to practice more hand tools now rather than power, beyond the tedious work of thickness planing. I've got everything roughed out and I was thinking of adding a little complication to my life and for some aesthetics I'd cut the top of the leg into a square through tenon and then plane it flush with the top of the bench.

Now my question is does anyone see a problem with wood movement along the top pulling apart my apron/stretcher mortises in the legs as the wood in the top moves? Also should I wedge the tenon into the top? I've seen most of this style of bench done in two pieces for the top with each piece connected to only 2 tenons, so I wasn't sure if this was to combat the wood movement busting it apart or if that was visual appeal.
The type of bench I'm envisioning has the grain orientation of the top and the sides the same way so expansion/contraction will be in sync.  

Here's a picture from the Highland Woodworking web site to illustrate the style I thought of based on your post. 

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. -- G. Carlin
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#8
  Re: Through leg tenons by UpstateNYdude (So my wife asked me ...)
You said you are using a leg with a apron, so you do have to at least consider cross grain expansion and contraction.  I did a similar top, but it was for a standup desk, so my guess was the area of the legs above the stretcher would bend a little.

As to the wedge, I used wedges just to be sure the joint would look good from the top.  If you make the mortise exactly the same size as the tenon, as you go to drive in the tenon, you run the risk that it will chip a little from the top  ( DAMHIKT ).   I used a chisel to taper the mortise a little wider at the top, then put is the legs - tenons, then clamped the top so the wedges would not cause any split in the top, then drove in the wedges - two per tenon,  until the end of the tenons met the ends of the mortises.
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