The frame is joined to the legs either by the mortise and tenon or by doweling. The former joint was the old way of framing, but since the introduction of dowels the tenon has largely gone out of use among furniture makers. They consider it old-fashioned. And owing to the shrinkage of the tenon or the carelessness with which it is made it does not seem as strong or equal to a dowel-joint.
Mortise & Tenon
The mortise and tenon consists of a tongue (tenon) cut on the end of one of the joined pieces so as to fit tightly in a cavity (mortise) siunk in the other piece. In table work the tenon is on the end of the frame and may or may not be its full width, while the mortise is in the leg. Plate I.
The dowel joint derives its name from the dowel, a wooden pin, used for fastening the two pieces together by inserting part of its length in one piece, the rest of it entering a corresponding hole in the other. Where possible more than one dowel is used. In table work two or more are fitted in holes bored for them in the end of the frame, and in the proper position on the legs are corresponding holes in which the dowels fit, and are glued when the two parts are brought together. Some small tables are constructed without a frame; in place of it there is a wooden cleat fastened to the underside of the top; and the full diameter of the leg is inserted in this block; or if the leg is of large size it is tenoned into the block.
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