Wide tenons into crossgrain glue up

Mark Maleski

I’m interested in knowing how others go about gluing up this joint.  I’m building a QA spice chest on stand, and the sides of the stand are 10.5” wide.  That’s an awfully wide cross grain glue up into the vertical grain of the legs, and I’m tempted to let the upper pin float to allow for future expansion (I will glue up in low humidity February). OTOH I suspect these were mostly just glued up all the way across in the period.  How do others handle this joint?


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Hi Mark,

Yes, you are correct. Float the top tenon and glue the bottom tenon. Make sure you cut a slot in the top tenon to allow for movement around the pin/peg. If there is a cornice molding under the top, this will hide the expansion space.

To avoid seeing this expansion space you can cut a rabbit along the top edge of the sides and a slot in the bottom outside edge of the top. This will act like a tongue & groove joint. I did this on many sides of a lowboy/highboy for customers.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs
Thank you, Dennis, for confirming I’m on the right track.  I do have a cornice molding that I can use to cover the gap, and that’s what I will do.