Drop Leaf Table [ Pembroke ]

This is a table I recently took in for restoration. At first look it appears to be an unremarkable primitive drop leaf table. The top, apron and leaves are one piece cherry 1” thick, without a rule joint. The legs are oak and had casters, the secondary wood is poplar and pine, mortise and tenon joints through out.

Drop Leaf Table

It does however have a couple of interesting details and is not as primitive as it first looks. If you look at the edge of the leaf you see that the leaf has a sliding dove tailed cleat at each end, cut by hand.


Some shrinkage of the leaf has caused the cleat to extend past the edge of the leaf.

Leaf Edge

If you look at the other edge you can see that there is also a sliding dove tail cleat that goes through the entire width of the top.

Leaf Joint

If we look at one of the drawers, we see it is a through dove tailed box made of poplar with a 1/4” cherry veneered  front and a pine bottom.


If you look close you can see that the pins on the front dovetails are split and wedged. You also can see that most of the front is poplar.

Dove tails

Dove tails

Different view of the wedged pins. Note the split in the side where each pin was wedged, I question if the split is due to the side being nicked with the chisel or were the pins just over wedged.

Wedged pins

This is the only table I have ever had in built like this, but I have had a cabinet with solid doors reinforced this way. I have occasionally come across wedged dove tails, I don’t know if this practice is a non English tradition or just the habit of individual cabinet makers.

About millcrek

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1 Response to Drop Leaf Table [ Pembroke ]

  1. Love that dovetail cleat! I made a drawer-leaf table a few years ago and the first thing the top did was to cup quite severely! It settled down again a couple of weeks after settling in to its new home but, I wish I’d used something as traditional and effective as this technique seems to be.

    Great stuff. I’ll have to include that in one of my future projects. 🙂

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