What’s an angle brace?

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Corner bracing is used in woodworking to strengthen and protect corner joints. There are two types: external for decoration and protection, and internal for structural support. They can be made of metal or wood and are commonly used in furniture and construction industries. Shear bracing is a specific type used to strengthen table corners.

Corner bracing is a fairly broad term used to describe a large selection of items used in woodworking to decorate, strengthen, and protect corner joints. These elements fall into two basic categories: external and internal risers. External corner stiffeners generally serve as decorative finishes and as protection against impact damage. The internal stiffeners serve more as structural supports to strengthen the corner joints against compression failure. External stiffeners are usually made of brass or steel, while internal stiffeners can be metal or wood.

Corners of wooden constructions and furniture are particularly prone to impact damage and structural failure. Using an angle brace can undo these weaknesses. Their use is a fairly common practice in the construction and cabinet making industries due to this function.

Corner bracing can be applied in two ways. The first is external bracing, which is most commonly used in furniture, case and carton making. These braces are used to cover just the corner or also extend along the edges of the flat faces between the corners.

Outside corner braces are usually made of decorative metals, such as brass or steel, and often feature highly ornate embellishments or engraving. They typically consist of a triangular shaped plate bent at 90° angles along two of its edges. Screws are used to secure the brace to the wood on all three sides, effectively covering and providing protection and decoration to the exposed corner. While they serve the same purpose, the external mounts used on crates and heavy cartons tend to be utilitarian and simple. This type of corner brace can consist of no more than a simple shaped metal tape attached to the box with adhesive or nails.

The second type of corner bracing is the internal type which serves as a structural strengthening measure to prevent the corner joint from collapsing under structural or impact loads or compressive forces. These braces are typically L-shaped metal pieces or straight wood members that are bolted to opposite sides of the corner joint. They are commonly used in the construction industry to reinforce corners in timber frame structures. They are also often used to reinforce the corner joints of furniture, such as tables and chairs.

One specific type of corner bracing commonly used to strengthen table corners is shear bracing. This brace consists of a domed plate with a hole in the center and two lips bent at about 30° at either end. These lips have small protrusions on them that fit into a vertical cut or groove cut into opposite sides of a table apron. The lips are then screwed onto the sides of the apron to provide additional support. A bolt set in the table leg passes through the center hole and is tensioned with a nut, pulling the two sides of the apron together and reinforcing the corner.

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