Drawing furniture parts separately but they end up being connected

I’m pretty new to SU and am having a problem that prevents me from progressing on my model of a wood cabinet. Here’s where I’m hung up.

First, I draw a leg and copy it about 14" away from the original and try to create a connector piece between the two legs (call it an apron or a rail). To do this, I draw a rectangle on one of the legs and pull out to where it meets the 2nd leg. The problem is that instead of the connector piece being separate from the legs, SU attaches the connector to the leg as one solid piece. I want them to be separate so I can create mortise and tenon joints where the connector attaches to the legs.

How do I create the connector/rail as its own entity so I can manipulate it separately?

I’m having the same issue trying to build a frame and panel door. I build the stiles and can’t figure out how to keep the rails separate from the stiles.

Of course, making the mortises/tenons is another whole challenge for me.

This is a classic case of needing to make a component of the leg before you copy it. This puts the geometry in a container that protects it from other stuff. Take a look at the DVD you got from Fine Woodworking. Watch how immediately after creating the geometry for the first part, the geometry is selected and it is made into a component. This is done before any other parts are made.

In your table model, the basic steps are

Model the leg. Make it a component. Use Move/Copy to make a copy over at 14 in. Then draw the apron to fit between the legs. Then select all of the apron geometry and make a component of it.

The same thing applies to frame and panel doors. And to cut mortises you need to have the components separate.