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Furniture Making Tutorials #3: Mortise and Tenons- Mortising machine and Dado blade Method.

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Blog entry by BigRedKnothead posted 230 days ago 1428 reads 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Solid Wood Drawer slide process Part 3 of Furniture Making Tutorials series Part 4: Long Grain Miter with a Spline.....your cheatin 'heart. »

Ok, here’s how I make mortise and tenon joints with a dado blade and mortising machine. Even with my zeal for hand tools, I can’t get away from this method. It’s just so darn efficient and consistent in results.
Also I kinda had LJcamps764 in mind, since he recently scored a mortising machine off CL. That’s a good place to find the little benchtop versions. I can’t imagine making chairs or anything with a lot of M&T joints without one.

Here goes. Usually one would make the mortises first then fit the tenons. When you have a mortising machine, you will have very consistant sized mortises. So, what you do is, make a sample block that has each size of your mortising bits like this, and store it with your dado stack:

Now, with a dado installed, measure the length of your tenon, and get the blade height close to what you need to take off each side. Test on a scrap. Preferably a cutoff from the actual stock your using to ensure its exactly the same thickness. Slowly raise the blade until you get a snug fit. Cut all your long shoulders this way.


Sidenote: if this is going to be through tenon, leave it way oversized. You’ll want to plane or sand it to final thickness so you don’t see the ugly dado grooves.

Raise the blade to desired hight for the shoulders on the short edge of each board. It goes without saying that your miter sled must be deadnuts 90 degrees to your fence and blade.

Now you take your tenons and mark just the length of the mortise. See, you are using the actual tenon to mark the mortise in each location.

The width, depth, and centered location will be taken care of by the mortising machine.

With the correct bit installed in the mortising machine, take time to get it centered on the stock.

Drill the mortise staying between the marks.

There you have it.

Any further fitting gets done with these guys.

You can crank out a whole lotta M&T joints in a hurry this way. I just snapped shots while I was making some doors. Even with machine setup time, I took these shots and made four doors (16 m&t joints) in less than an hour. But I have a good little helper bangin the pieces together for me:)

Hope it helps ya’ll, Red

-- Red -- "The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out WHY." -Mark Twain



9 comments so far

View widdle's profile

widdle

1321 posts in 1586 days


#1 posted 230 days ago

good stuff red..

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

3826 posts in 1038 days


#2 posted 230 days ago

Hmmmmm, machines! Hadn’t thought of that. Maybe next time. :0)
Great blog Red.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6737 posts in 1738 days


#3 posted 230 days ago

Now I want a mortiser! Chopping mortices is one area where I don’t like working by hand, especially with M&T where you usually have so many to do.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

4267 posts in 1027 days


#4 posted 229 days ago

Thanks Red!

-- ~Tony

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4284 posts in 569 days


#5 posted 229 days ago

Maur- they sure cut back on the drudgery. Watch craigslist. I see the delta benchtop models on there often.

-- Red -- "The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out WHY." -Mark Twain

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6737 posts in 1738 days


#6 posted 229 days ago

I just scored a free earlex hvlp with some reward points and I was thinking of trying to trade it for a mortiser, so hard to give up a nice new tool once you have it though.

Couple of questions:
Do you need to knife your shoulder lines first or does the dado stack cut clean enough?
Also for those of us with no dado stack, would cutting the cheeks on the bandsaw work? Have you tried it?

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4284 posts in 569 days


#7 posted 229 days ago

Maur- Free earlex…..ohhh nice. Tough decision. If you find someone to trade you for a powermatic mortiser….I’ll be green.

I don’t knife the shoulders. Wouldn’t hurt. I leave just a little bit left when I get close to the shoulder, then take a slow pass. Works pretty well.

Haven’t tried it with bandsaw. I imagine it wouldn’t be as consistent. Btw, I just have the HF $35 dado set. No complaints.

-- Red -- "The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out WHY." -Mark Twain

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

3826 posts in 1038 days


#8 posted 229 days ago

Maur, I use a band saw to cut cheeks. Just leave a little “meat” to plane off for a smooth finish. Also my BS has a resaw blade so the cut does not wander.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4284 posts in 569 days


#9 posted 229 days ago

+1 on the resaw bandsaw blade. That’s the only blade I use.

-- Red -- "The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out WHY." -Mark Twain

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