Art Nouveau Coffee Table #2: Cutting Very Large Mortise and Tenons

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Blog entry by Dennis Zongker posted 03-09-2015 07:43 PM 2299 reads 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Clay Model of the Base 1/4" Scale Part 2 of Art Nouveau Coffee Table series Part 3: Gluing Legs & Runners, Then Layout for carving. »

For this Art Nouveau coffee table base system I’m using African Mahogany Hardwoods. A lot of planning went into figuring out the joinery. Half of the wood will be grinded away to get the large curves and shapes to blend together for this art nouveau style.

By pin nailing hardwood blocking around the bottom back legs with two 45 degree angles also around the tenons. I was able to use had saws to do most of the cutting. The drill press really came in handy for drilling out the mortise at the correct angle. Then I could chisel out the rest of the mortise with chisels.

I feel like I’m getting a good workout by just moving all these large pieces back and forth. I’m really having fun with this one. Thank you for looking and happy woodworking!!!

-- Dennis Zongker

15 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


7656 posts in 2264 days

#1 posted 03-09-2015 07:49 PM


This is part 2? Earlier posting was a no show?

Looks like your weight lifting. LOL!

Thanks for the visual details

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2763 days

#2 posted 03-09-2015 07:57 PM

glad it finally loaded dennis
been waiting for a bit to see this

you sure do know your stuff
always a pleasure to see what you are up to
truly a master craftsman

i always learn just seeing your posts

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View gashley's profile


61 posts in 2428 days

#3 posted 03-09-2015 08:05 PM

Thanks for sharing! I love to see a project of this scale as it progresses. It’s always fascinating to see a great craftsman figure out the problems and develop jigs and techniques on the fly. I tend to always think it terms of power tools for unusual situations. This shows that handtools are still sometimes the best. Keep the updates coming!

-- Gary in OP

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 1849 days

#4 posted 03-09-2015 08:15 PM

Love the way you lined up the successive boards grain so when you carve the project the grain will look like it was made from a solid beam. Amazing work so far.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3822 days

#5 posted 03-09-2015 08:28 PM

Wow, What a chunk of work to get the big chunks, so you could make smaller chunks.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View dclark1943's profile


245 posts in 1609 days

#6 posted 03-09-2015 08:39 PM

Wow, that is one big chunk of wood. Interesting to watch this thing “being born” Keep the blog coming, you have a lot of us junkies out here mesmerized. Say hi to Patti : )

-- Dave, Kansas City

View shipwright's profile


7094 posts in 2219 days

#7 posted 03-09-2015 08:54 PM

I wish I was there to watch Dennis. You must be having a ball.

There is a blog posting bug around. It bit me yesterday as well and you aren’t the only one today having trouble.
I started a forum topic about it. Maybe we will get some answers.

Anyway, great work and thanks for letting us watch.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View grizzman's profile


7782 posts in 2725 days

#8 posted 03-09-2015 09:35 PM

im really glad to see that all of the ideas i had for this piece are coming together…LOL…nothing like a bit of smart donkey huh…..this is great dennis, there is so much to learn here, one is the jigs needed to make such a big piece…this is great, like paul said, you’re having a ball…thank you so much for sharing this with us…i’m having a ball watching…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

442 posts in 2552 days

#9 posted 03-09-2015 11:47 PM

Meticulous work Dennis. Can’t wait to see more.

-- Dale, Ohio

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1839 days

#10 posted 03-10-2015 12:19 AM

Those are pretty massive looking pieces of wood. I like your idea of tacking on those saw guides. I’ll certainly have to file that trick for future use. I’m looking forward to you future instalments and watching as you transform those blocks into a shapely art nouveau table.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3273 days

#11 posted 03-10-2015 01:25 AM

Great blog Dennis

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3127 posts in 3134 days

#12 posted 03-10-2015 05:34 AM


The problem-solving on this is incredible. IF I could come up with those solutions and IF I could implement them, I would still need a crane to move it! (Of course, those IFs are preposterous.) That’s going to be one terribly heavy table!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2225 days

#13 posted 03-10-2015 12:40 PM

OMG! Where’s the Beef isn’t going to be asked here. WowZa!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6819 posts in 3401 days

#14 posted 03-10-2015 02:49 PM

That’s some serious woodworking!

Nicely documented.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View tinnman65's profile


1293 posts in 2836 days

#15 posted 03-11-2015 12:12 AM

Another great post Dennis, I love that trick with the hand saw!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

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