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Let's Build a Jewelry Box #5: a Wedged Foxtail Tenon Joint

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Blog entry by Bob Simmons posted 10-14-2010 12:04 AM 10155 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Woodturning... the Koa Handle Part 5 of Let's Build a Jewelry Box series no next part

“If you do not expect it, you will not find the unexpected, for it is hard to find and difficult.”
...Heraclitus 500 B.C.

This woodworking online episode is part of the Let's Build Series

Woodworking Tips and Techniques:
1.) Creating a foxtail wedged tenon joint.

We continue with Part 6 of our arts and crafts wood project, the making of a Koa wood veneered jewelry box. We begin by finding the center on the wooden box lid. To do this we use a straight edge to mark diagonally across the corners of the lid. Once the center is located we line it up to the center of the brad point bit at the drill press. To secure the lid of the jewelry box for the boring we adjust the hold down clamps and sliding stop blocks of the drill press table. This makes for a safe, reliable, and accurate method of drilling. The drill bit we have chosen is slightly larger than the tenon of the handle because the tenon will be expanding inside of the mortise.

We are making a foxtail wedged tenon joint. The mortise and tenon will be very tight once the wedge is set in place and pressed to fit. At the workbench we set the jewelry box handle in the woodworking vice and proceed to bore a 1/16” hole through the tenon to where the tip of the wedge will be pressed. Next, we saw into the center of the tenon with a thin kerfed japanese saw. Our cut is made across the grain and down to the hole we just bored.

Read more about the Foxtail Wedged Tenon Joint.

Enjoy more Woodworking Videos!

visit…..The Apprentice and The Journeyman

......................Learn more, Experience more!

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com



8 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7862 posts in 2769 days


#1 posted 10-14-2010 02:24 AM

Another fine How To video!

You had me holding my breath when you put it in the vise to squeeze the knob… Just a tad of that CA glue from the slot and you would have had a One of a Kind vise! :)

Glad it didn’t stick… whew..

Keep it up… you’re doing good!

It was nice to see the grain “POP”...

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View dakremer's profile

dakremer

2488 posts in 1808 days


#2 posted 10-14-2010 05:16 AM

i’m curious (only because i dont know) – is the fox wedged tenon joint necessary? or did you do it just to show HOW to do it? Obviously it would make the knob a lot stronger, but wouldnt just a nice fit and some glue work too? again, not criticizing, only asking because i dont know, and wondering if that SHOULD be done. Thanks a lot – i really enjoy your videos! I’m just getting into making boxes, and your videos have helped me a lot!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 1730 days


#3 posted 10-14-2010 05:53 AM

Joe…Thanks a bunch! You always seem to notice the fine details in the videos. Not to worry about the CA glue. There must have been at least a few seconds to spare!
You’re right about the grain as the premium Koa is really a beautiful grain. Thanks again for your support.

dakremer…I very much appreciate your curiosity! The fox wedged tenon joint is not necessary at all. Yes…I did present it to show HOW it can be done. (and also to demonstrate the press fit technique in the vise. The complete article on my site goes into further detail about the reason for the press fit.)
This joint does indeed strengthen the joint of the knob’s tenon. Chances are that I could have just glued the underside of the knob, the mortise, and the tenon and called it a day. It probably would be very tight for a very long time.
Whether you choose to go with a straight mortise and tenon plus glue or to create a strong, decorative joint is a personal choice. (there’s really no right or wrong) I saw it as an opportunity to share something worthwhile that is not often noticed. The joint is rather simple to make as you can see and is very much stronger. The little wedge gives the joint a bit of character and it is quite unlikely that the knob will ever come loose from the lid. (consider it like a dovetail)...
Great question! Feel free to ask any time. Sometimes it will pay to watch the videos a few times as some details are rather subtle. Good luck with your boxes. Keep in touch.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1601 posts in 2178 days


#4 posted 10-14-2010 03:41 PM

I like the videos that you have posted. I think the koa is beautiful and would like to get some one day and see how it works. I am sure glad I don’t have your glue bill

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

View dakremer's profile

dakremer

2488 posts in 1808 days


#5 posted 10-14-2010 08:32 PM

thanks Bob! I appreciate it

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 1730 days


#6 posted 10-14-2010 09:06 PM

MedicKen…Glad to hear you are enjoying the videos and thanks for taking a look! You will appreciate the beauty of Koa as it has a wonderful reflective quality. (especially when a finish is applied)... Funny that you mentioned my glue bill…the bill just grew larger when I purchased another gallon of Titebond II a few days ago. Just can’t seem to get enough of that stuff.

dakremer…You’re always welcome! Remember…(without the glue) the wedged foxtail tenon joint has a mechanical advantage over the plain mortise and tenon. Stay curious…it’s a gift.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com

View Eli's profile

Eli

141 posts in 1723 days


#7 posted 10-20-2010 04:29 PM

I’ve never heard this called a foxtail before. I thought a foxtail was when it was all internal. What makes this a foxtail instead of just a wedged tenon?

Eli

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 1730 days


#8 posted 10-20-2010 07:13 PM

Eli…Good point!

Foxtail Tenon

Both are wedged tenons. One is open and one is blind. According to the above link my joint should be referred to as an open wedged tenon.

On the other hand …why is the foxtail not called a blind wedged tenon joint? Thanks for sharing.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com

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