First mortise/tenon #1: Practice mortise and tenon joint

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Blog entry by Craftsman on the lake posted 03-02-2009 09:08 PM 4339 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Well, After making a small jig for my drill press and a small simple sled for my table saw I have produced my first mortise and tenon joint using a couple of pieces of scrap pine. I drilled the mortise and cut the tenon on my TS then cleaned up both with a chisel. Not too bad for a first try I think. It is snug. I need to get a new blad for my table saw. I think it bends a little bit. It is an inexpensive blade and thin. Anyone else think that this can cause issues? I think I’d get a straighter line where the edges meet.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

6 comments so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3551 days

#1 posted 03-02-2009 09:52 PM

Daniel your first tenon looks better than mine! Remember too that pine is harder to work with than hardwoods with some joinery. Did you use a drill bit then chisel out square for your mortise or use the mortise attachment? I have tried the router for mortises then use the chisel to square and find they work a bit better for me. Some folks just leave the mortise with round corners and cut the corners of the tenon off at about 45 degrees so they fit the mortises. Saw flex can affect the cuts on your TS and a simple dampener can be used to help with the flex; a good quality blade is always best though.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3673 days

#2 posted 03-02-2009 09:54 PM

not bad at all!

the tenon piece shoulder does look like it has a wave/bump in it (the TS cutline is not straight) did you try to clean that cut line with a chisel? that might cause those irregularities in the line -I’d recommend using a shoulder/rabbet plane for that cleanup. I can’t see how a thin saw blade could cause that wave as it goes front/back and not up/down (if it makes sense) maybe the piece wasn’t secured enough to the sled?

I had a similar problem, but mine was cause I cleaned up the shoulder with a chisel which messed up the straight saw line (well, it wasn’t straight since it was handcut… but thats besides the point – or is it?)

to clean up the spacing in the joint, use a straight edge or a comb-square, and make sure that all shoulders and cheeks are straight, and 90 degree to each other.. that will make the joint flush and clean.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Pie's profile


187 posts in 3430 days

#3 posted 03-02-2009 11:51 PM

Very nice work! I vote for a little planing action as well.

-- Pie

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3462 days

#4 posted 03-03-2009 12:02 AM

Didn’t think about planing. I was using a chisel to try and clean up the tenon. The mortise was done with a forstner bit in my drill press. There was very little cleanout and I’ve got some great 100+ year old chisels that are honed on my worksharp so they are a pleasure to use.

The blade.. this is embarassing. I took out my delta blade that needed some serious cleaning and had a three 10” 40 tooth carbide blades that I had purchased from harbor freight for $3.33 each. I’ve been using them to cut stuff and they’ve worked really well but they seem thin. When I stop the saw the blade seems to have a slight wobble to it when you look at it on edge as it comes to a stop. I’ve got to save these things for cutting plywood type stuff I think.

Thanks for the comments. I’m going to make my first cabinet face after a few more practice joints. I want that seam to be tight.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View lcurrent's profile


125 posts in 3840 days

#5 posted 09-17-2009 12:50 AM

Mortises using LCJIG

This is an easy and very accurate way to do mortise also using loose or floating tenons


Mortises using LCJIG

-- lcurrent ( It's not a mistake till you run out of wood )

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3462 days

#6 posted 09-17-2009 01:10 AM

thanks icurrent. Since this experimental tenon I have gone ahead with loose tenons and produced a few projects using them. I even have a router jig to cut the mortise.

BTW your picts don’t work.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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