Step Stool #5: First Hand-Cut Tenon

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Blog entry by Eric posted 07-12-2008 03:24 PM 2115 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Making Progress Part 5 of Step Stool series Part 6: Hand-Chopping a Mortise (with Video) »

Today I was able to do both tenons for the supporting rail (rail? stile?) for the step stool I’m building. It’ll be a through tenon and have wedges when it’s done. I also had time to do one mortise today.


This one looks pretty fabulous, if I do say so myself. However, TOTAL DISCLOSURE: The other one didn’t go as well. My line on the cheeks weren’t very straight so the tenon narrows at it nears the shoulders. This, my friends, is not good. I might not need to fix it, though, since there probably won’t be any wobble. The direction it would wobble will be held in check by the dovetails. The only force really being put on this rail will be along the top and bottom of the tenon, and not on the cheeks.

Still, if I sense movement once I’ve done the second mortise and dry-fit it together, I may glue a shim on at least one of the cheeks and re-cut it to be more square.

All in all, a good day in the shop.

-- Eric at

9 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3766 days

#1 posted 07-12-2008 03:30 PM

great job. this step stool is really coming along good! thanks for the post.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3813 days

#2 posted 07-12-2008 03:33 PM

That is one sweet looking tenon. Did you chop out it’s mate yet?

-- Scott - Chico California

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3782 days

#3 posted 07-12-2008 03:40 PM

Scott: You mean the mortise? I’ve done one (the mate for the wobbly one), with one to go. Wife’s going out of town for a week starting tomorrow, so I might have time for it (and more) if I put a video on for the kids. Or five videos.

-- Eric at

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#4 posted 07-12-2008 04:28 PM

This is a nice job, Eric. Good luck on finding some shop time with your wife gone.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3894 days

#5 posted 07-12-2008 07:17 PM

Coming right along Eric.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 3803 days

#6 posted 07-12-2008 08:12 PM

The step stool has starting taking shape. It is a great pleasure to use hand tools to judge your skills. I would suggest every wood worker using electronic gadgets to take a break and try their hand on simple hand tools
Waiting now for the completed step stool.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3995 days

#7 posted 07-15-2008 06:16 AM

That looks great!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3813 days

#8 posted 07-15-2008 06:30 AM

I want to see a video of you chopping that puppy. The only time I tried to chop a mortice I left most of a 1/4” chisel broken off in the wood. Then I went looking at the price of a real mortice chisel and decided I would just use the money to buy a delta hollow chisel morticer.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3782 days

#9 posted 07-15-2008 06:46 AM

Scott – you got it! After my wife gets back I’ll do the other mortise and videotape it. (She’s out of town and has the camera.)

-- Eric at

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