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View zindel's profile

How do you Mortise and Tenon?

by zindel
posted 1078 days ago


34 replies so far

View NathanAllen's profile

NathanAllen

376 posts in 1747 days


#1 posted 1078 days ago

I’m a bit of a lazy man.

Tenons
Dedicated tenon jig on tablesaw with dado blade
For wide stock I use fence standoff and miter guide

Mortise
Mortise machine, clean up with chisel

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1651 posts in 1096 days


#2 posted 1078 days ago

My favorite way is to cut the tenons on a table saw, and the mortises with a router/spiral bit. I’ve tried a few of the other methods, and these just seem to work out best for me.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View tctaylor79's profile

tctaylor79

44 posts in 1197 days


#3 posted 1078 days ago

Same as Nathan on the Tenons and my mortises are done with a mortise bit setup on the drill press.

-- Tim Taylor - GLT Woodworks

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4137 posts in 1554 days


#4 posted 1078 days ago

Tenons on the table saw or sometimes a router. Mortises by drilling holes and cleaning them up with a chisel. I dream about getting a mortising machine, though.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3274 posts in 1416 days


#5 posted 1078 days ago

Tenons with a dado blade on the tablesaw. Mortises on the benchtop mortiser.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View zindel's profile

zindel

256 posts in 1253 days


#6 posted 1078 days ago

tctaylor do you have one of those drill press mortise attachments? I was thinking about getting one of those but i would hate to damage my drill press or waste my money. I just do what brandon does for now but I always look for ways to improve.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1835 days


#7 posted 1078 days ago

I had been doing the drill holes / follow up with chisels thing on the mortises, but I recently got a mortising machine. I am cutting mortises in things that don’t need them now…

Tenons are done with a dado stack on the table saw. My saw has a sliding miter table and it makes cutting tenons a breeze…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View tbone's profile

tbone

256 posts in 2287 days


#8 posted 1078 days ago

My tenons are done on the table saw AFTER I do the mortises with a plunge router and home made jigs. Up-cut spiral bits seem to be the charm for me. I’m a firm believer in the “sneak up on it” method of fitting the tenons to the mortises.

-- Kinky Friedman on gay marriage: "They should have the right to be just as miserable as the rest of us."

View mailee's profile

mailee

44 posts in 1081 days


#9 posted 1078 days ago

I also use a tennon jig on the table saw for shorter lengths. for longer lengths I use a dado blade in my RAS. I use a dedicated mortice machine for the mortices.

-- www.alanwilley.co.uk

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3051 posts in 1278 days


#10 posted 1078 days ago

I am with Nathan. There are some that hand cut everything but I let the machines do the work for me. I do the adjustments for the machines.

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1599 posts in 2065 days


#11 posted 1078 days ago

Currently working on a maple workbench. Mortises were drilled out at the drill press with a forstner bit and then squared with hand tools. the tenons I have decided to cut but hand and fit with hand tools.

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

View Uncle_Salty's profile

Uncle_Salty

182 posts in 1676 days


#12 posted 1078 days ago

Dedicated Mortiser.

I cut tenons several ways, depending on the size, speed needed, and degree of accuracy.

If I need pure speed and the size is small…i use the band saw. Works great, but not very accurate.

If I have medium size and need for speed, but I also need some level of accuracy, I used the miter gauge and dado head with a sacrifice fence on the table saw.

If I have a lot of tenons to do and they are the same size, and accuracy is critical, I break out the tenoning jig and set it up!

All three serve their purpose.

View Toolz's profile

Toolz

1003 posts in 2345 days


#13 posted 1078 days ago

Loose tenons milled on router table mortises made on horizontal router table.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2276 days


#14 posted 1078 days ago

I use my Benchtop Mortiser for making the mortises, and my Unisaw for making the tenons.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Loren's profile

Loren

7265 posts in 2251 days


#15 posted 1078 days ago

The mortising is the easy part. Well, not really, but with a mortising
machine the sweat factor is vastly reduced. I hate mortising with
a router: noisy, messy and you have to make an elaborate jig or
keep laser-beam focus to make the cut turn out well.

cutting a lot of tenons efficiently is not so easy without a big shaper or
a tenoner, but you can approximate that by running two blades on a
table saw. My saw is a slider and not designed for double-blade cuts
at all.

The important thing, for consistency from part to part, is to cut the
tenons referencing from one face, not by flipping the boards and
cutting from each face, which leads to all sorts of inconsistency.

When I work up the creative energy to do it, I’m going to build a
panto-router a-la Woodgears.ca for cutting tenons.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View RickLoDico's profile

RickLoDico

55 posts in 1664 days


#16 posted 1078 days ago

I almost always use the Leigh FMT for both mortise and tenon. It’s fast, easy and perfectly parts.

-- He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1296 days


#17 posted 1077 days ago

I prefer to cut and chop by hand but when I’m feeling unambitious I’ll tenon with the ts jig, shoulder on the crosscut sled, mortise on the mortiser.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View zindel's profile

zindel

256 posts in 1253 days


#18 posted 1077 days ago

Sounds to me like its time to invest in a mortiser haha has anyone tried the mortiser attachment for a drill press? Just wondering if it works just as well or if its a total waste.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3659 posts in 2266 days


#19 posted 1077 days ago

I cut the mortises first on the JBM-5 mortiser, then cut the tenon shoulders on the tablesaw.

I have a WoodCraft tenon jig that I used to use all of the time, but since I acquired my Jet 14” bandsaw, I use it most of the time to cut the cheeks.

I use a shoulder plane to clean up and dial in the fit.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2380 posts in 2130 days


#20 posted 1077 days ago

I cut the mortises with a benchtop mortising machine. I have learned the importance of keeping the same face of each piece against the fence, even when the mortise is centered – in case it is not really centered. There is usually a little cleanup with chisels.

I usually form the tenons with a dado blade on the table saw. Here too, as Loren said, be consistent about which face you have down on the table. I leave the tenons just a tad over-thick and then tweak them down.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View chrisstef's profile (online now)

chrisstef

10431 posts in 1609 days


#21 posted 1077 days ago

I use forstner bits on a drill press and a chisel to clean them up for the mortises and i typically cut the tenons by hand cleaning them up with a shoulder plane. One day a mortising machine will be on my bench.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1296 days


#22 posted 1077 days ago

I’ve got the same mortiser as Gerry but I still end up mortising by hand more often than not. I just enjoy the process. With any method, I’d invest in a good shoulder plane before I started adding expensive dedicated equipment to the shop.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View lcurrent's profile

lcurrent

106 posts in 2418 days


#23 posted 1077 days ago

Home made loose tenon jig.

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

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14659 posts in 1170 days


#24 posted 1077 days ago

Tenons
table saw

Mortise
Mortise machine(brand new, well for me), clean up with chisel. I used to drill and chisel

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View jeth's profile

jeth

210 posts in 1441 days


#25 posted 1077 days ago

I have noticed that several mention that they use a forstner bit and drill press for the mortise but that they hope to get a mortiser. is there really so much difference if you have your drill press table set up properly with stops etc? Most who have a mortiser are also cleaning up with chisels so I’m finding it hard to see that the mortiser makes it that much faster /easier.

I have used bith my lighteight craftsman jobsite tablke saw, though the table is not flat enough to ensure good results or the router table for tenons. Router + jig/parallel guide and chisel for mortise.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5107 posts in 1445 days


#26 posted 1077 days ago

For mortises I bore out the waste with a brace and bit. Clean up with chisels. I would do this with mortise chisels, but I don’t have any yet.

Hand saw tenons with tenon saw then clean up shoulders with a paring chisel. I also pare the tenon faces to fit the mortise if necessary.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1835 days


#27 posted 1077 days ago

I should have been a bit more specific about just HOW I do it…

I start with the mortises. I set up the mortiser with a piece of scrap to insure everything is right and my cut with be straight and smooth. no sawtooth junk. set the depth stop (Need to come up with a better solution than the OE depth stop…) and cut my mortises. Once the mortise is cut, I move on to the tenons…

Tenons are done on the table saw, with my dado stack, set up just shy of the depth needed for a snug fit, and I “sneak up” on the fit… to where it is a hard fit. Just prior to assembly I take a couple of swipes with a sanding block to loosen the fit to a nice snug slip fit and then glue up.

For what jeth is talking about. If somebody is cleaning up mortises that are cut with a mortiser, and following behind with a chisel, they did not set their mortiser up right. It doesn’t take much fiddling to get smooth mortises with a bench top mortiser…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2380 posts in 2130 days


#28 posted 1077 days ago

jth,
Before I got a mortiser, I used Forstner bits on my drill press. With the mortiser, the amount of time with a chisel is a small fraction of what it was before. Mostly, I am a little shy of making the mortise too long, so I sometimes end up taking a few swipes at the two ends. I also make sure that there are no chips left at the bottom.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View SSMDad's profile

SSMDad

395 posts in 1200 days


#29 posted 1076 days ago

Do you guys who do it by hand use drawbore pins to make the fit?

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2380 posts in 2130 days


#30 posted 1076 days ago

Chris,

Drawbore pins are used to pull the tenon very tightly into the mortise – the hole in the tenon is a bit closer to the cheek than it would be if you just drilled straight through. This technique can be used independent of the way in which the mortise and tenon were created.

I have played around with drawboring, but have not yet used it in an actual project.

If anyone is interested, Christopher Schwarz has a great article here.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View Brit's profile

Brit

5107 posts in 1445 days


#31 posted 1076 days ago

Yes if it is appropriate to drawbore the mortise and tenon joint.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5107 posts in 1445 days


#32 posted 1076 days ago

Check out the breakfast bar and the garden gate in my projects. They both have drawbored M&T joints.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View SSMDad's profile

SSMDad

395 posts in 1200 days


#33 posted 1076 days ago

Will do.. Thanks Chuck and Brit.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View Greedo's profile

Greedo

465 posts in 1563 days


#34 posted 1076 days ago

i do it the euro way, mixed with yankee flavour.
my method depends on the size and amount.
where any of the dominos sizes are suited i will use the domino mortiser, when i need bigger stuff i always use the benchtop mortiser for the mortises, and for small series of tenons ii use a tablesaw tenoning jig, and for large series i set up the shaper with tenon cutters. cuts them in one pass, but takes time to set up.

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