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Forum topic by Woodpecker23 posted 06-06-2015 05:27 AM 1091 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Woodpecker23

64 posts in 641 days


06-06-2015 05:27 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chair joinery question

I have been commissioned to build a kitchen table and chairs for a newly married couple. The sketchup plans for this table are in my projects if you want to check this out.

As I stated in the sketchup plan post I have done of lot of different types of table builds but my chair building experience is someone limited. Because this is going to be a often used piece of furniture and I definitely want to make sure this is sturdy and going to last many years. I have been tossing around a few different ideas in my head on what type of joinery to use on the stools… I do a lot of pocket hole joinery on many of my projects, but I know there are many other options out there like the mortise and tenon. Im just curious if anyone would care to share any tips, advise, or opinions? Much appreciated!

-- measure once, cut twice...swear repeatedly


13 replies so far

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3554 posts in 1234 days


#1 posted 06-06-2015 01:20 PM

The design you have looks good. Mortise and tenon would be your best option.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1817 days


#2 posted 06-06-2015 01:36 PM

Mortise and tenon is the best joint for chairs. It is an incredibly strong joint and proven from centuries of use. Chairs take a lot of abuse, go with proven joinery.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

528 posts in 908 days


#3 posted 06-06-2015 05:48 PM

+1 for M&T. Please don’t even consider pocket screws. Chairs top the list of furniture that has to withstand a lot of stress. If these were plant stands or something, pocket screws would work fine. But a chair that gets used frequently will not last with that joinery.

Or——do us all a favor and use this project as a science experiment: make one chair with pocket screws and the rest with M&T. Then keep track of how they hold up and let us know when you are asked to replace the pocket screw chair. :)

View Woodpecker23's profile

Woodpecker23

64 posts in 641 days


#4 posted 06-06-2015 06:49 PM


+1 for M&T. Please don t even consider pocket screws. Chairs top the list of furniture that has to withstand a lot of stress. If these were plant stands or something, pocket screws would work fine. But a chair that gets used frequently will not last with that joinery.

Or——do us all a favor and use this project as a science experiment: make one chair with pocket screws and the rest with M&T. Then keep track of how they hold up and let us know when you are asked to replace the pocket screw chair. :)

- jerryminer

I totally agree with you on this. I just wanted to get some other opinions. Re-work is definitely not good for reputation or business, and I always strive for quality and not the quantity or taking shortcuts to get stuff done quicker.

-- measure once, cut twice...swear repeatedly

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2284 days


#5 posted 06-06-2015 08:19 PM

I’ve never seen a chair with a diagonal brace like you show in your drawing. I guess it would help brace the structure, but I’d personally probably skip it. They will be pretty complicated to do mortise and tenons, for one thing.
Lots of commercially made wood chairs use dowels. They would definitely hold up longer than pocket screws, but over time (but over a pretty long time, really) they are more likely to fail than M&T because so much of the glue surface is endgrain rather than sidegrain (in the tenon, that is).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1723 days


#6 posted 06-06-2015 10:04 PM

I have a buddy that makes custom chairs for people and he swears by the Domino. He says he can very accurately cut the angled mortises with a high degree of accuracy/repeatability and their floating tenons have held up well under heavy use. If I ever want to make another set of chairs I will buy and use a Domino.

-- Art

View Woodpecker23's profile

Woodpecker23

64 posts in 641 days


#7 posted 06-06-2015 11:51 PM


I ve never seen a chair with a diagonal brace like you show in your drawing. I guess it would help brace the structure, but I d personally probably skip it. They will be pretty complicated to do mortise and tenons, for one thing.
Lots of commercially made wood chairs use dowels. They would definitely hold up longer than pocket screws, but over time (but over a pretty long time, really) they are more likely to fail than M&T because so much of the glue surface is endgrain rather than sidegrain (in the tenon, that is).

- jdh122

The Diagonal brace is actually not a brace it is just decorative, so no complicated joinery would be needed on that section. I originally didn’t have it in the plan but the customer said it just looked like an open space and wanted to fill that void with something.

-- measure once, cut twice...swear repeatedly

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

628 posts in 1419 days


#8 posted 06-07-2015 12:33 AM



I have a buddy that makes custom chairs for people and he swears by the Domino. He says he can very accurately cut the angled mortises with a high degree of accuracy/repeatability and their floating tenons have held up well under heavy use. If I ever want to make another set of chairs I will buy and use a Domino.

- AandCstyle

Not wanting to start a fight, but just curious. A quick search shows that the Domino system was introduced in 2007. I know that floating tenons have been used for ages, but will the Domino system stand up over the test of time any better or worse over another floating tenon as compared to a traditional mortise and tenon? I guess this comes down to how mortise and tenon joints in chairs eventually fail (they do). One mortise and a fixed tenon or two mortises and a floating tenon. Which will be stronger in the end and which is strong enough to withstand the pressure of the job? A fixed tenon would seem to be the optimal choice, but that ignores cross-grain situations and the challenges of the initial joinery.

Personally, I don’t make enough of these joints to warrant the investment in a Domino system, but I would sure like to take one for a ride! It sure looks like it is a whole lot easier to set up and make the joints than traditional methods.

View Woodpecker23's profile

Woodpecker23

64 posts in 641 days


#9 posted 06-07-2015 02:48 AM

My only problem is that I have not done a ton of mortise and tenons and don’t have a lot of the set ups that some people do that do this style on a regular basis. By my design I will have to do 16 mortise and tenons per stool and an extra 6 for the two with backs. That is a lot of time without all the handy jigs…which I don’t have a problem with but I am also on limit time availability with my 50 hr a week job and 5 time hungry children at home (all 5 girls btw haha).

So if anyone knows of some simple jigs that would help me out would be absolutely amazing!

-- measure once, cut twice...swear repeatedly

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#10 posted 06-07-2015 05:54 PM



My only problem is that I have not done a ton of mortise and tenons and don t have a lot of the set ups that some people do that do this style on a regular basis. By my design I will have to do 16 mortise and tenons per stool and an extra 6 for the two with backs. That is a lot of time without all the handy jigs…which I don t have a problem with but I am also on limit time availability with my 50 hr a week job and 5 time hungry children at home (all 5 girls btw haha).

So if anyone knows of some simple jigs that would help me out would be absolutely amazing!

- Woodpecker23


Google and Youtube is your friend.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=shop+made+mortis+jigs&page=&utm_source=opensearch

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#11 posted 06-07-2015 06:07 PM

Not wanting to start a fight, but just curious. A quick search shows that the Domino system was introduced in 2007. I know that floating tenons have been used for ages, but will the Domino system stand up over the test of time any better or worse over another floating tenon as compared to a traditional mortise and tenon? I guess this comes down to how mortise and tenon joints in chairs eventually fail (they do). One mortise and a fixed tenon or two mortises and a floating tenon. Which will be stronger in the end and which is strong enough to withstand the pressure of the job? A fixed tenon would seem to be the optimal choice, but that ignores cross-grain situations and the challenges of the initial joinery.

Personally, I don t make enough of these joints to warrant the investment in a Domino system, but I would sure like to take one for a ride! It sure looks like it is a whole lot easier to set up and make the joints than traditional methods.

- Kazooman


Lets assume for a minute that the Festool loose tenons doesn’t’ cut the mustard over the long haul. You can still use it to punch the mortises quickly and accurately and then make integral tenons.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Woodpecker23's profile

Woodpecker23

64 posts in 641 days


#12 posted 06-07-2015 06:19 PM

Not wanting to start a fight, but just curious. A quick search shows that the Domino system was introduced in 2007. I know that floating tenons have been used for ages, but will the Domino system stand up over the test of time any better or worse over another floating tenon as compared to a traditional mortise and tenon? I guess this comes down to how mortise and tenon joints in chairs eventually fail (they do). One mortise and a fixed tenon or two mortises and a floating tenon. Which will be stronger in the end and which is strong enough to withstand the pressure of the job? A fixed tenon would seem to be the optimal choice, but that ignores cross-grain situations and the challenges of the initial joinery.

Personally, I don t make enough of these joints to warrant the investment in a Domino system, but I would sure like to take one for a ride! It sure looks like it is a whole lot easier to set up and make the joints than traditional methods.

- Kazooman

Lets assume for a minute that the Festool loose tenons doesn t cut the mustard over the long haul. You can still use it to punch the mortises quickly and accurately and then make integral tenons.

- AlaskaGuy

I like the thought process there AlaskaGuy… Didn’t think of it that way. Good solution, now its coming up with the funds to purchase the festool lol

-- measure once, cut twice...swear repeatedly

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#13 posted 06-07-2015 06:43 PM


I like the thought process there AlaskaGuy… Didn t think of it that way. Good solution, now its coming up with the funds to purchase the festool lol

- Woodpecker23

I hear you.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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