temporary through mortise with a peg?

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Forum topic by leftcoaster posted 01-08-2016 01:54 AM 676 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 294 days

01-08-2016 01:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: mortise tenon temporary structure

Sorry, but I don’t know what to call this and I’m wondering if it even exists.

I want to build a temporary outdoor structure out of 2×4s. Historically I have done it with some Simpson strong tie joists holding three 2×4s together and that has worked fine.

I was wondering if I could do something a little more attractive: The posts would have two mortises and the horizontal members (rafters, but not really) would have tenons that go through and beyond the end of the mortises. There, there would be a peg that would go through the tenons and so prevent the tenon from being pulled back through the mortise.

It’s a temporary structure, so I’d want to be able to disassemble it, hence no glue.

Has anyone ever seen such a thing? Is there an alternative approach? Would what I’m describing work?

8 replies so far

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 569 days

#1 posted 01-08-2016 02:04 AM

Yes, it called a through tenon with a peg, the peg is tappered. Let me see if I can find a pic.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View TheFridge's profile


5672 posts in 904 days

#2 posted 01-08-2016 02:33 AM

Or a t-bridal.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View bearkatwood's profile


1171 posts in 429 days

#3 posted 01-08-2016 02:35 AM

I believe that the tent that housed the ark of the covenant in the bible was made somewhat like this so it is not a new thing. It should work just fine.

-- Brian Noel

View leftcoaster's profile


75 posts in 294 days

#4 posted 01-08-2016 03:33 PM

Thanks all, really appreciate it. It was fascinating to learn how offset holes for the peg were used in the absence of glue to hold the shoulders of the tenon against the mortise. The more I learn about joinery, the more I admire the ingenuity of the craftsman who developed these techniques.

Last question: as I mentioned, I’ll need to disassemble this for storage. Any particular tips on accomplishing that? The tapered pegs seem designed to achieve a firm joint and would, by design, be rather difficult to take apart.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 569 days

#5 posted 01-08-2016 03:39 PM

View dday's profile


46 posts in 847 days

#6 posted 01-08-2016 03:56 PM

Yes. you see benches in Colonial-era National parks that are assembled like this.. two shaped ends with seat boards between them, all fastened and pulled together using just this method.

View geekwoodworker's profile


348 posts in 878 days

#7 posted 01-08-2016 04:09 PM

The tapered pegs work best. The peg and the hole are tapered to match (approx. 5 degrees). They are actually easy to remove with a light tap of a hammer to the bottom of the peg. As a bonus if they become slightly loose due to wood shrinkage you can tap the peg in a bit and it is tight again.

Enjoy the build and good luck.

View leftcoaster's profile


75 posts in 294 days

#8 posted 01-08-2016 04:16 PM

This is really great advice. Thank you all very much.

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