floating tennons

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by michael crawford posted 02-01-2010 10:22 PM 1124 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View michael crawford's profile

michael crawford

19 posts in 2998 days

02-01-2010 10:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question router joining

Im trying my hand at chair making for my mother in law. we are making very simple kitchen chairs, and a new kitchen table.

im still in the prototype stage. prototypes are made out of pine, because pine is cheap. finals will be either oak or poplar.

the problem i am having is that i cant seem to find the sweet spot on my floating tennons. either they crack, or wiggle. what am i doing wrong?
i was always told that a good tennon would be strong and wiggle free without glue, and tha the glue is just to keep them from working their way loose.


4 replies so far

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3162 days

#1 posted 02-01-2010 11:53 PM

First, remember your dealing with pine, which will crack very easily. However, make adjustments to the mortises with a paring chisel along the elongated portion. At the ends, leave room for expansion also. Hence the name loose tenons. They are not designed for all that much snugness.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View michael crawford's profile

michael crawford

19 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 02-02-2010 03:30 AM

im making my mortices with a plunge router, and my floating tennon stock with a planer.

what im hearing you say is thus:
1. pine cracks. its the neature of the beast.
2. they dont have to be a press fit. i little play is acceptable.

am i correct?

View bsherman's profile


76 posts in 3490 days

#3 posted 02-03-2010 01:19 AM

Here is what I aim for when dry fitting. They shouldn’t be so tight that you have to force them in with a mallet or clamp. And they shouldn’t be so loose that they fall out on their own. I agree with UnionLabel, a little play is OK.

-- Brian

View kimball's profile


323 posts in 3259 days

#4 posted 02-03-2010 11:50 PM

I really like poplar but it is soft and not very strong. It is a good replacement for pine as a prototype material though. Make the final out of oak or explore the possibility of using European Beech.

Now to address your problem. Make your mortices FIRST. Then get an accurate measurement. Next, slice your tennon material to correct thickness. Rip that to the proper width. Next, cut to length.

Now that you have your rough tennons made, use a file to CREEP them to a snug fit.

Glue and clamp. Oh and drive some long sharpened nails through the seat from the bottom side to keep her from slipping out.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics