Through mortise

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Forum topic by Cajunmarine posted 10-08-2016 04:18 AM 815 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Cajunmarine's profile


20 posts in 922 days

10-08-2016 04:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: mortise mistake need advice on making workbench

Ok,so I finally decided to build a workbench. Simple pine workbench 6ft by 22 in wide and 3 1/2 thick. It’s basically the same one Jay Bates built on his Jay’s Custom Creations channel. The joinery for the base to the table top is done with through mortises. I did a few runs on scrap and they came out ok so I decided to take the chisel to my new table top. I went through the same process as I did with the practice peice but got a little complacent and ended up blowing out the mortise and Now I’m left with a very visable gap on the joint. The tenon fits very well into the mortise and so being that’ it’s structurally sound I could just leave it as is and that be the end of it but seeing that huge gap next to the tenon on the top of my workbench will literally make me loose my mind ( I spend most of my life as a U.S. Marine so needless to say I strive for perfection. I ramble, I know, so for the very few of you who’ve read along is there anything I can do to fix this issue. Since the tenon is already cut, it seems my only option here would be to trash the leg, go back over the blown out mortise and cut it out large enough to accommodate the gap, then make a new leg with a slightly larger tenon to,fill the new sized mortise. I don’t want to have to rebuild this leg so does anyone have advice for a different method that would allow me to salvage my leg so it doesn’t end up being fire wood this winter?

Would it be at all possible to cut out a block and plug the mortise with a matching peice of stock and just recut the mortise on that block?
All suggestions are very appreciated.

-- Semper Fi

9 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


10336 posts in 1633 days

#1 posted 10-08-2016 04:50 AM

Yes you can do that. If you find a piece that matches the grain it will help. There will still be a small glue line but it can be tiny if you do it right.

Maybe a wedged tenon depending on blowout?


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

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1600 days

#2 posted 10-08-2016 05:23 AM

Make the plug walnut to remind you to measure twice & cut once.

AT EASE! I’ll be in the area all day!

Semper Fi


-- Madmark -

View marc_rosen's profile


143 posts in 3328 days

#3 posted 10-08-2016 10:54 AM

Hey Sarge,
Here’s a variation of your suggested method. Enlarge the mortise and then glue some shims to the tenon to increase its size. The glue line in the tenon will not be as noticeable as if you replaced material around the mortise and like the Fridge typed, you can wedge this and the other tenons to match.
Go NAVY, Marc

-- Windsurfing, Woodworking, Weaving, and Woodducks. "Most woodworkers are usually boring holes"

View bondogaposis's profile


4993 posts in 2498 days

#4 posted 10-08-2016 12:25 PM

I would just put a Dutchman in the area of the blow out. It is a workbench after all and it won’t be looking pristine once it gets used.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15581 posts in 2765 days

#5 posted 10-08-2016 12:53 PM

“Yes” to adding material to the leg to fill the mortise. I am curious, however, to see whether it’s ‘very visible’ or indeed ‘huge’ that we’re talking. A pic would help, in other words.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View TheFridge's profile


10336 posts in 1633 days

#6 posted 10-08-2016 01:34 PM

I butchered 2 of the through mortises in my workbench top so i just inlayed a simple rectangle to over them.

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

View Aj2's profile


1725 posts in 1945 days

#7 posted 10-08-2016 01:58 PM

Stop being a slacker and remake part.Take your time and do it right.
Carry the humility of remaking the part with you on your next project.


-- Aj

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3724 days

#8 posted 10-08-2016 02:19 PM

If you square up the mortise then you can glue a shim on the tenon for a snug fit.If your careful with the wood grain and make a nice tight fit on the shim it won’t be noticeable,just take your time trimming the tenon as you fit it to the tenon,as a friend of mine says sneak up on it :)

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Cajunmarine's profile


20 posts in 922 days

#9 posted 10-08-2016 02:35 PM

Thank you all for the comments. I think I’ll definitely just enlarge the mortise and add a little material to the tennon. If it doesn’t look much better I’ll do what the fridge did and inlay a rectangle to cover it. I’ll take some before and after picks once I make it outside later today.

-- Semper Fi

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