Messed up my Mortises

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Forum topic by wseand posted 11-30-2010 01:09 AM 1407 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2796 posts in 3216 days

11-30-2010 01:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question alder joining

I have accidentally made several of my mortises about an 1/8th plus too deep. Do you all think I need to fix this or can I get away with leaving it the way it is. Not the best pic but hopefully it helps.

17 replies so far

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3407 days

#1 posted 11-30-2010 01:14 AM

I fail to see a problem there except that the sides of the mortise are exposed.

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View Roper's profile


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#2 posted 11-30-2010 01:17 AM

You can always glue some veneer strips in to fill the gap.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

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2796 posts in 3216 days

#3 posted 11-30-2010 01:25 AM

Yeah I messed up on that too dbhost. I wasn’t thinking at all. Fortunately they will not be exposed. I am trying to whip out four bookcases by Christmas, and I am rushing. Bad idea.. I think I will throw some veneer in there and move on. Thanks gents.

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4541 posts in 3249 days

#4 posted 11-30-2010 02:05 AM

Can you cut the shoulders back a little to make it fit better?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3098 days

#5 posted 11-30-2010 02:22 AM

Cut a thin slip of wood and insert in the bottom. Sand it and it will be fine.
If you take a poll you will probably find out we all have done that at one time or another :-)

-- Life is good.

View CampD's profile


1724 posts in 3661 days

#6 posted 11-30-2010 02:42 AM

like Howie, cut thin strips to fit the gap, I have used the cut-offs from cutting the cheeks, usually fit good

-- Doug...

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3216 days

#7 posted 11-30-2010 03:00 AM

I have glued some pieces in the bottom there and waiting for them to dry. I may need to clean them up a bit. I figured it wouldn’t hurt and it is better than just living with it.

@rich These need to be at 1/2” but if I pushed them out half the distance it wouldn’t actually cause that much of a problem if I did it to all the stiles.

@GW, I figured I would hate myself if I didn’t clean them up, I try to get them as tight as possible. I like to see the glue on all surfaces. But, I am learning as I go.

Thanks again Gents.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3281 days

#8 posted 11-30-2010 03:41 AM

Don’t worry about it. All the strength is in the cheeks anyway. I leave a 1/16-1/8” open in the bottom for the glue so it doesn’t push out as much.

View ChuckV's profile


3175 posts in 3702 days

#9 posted 11-30-2010 03:48 AM

The bottom is really not important. Think of a through M & T joint – there is no bottom to the mortise! Another reason to leave 1/16” or so at the bottom is in case the piece with the mortise shrinks. You do not want to have anything break.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View PurpLev's profile


8541 posts in 3823 days

#10 posted 11-30-2010 03:58 AM

the bottom has no mechanical strength as it is end gain to long grain – not really a good glue joint anyways. actually, many people leave an extra 1/8” at the bottom of the mortise for excess glue to drain to.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3216 days

#11 posted 11-30-2010 04:05 AM

Very good points the next ones will be a little looser at the bottoms. I guess I always figured the tighter the better. I do forget about movement and keeping a little of that glue in there. This project I am attempting to go without any screws or nails, well maybe some pins. Why did I say, “by Christmas no prob”.

Thanks again Gents.

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3575 days

#12 posted 11-30-2010 05:29 PM

That’s what mine look like all the time, never worried about it.

View poopiekat's profile


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#13 posted 11-30-2010 06:04 PM

Ditto on the little tapered wedges. Makes a bad joint look lots better.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4199 days

#14 posted 12-01-2010 05:56 AM

The key on a mortise and tenon joint is to have a smooth – not tight – fit. There has to be just a hair of room for the glue film. Find a YouTube video (or one here) of someone that has made a good joint and watch how it goes together. You’ll get the idea of the kind of fit you need.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3216 days

#15 posted 12-01-2010 06:03 AM

Thanks Robert I plan to do some more research and some more practice. I always think I am doing it right till I have to fix it. 8~)>

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