how to make m and t joint

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Forum topic by ryan posted 05-28-2011 03:21 PM 3355 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 2520 days

05-28-2011 03:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joining question chisel router drill-driver arts and crafts shaker

hey i have never made a real m and t joint and was wondering what was the best way to make one. i tried a littel bit ago to make one with my dewalt drill and a chisel but it didnt work out. so what do you think is the best way

7 replies so far

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2618 days

#1 posted 05-28-2011 10:56 PM

If you don’t have a dedicated mortising machine then a router and tablesaw. Use the router to cut your mortises and the tablesaw to cut matching tenons.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3014 days

#2 posted 05-28-2011 11:53 PM

It really depends on the tools you have available?

Don’s suggestion of the router for the mortises is a good one, followed by cutting the tenons on the TS. Then just take your chisel and square up the mortises (to avoid the square peg in a round hole issue).

There are also jigs out there that can be made or bought to only use your router to cut both the mortises and tenons.

Or you can use a drill press to hog out most of the mortise, then clean it up with a chisel.

You could even use something akin to a doweling jig if all you have is a drill, then clean the mortises up with your chisel. That will at least insure your drill is straight.

What tools do you all have at your disposal?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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2608 posts in 3014 days

#3 posted 05-29-2011 12:09 AM

Here’s another option for using a drill press. It just took me a few minutes to find it:

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3305 days

#4 posted 05-29-2011 12:18 AM

welcome to LJ’s

try this
the best hand method i know
thanks to mike stefang

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2801 days

#5 posted 05-29-2011 05:24 AM

Thanks for the link Dan, interesting. I have a doweling jig and a mortise machine (low grade so it’s collecting dust in a corner). Whatever method you use, always… always cut your mortise first and fit the tenon to it. When cutting the tenon, always under cut it (so it’s a tad larger then the mortise cavity). Then shave it down to the right fit.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View ryan's profile


21 posts in 2520 days

#6 posted 06-04-2011 03:32 AM

the tools i have are a jointer thickness planer table saw miter saw drill skill saw and some cheap chisels and a realy old lamanit trimmer with bad depth ajustment and i dont see how i could use any of these to make a mortis thanks for the help

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#7 posted 06-04-2011 03:40 AM

Get a 3/8” mortise chisel on ebay.

I started out making my own mortise chisel from 1/2” thick
oil-hardening steel. I read how to do it in Fine Woodworking.

I was hardcore. There was no ebay to buy from, which is the
best place to get mortise chisels in my opinion, unless you’re
in a part of the country where they show up at flee markets
(Northeast, yes. Southwest? no.)

You can get a beat-up mortise chisel on ebay for about 10 bucks.
You’ll need a decent bench and you chop the mortise over the
leg. Your first project can be making yourself a wood carpenters
mallet to pound your chisel with. Just one mortise required.

I did all this stuff. Now I rule at woodworking :)

Cutting tenons is made easier with a table saw to define the shoulders.

The cheeks can be cut with a self-made tenoning jig on the table
saw, or ripped by hand with a bandsaw or handsaw. For trimming
the shoulders and cheeks you’ll need some sharp chisels and a
wider one makes trimming the cheek easier.

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