First mortise and tenon joint by hand

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Forum topic by BerBer5985 posted 02-05-2012 08:38 AM 1817 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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445 posts in 2414 days

02-05-2012 08:38 AM

I just had to post this because I was excited, but up until this point I have never cut a mortise and tenon. I’ve been making dovetail boxes which I really enjoy and now I’m ready to move on to make some furniture for the house right after I build my workbench. With that being said, I’ve been watching Paul sellers DVDs and I’ve learned an immense amount about hand tool techniques. Well I wanted to try a through mortise and tenon joint like Paul sellers does it and I’m very happy with the result for my first time. Just squared up a 2×4 I’ve had laying around and figured I’d cut this by hand at 1:00am in the morning. Haha. I highly recommend to anyone Paul sellers DVDs. This joint isn’t perfect by any means but passable for a first time I think.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

9 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3571 days

#1 posted 02-05-2012 08:39 AM

Looks great Greg.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3390 days

#2 posted 02-05-2012 08:42 AM

Not bad at all

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View JAAune's profile


1797 posts in 2311 days

#3 posted 02-05-2012 09:03 AM

Put a couple wedges in there and some water-based glue and most people will probably never be able to tell there are any gaps at all. I’ve had people compliment me on joints that didn’t look as good as the ones in the above pictures.

-- See my work at and

View wdworking's profile


31 posts in 2395 days

#4 posted 02-05-2012 10:48 AM

I would agree with JAAune. Put a couple wedges in there and it will not only add to the strength of the joint but look good. It’s a visible joint in your project is it not?

-- Craig

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 3442 days

#5 posted 02-05-2012 02:54 PM

very nice, my through tenons still need alot of work

-- RKWoods

View Roger's profile


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#6 posted 02-05-2012 04:27 PM

I haven’t made any through tenons yet either. I know I will eventually. looks good Greg

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View graywolf's profile


63 posts in 2687 days

#7 posted 02-05-2012 06:45 PM

Very good, so just keep it up and you will be teaching all of us in no time.

-- Richard, North Carolina,

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 2414 days

#8 posted 02-05-2012 08:47 PM

Thanks guys! As far asthe wedges go, just cut wedges from wood the thickness of the tenon, cut two saw kerfs in the tenon and drive in the wedges, right?

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View JAAune's profile


1797 posts in 2311 days

#9 posted 02-05-2012 09:32 PM

With wedged tenons there’s a few other details that are nice to know besides what you mentioned. For starters, a true wedged tenon joint has angled mortise walls to improve strength. Here’s a good picture of the joint I’m talking about.

For your joint though, I’d just use the wedges with the straight-walled mortise. It would be a good thing to use relief holes like the ones in the picture.

If you intend to make your workbench with this kind of joinery, I’d highly recommend using the actual wedged tenon joint for that project.

-- See my work at and

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