LumberJocks

Problems cutting Mortise/Tenon joins

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by Willeh posted 933 days ago 1168 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Willeh's profile

Willeh

228 posts in 971 days


933 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut chisel joining

Good Morning Folks,

Relatively new to the art of hand cutting mortise and tenon joins. First few worked without a hitch and i thought I was getting a knack for it, however the last two i kept experiencing the same problem. I marked out the mortise, then started chiseling it out and about halfway through (Making a through join), I whacked the chisel and the whole piece of stock split, breaking off the end across the mortise. Working with walnut.

Is this just part of the nature of this wood, or, is this happening because i’m trying to go too deep on a pass, or does this mean i need to sharpen up the chisel again?
Any input is welcome,

Thanks

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "


6 replies so far

View RockyTopScott's profile

RockyTopScott

1132 posts in 2110 days


#1 posted 933 days ago

Consider drilling out some of the waste first with a sharp bit. Sharpening the chisel never hurts.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6925 posts in 1545 days


#2 posted 933 days ago

In my limited experience hand-cutting through M&T I did notice that you really need to work the mortise from both sides of the mortise in order to avoid splitting out the exit of the mortise. And chisels can never be too sharp. Just my 2-cents..

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View handyrandyrc's profile

handyrandyrc

33 posts in 936 days


#3 posted 933 days ago

Yeah, while I really wanted to do the whole “I did this project COMPLETELY by hand” thing, I realized there is a much better way to do it. I used a Forstner bit and drill press to hog it out first, then trim the rest by hand.

If you have a bit and brace, you could do it that way, and still be able to say you did the whole thing without electric machines. :)

View stefang's profile

stefang

12935 posts in 1966 days


#4 posted 933 days ago

H-Mike is right. You need to work the mortise from both sides. I suggest you mark-up the mortise and then using a small drill bit, say 1/8” drill, or the smallest drill you have that is long enough, drill all the way through at each of the four inside corners of the mortise. This should ideally be done in a drill press or some other way to insure that the holes are at 90degrees. Now you have the corners accurately marked out on both sides of your mortise and you just have to draw the connecting lines. Working from both sides also prevents blowout on the underside. Good luck. I did a blog on hand cutting a mortise you might find interesting.

http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/11534

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BerBer5985's profile

BerBer5985

420 posts in 1052 days


#5 posted 933 days ago

Check out Paulsellers.com and maybe think about getting his DVDs. He goes very into depth with mortise and tenon joints, dovetail joints, and housing dado joints all by hand. You have to work both sides but you need to be sensitive with the sound of the chisel. When you’re hitting your chisel and the sound changes to a dead sound, you’ve gone far enough and it’s time to move along. It’s hard to explain. He may have a free video on the website. I tried one for the first time last night and it turned out better than expected using that method.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One, www.qualitycarpetonecrofton.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7424 posts in 2279 days


#6 posted 933 days ago

Mortises near the end of a component are best cut before the
final crosscut is made. Leave 2 or 3” of extra wood there
to prevent splitting, then cut it off after the mortise is
cut. Not needed when machine-cutting mortises, though
when drilling and chiseling it still might be a good idea to
leave some extra.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase