Mortise and Tendon question

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Forum topic by Bill7255 posted 11-16-2012 09:30 AM 1229 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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427 posts in 2280 days

11-16-2012 09:30 AM

I will be building a kitchen island. One side will have two 5”x5” legs. I am planning on doing mortise and tendon 90 degrees into each leg. I have never done mortise and tendon and have several questions. Since I will only be doing 2 for each leg, I was going to use the table saw with a dado to create the tendons. I was then planning to just drill for the mortise and either use a chisel or router. I could make my own guide. Is this reasonable or should I look at some type of jig? Also should I put wood dowels through for added strength.



-- Bill R

4 replies so far

View jdmaher's profile


427 posts in 2575 days

#1 posted 11-16-2012 11:53 AM

For only four mortises, I would just drill and chisel.

So long as the tenons are of good size, I wouldn’t bother to “peg” the joint (unless you like the look).

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View jcees's profile


1058 posts in 3794 days

#2 posted 11-16-2012 12:12 PM

Proper draw boring is way cool if you desire the fuss. Can’t be beat for longevity and strength. However, since it is an island I’m assuming it will be a stationary one. That said, you’ll secure it to the floor anyway and you won’t need the added stress of doing good mortise and tenon work. You could pocket screw it together and it would take a direct hit from an RPG to do it harm. I know as I just removed a stick-built peninsula in my old kitchen and it took some doing and it’s construction was Formica over particleboard with glue and staples. Ultimately it was no match for a determined missus with an eight pound sledgehammer.

Anyway, if you’ve never ventured m&t work, have at it. It’s fun. And if you know how but haven’t in a while, shame on you. Get back to work…


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View 489tad's profile


3363 posts in 3007 days

#3 posted 11-16-2012 12:45 PM

If you chop the mortise and mess it up you can always clean it up with a router and a home made jig. No need to buy something. I would cut the mortise first and tenons to fit. You could peg from the inside to hide if you choose. Good luck. Keep us posted.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2966 days

#4 posted 11-16-2012 01:20 PM

By the way, I wouldn’t be cutting tendons with my table saw intentionally; could be very painful.
I bet you meant tenons. :^)

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