Types of Tenons

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Forum topic by saltzmanjoelh posted 12-16-2012 06:38 PM 1050 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1429 days

12-16-2012 06:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tenon

I have see plantation shutters made with this type of tenon

While cabinet doors are made with this type of tenon

Why would you use the second one that seems like it has less support at the bottom rather than the top one?

8 replies so far

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3156 days

#1 posted 12-16-2012 06:53 PM

The bottom one allows for faster machining. Some were re-enforced with dowels. They both make strong joints if done correctly..

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1444 days

#2 posted 12-17-2012 01:29 AM

I have seen it suggested that the lower tenon leaves the mortised piece somewhat vulnerable to racking, since the slot is open at the end, if that should be a concern. With my mortising machine (bench top), I always make the upper type. I have also set up a tenoning jig on my shaper that makes beautiful tenons like the upper example, so it’s just as easy for me to do it that way.
Come to think of it, plantation shutters might be subject to considerable stresses, if they’re truly used as a storm shutter.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#3 posted 12-17-2012 02:25 AM

There’s a couple others one similar to the top with a hanched tenion and the loose tenon,faster and stronger.

-- Custom furniture

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7696 posts in 1799 days

#4 posted 12-17-2012 04:25 AM

The bottom one is used in frame and panel doors since you have to cut the groove anyway. There are several variations.


View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1444 days

#5 posted 12-18-2012 06:41 AM

Yes, the groove for the panels was also the mortise for the tenons in my kitchen cabinets. I did make them a bit deeper than usual though, and where I had glass doors, used much deeper mortises and longer tenons, and simply routed a rabbet for the glass (could never figure out how to replace the glass in a door where the panel was trapped in the groove).

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


930 posts in 1773 days

#6 posted 12-18-2012 08:52 AM

well, in olden days they would peg those tenon joints. However now, we primarily use mortise and tenon joints to increase glueing surface area so that the glue joints are stronger. Now racking is mostly a concern when the piece is assembled without ensuring that the piece is actually square to begin with. but it’s really not hard to fix if you know the super secret cabinet maker trick of oh wait, secret and all lol.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View lowellmk's profile


61 posts in 1391 days

#7 posted 01-02-2013 07:51 PM

The nice thing about M&T joints is that they offer a lot of gluing surface area. I think the longer tenon would be a bit stronger but probably not by a lot.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4824 posts in 2232 days

#8 posted 01-02-2013 07:56 PM

I normally prefer standard shouldered tenons for their superior resistance to racking forces.
However, open mortises allow the rail or stile to be inserted after subassembly. For instance on carcase construction, you could glue up a front rail first and drop a rear rail in later.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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