Floating tenon sizing questions

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Forum topic by AandCstyle posted 02-08-2014 09:52 PM 1701 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3075 posts in 2283 days

02-08-2014 09:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: floating tenon qswo bed joint arts and crafts joining router question

I am making this headboard. It is for a king size bed so the rails are 76” between the legs. I will bolt the headboard to the metal mattress frame. Therefore, the headboard is more decorative than functional.

I will use floating tenons to attach the rails to the legs and to attach the back splats to the rails. The wood is qswo so movement should be minimal. The boards are all 6” wide with the rails 3/4” and the splats 5/8” thick. Would you suggest using a single tenon in the rail to leg joints, say 3” wide or 2 tenons 1.5” wide by 1.5” deep? There should not be much stress on the splats so maybe a single tenon 2” wide by 1” deep? Thanks for the guidance.

-- Art

13 replies so far

View woodenwarrior's profile


231 posts in 2221 days

#1 posted 02-08-2014 09:58 PM

If it were me, I would go with a 3” wide tenon 1 1/2” deep.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View mahdee's profile


3888 posts in 1794 days

#2 posted 02-08-2014 09:59 PM

I can’t see the picture. I think two of them create more stability.


View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#3 posted 02-08-2014 10:04 PM

With a 3” wide tenon in the middle of a 6” board you have a 1.5”
shoulder on it. It may not matter to you, but I prefer to put
tenons closer to the edge, so I would use two. This prevents
the board from doing a gumby thing as it moves. With quartersawn
this is not a big issue, but I would still use 2 tenons.

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4118 days

#4 posted 02-08-2014 10:10 PM

Hi Art, hope you’re doing well.

As you described the joint, it is not “load bearing” so you could go either way.

I’d go with 2 tenons, but I’d do them at 2”w spacing the shoulders evenly. The 1.5” depth should be fine.

-- Nicky

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2650 days

#5 posted 02-08-2014 10:14 PM

Art, I of course went overkill, but I am pretty sure this thing will not rack (it is a young couple) over time. My materiall is considerably larger than what you will be using and I did not employ the metal frame,

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Grumpymike's profile


2263 posts in 2341 days

#6 posted 02-08-2014 10:35 PM

hi Art,
I printed the picture to see it clearly. Like Nicky said, either joint, the solid or the dual tenon would work just fine.
Roy Underhill did a segment on the dual tenon and how it added the strength to the joint.
I would do the dual tenon for the practice and experience … just sayin …
With your flair for the Arts & Crafts look you could put dowel pins through the tenon, ... just a thought.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2283 days

#7 posted 02-09-2014 01:38 AM

Thanks for the input. I think I will use double 2” tenons 1.5” deep for the rails and single 2” tenons 1” deep for the splats unless anyone has any serious reservations with this plan. I won’t start cutting them until tomorrow afternoon.

-- Art

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3390 days

#8 posted 02-09-2014 01:54 AM

Agree on the double tenons. I would go beefy and sink them half the thickness of the posts. I would use 3/8” thick tenon stock. They do need to provide racking resistance on the headboard.

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)


5706 posts in 2839 days

#9 posted 02-09-2014 02:54 AM

OOOH that is going to look nice. The plan has just the right style, and I like the wide / curved slats.
I think a pair of 2” tenons will work great, or a single 4” tenon (whichever is easier for you to cut).

As far as the slats, 2” x 1” deep tenons will be plenty strong.

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

View basswood's profile


261 posts in 1647 days

#10 posted 02-09-2014 02:25 PM

This post reminded my of a quote making the rounds on Twitter:

“WANTED: a man who can break my headboard..not my heart. He also needs to be able to fix headboard.


View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2877 days

#11 posted 02-09-2014 04:37 PM

1” is way deep for the splats; lots of extra work hogging out the mortises. 5/8 would be plenty. Do you have a Scout troop coming in to help you with assembly?



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2995 days

#12 posted 02-09-2014 04:39 PM

Another vote for two tenons, that will be a gorgeous piece when finished.

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2283 days

#13 posted 02-10-2014 02:22 AM

It was nice hearing from everyone. No scout troup and LOML even says she will be deserting me the day the splats are getting installed. :D I cut the mortises with my router so there is little difference in the work/time involved for the cutting depth. Little progress was made today because the phone kept ringing…..

Again, my thanks to everyone for the assistance.

-- Art

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