Very basic loose tenon.question

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Forum topic by C_PLUS_Woodworker posted 09-05-2014 07:02 PM 962 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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601 posts in 2328 days

09-05-2014 07:02 PM

I am so new and dumb many things.

Got my MortisePal. Think I am going to like it.

Practiced a lot. A LOT

Using 1/4” x 1 1/4” loose tenons

Now ready to put the upper and lower rails and stiles on an entry way cherry table.

I have my plunges set to mortise 1/2” holes in the legs. The legs are only 1 3/4 square. From what I have read that depth is about right for the leg mortides.

I could drill much deeper mortides into the rails and stiles.

Should I ?

Is that good technique?

Intuitively it makes sense but with all the bonding strength of the glues it makes me wonder if I should just drill all the mortides at 1/2”

Any other comments re loose tendon joinery would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks in advance


4 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3844 posts in 1914 days

#1 posted 09-05-2014 08:18 PM

Usually if I need longer tenons (deeper mortises) than 1/2”, I’d go up in tenon thickness to 3/8” or so, that lets you cut the deeper mortises with a larger bit. Cutting mortises deeper with a 1/4” bit can be done, and sometimes breaks bits. Personally, I’d stay at the 1/2” depth for what your doing…my guess is a m entry way table won’t be carrying a heavy load annd those tenons should be plenty strong.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4825 posts in 2234 days

#2 posted 09-05-2014 10:25 PM

I make tenons just about as long as the legs will allow. Where rails intersect in legs, I miter the tenons. I am comfortable with 3/4” long tenons, but 1-1/4” tenons are even stronger. Making a little sketch of the top of the leg will help you decide on dimensions.
Here is a 1.75” square leg with intersecting 3/4” long tenons. The tenons are 1/4” thick. The offset of the rails on the legs makes a difference too. In this case they are centered.

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

View AandCstyle's profile


2538 posts in 1678 days

#3 posted 09-05-2014 10:56 PM

Bruce, I like to make the mortise a bit deeper than the length of the tenon to make space for any excess glue. I also bevel the ends of the tenons a bit to make them easier to insert. Finally, don’t over tighten the bolt that is used to clamp your MortisePal to your stock. HTH

-- Art

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


601 posts in 2328 days

#4 posted 09-06-2014 06:02 PM

you guys are so skilled and smart and experienced.

I mean it….............. thanks for the time you took to give me the detailed guidance you did.


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