How to Make a Drawbored Mortise and Tenon Joint
A great thing about woodworking is that there’s always something new to learn. On a recent hayrake table project, I decided to use draw-bore pegs for the first time. They helped solve a tricky glue up where clamping proved to be difficult. They came to the rescue again on a small sewing table I just built for my wife.
I’ve known about draw-bore pegs for quite a while, but it’s one of those techniques that seemed antiquated or fussy and difficult to get right. Whatever the reason, I never got around to giving it a try. But now that I have, I realize what a great weapon it is to have in my glue-up arsenal. Basically it’s an offset hole in a mortise and tenon joint. When you drive in a peg, it pulls the joint tightly together. No clamps necessary. It really works and it’s really easy to do.
The trick is to drill the holes in 2 steps:
|Step one:||Start by drilling a hole through the mortised piece. Dry-assemble the pieces and mark the center point of the hole on the tenon with a drill bit.|
|Step two:||Pull the pieces apart and drill a hole in the tenon offset 1/32 toward the shoulder. I think it was the 1/32 offset that always scared me. It sounded techy, like something I needed to get exactly right in order for the joint to work. In reality, it’s as easy as taking an awl and eyeballing a center point just toward the shoulder from the drill-bit mark.|
To make the pegs, I pounded some square stock through a dowel plate and tapered the end in a pencil sharpener.
You can watch me execute this technique in an excerpt from my Video Workshop series on building an Arts & Crafts-Style Hayrake Table:
See Mike’s Entire Video Workshop Series:
|How to Build an Arts and Crafts Dining Table|
The lower stretcher gives this hayrake dining table it's unique look, but it also posed a clamping challenge.
The odd angles of the joinery made it difficult to position clamps across all of the joints.
The solution was to let the pegs clamp the joint for me.
Here's another project where draw-bore pegs came in handy.
This open bridle joint with protruding ends would require some inventive cauls to clamp in place, but a draw-bore peg pulled the joint together without a problem.