Q: I’m learning to cut mortise-and-tenon joints by hand, but I only have a marking gauge with one cutter. How can I use it to lay out the joint accurately? Ismael Salazar, Schaumberg, IL A: You don’t need a two-cutter mortising gauge to lay out this joint. Just mark the two sides of the mortise and tenon one at a time, and be sure to lay out all the lines using the same face of your parts as a reference. That way, the joints will align perfectly even if your stock thickness varies slightly. Although it might seem intuitive to set your marks from each side to ensure a centered tenon, it is more accurate to mark all lines from the same face. First, mark the front face of each piece using a lumber crayon. Next, set the marking gauge for one side of the mortise and mark all of the mortises. Keep the same setting on the gauge and mark the sides and top of the tenons. Then reset the gauge for the other side of the mortise—the distance between the two gauge lines should be a hair wider than one of your chisels. Now mark the second line on…
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In this video, Matt takes some of the lessons learned in episodes 3 & 4 and builds on them to demonstrate the North Bennet Street method for the half-blind, or half-lapped, dovetails on the toolbox drawers.
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