For Accurate Joints, Always Mark from the Same Face
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
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.