Mortise and Tenon Joints

Without a doubt, the mortise-and-tenon joint is used more than any other for woodwork and furniture. There are literally hundreds of variations on the basic joint, but they all work in the same way. The Basics: • By hand or machine: Chisels and handsaws
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  • Chop a Hinge MortiseVideo: Chop a Hinge Mortise

    with Garrett Hack

    Rough out the mortise, then chop and pare to the lines

  • Cutting a Wedged MortiseVideo: Cutting a Wedged Mortise

    with John Nesset

    Cut a flare into the mortise to accommodate the wedging action

  • Fitting a Fat TenonVideo: Fitting a Fat Tenon

    with Jeff Miller

    Three tips to fine-tuning the fit of a mortise-and-tenon joint

  • How to Make a Floating TenonVideo: How to Make a Floating Tenon

    with Lon Schleining

    Mill the tenon stock once you've established the size of the mortises

  • Using a Shopmade Mortising JigVideo: Using a Shopmade Mortising Jig

    with Jeff Miller

    A sturdy jig, used with a plunge router and edge guide, ensures well-cut mortises

  • Perfect Mortise-and-Tenon JointsPerfect Mortise-and-Tenon Joints

    by Jeff Miller

    Using a plunge router, tablesaw, edge guide, and shopmade jig, Jeff Miller makes mortise-and-tenon joints that fit right every time. Here, he shares his technique ...

  • Understanding Wood MovementUnderstanding Wood Movement

    by Christian Becksvoort

    Wood is a living, breathing material, and as a result it moves. Learning why and where it moves will help you become a better furniture maker. In this article, ...

  • The Mighty WedgeThe Mighty Wedge

    by John Nesset

    Wedged mortise-and-tenon joinery is a low-tech but effective method of joining wood, and it evokes a sense of timeless craftsmanship matched only by dovetails and ...

  • Joining Legs to ApronsJoining Legs to Aprons

    by Garrett Hack

    The life of a table is not easy. All the stress concentrates on the leg-to-apron joint, which holds a table together. Here, Garrett Hack offers step-by-step directions ...

  • Floating-Tenon JoineryFloating-Tenon Joinery

    by Lon Schleining

    Once you have a simple system for making mortise-and-tenon joints, constructing tables, chairs, and case goods can become a straightforward, fast, and consistent ...

  • Double Mortise and Tenon Improves Joint StrengthDouble Mortise and Tenon Improves Joint Strength

    by Craig Vandall Stevens

    This article explains how to design and execute a double mortise-and-tenon joint. First, prepare the stock with the end use in mind, and then think through the ...

  • Testing Joints to the Breaking PointTesting Joints to the Breaking Point

    by Bruce Gray

    Using the laboratory at the Wood Science and Technology Center of the University of New Brunswick, Bruce Gray tested joints and talked to experts about why joints ...

  • Tenoning StrategiesTenoning Strategies

    by Gary Rogowski

    Gary Rogowski offers an introductory look at tenons, detailing six variations of the ubiquitous joint, and offers a number of methods to cut a tenon with hand or ...

  • Designing the Wedged Mortise and TenonDesigning the Wedged Mortise and Tenon

    by Carl Swensson

    When a table wobbles or a chair squeaks, it’s usually just bad joinery design, says Carl Swensson. Good design buys time against use and abuse that all furniture ...

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