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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  • 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 ...

  • Mortising with a RouterMortising with a Router

    by Gary Rogowski

    Gary Rogowski chopped his first mortise in red oak by hand, learning a lot along the way and sharpening his chisel frequently. Then he bought a router. Here, he ...

  • Making Full-Sized DoorsMaking Full-Sized Doors

    by Joseph Beals

    Joseph Beals used mortise-and-tenon joinery to make doors for his own home because he could cut the joints in a number of ways that didn’t require expensive tools ...

  • Joinery for Light, Sturdy Coffee TableJoinery for Light, Sturdy Coffee Table

    by Lindsay Suter

    Lindsay Suter’s coffee table has exposed joinery: through-tenons, wedged with butterfly keys, join the legs to the top. Narrow stretchers replace more traditional ...

  • Through Mortise-and-Tenon JoineryThrough Mortise-and-Tenon Joinery

    by Jim Richey

    It’s hard to hide mistakes in through mortise-and-tenon joints because these strong, attractive joints show on the other side of the mating piece. Jim Richey prefers ...

  • Angled Tenons on the TablesawAngled Tenons on the Tablesaw

    by William Krase

    William Krase made a crossfeed box and some purpose-made wedges to use with a sliding table to simplify angled and compound-angled tenons. The wedges establish ...

  • Double-Blade Tablesaw TenoningDouble-Blade Tablesaw Tenoning

    by Mac Campbell

    Mac Campbell standardized and streamlined common furnituremaking operations; he explains his joinery shortcut here. His efficient, no-fuss system for cutting tenons ...

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