Mortise Gauge is Key to Tight Mortise-and-Tenon Joints
I have trouble cutting mortises and tenons with hand tools. I cut the tenons too thick, and when I trim them they inevitably end up out of parallel with the faces of the board. What can I do to get past these problems?
Henry Mazzocchio, Cleveland, OH
The key to successful mortise-and-tenon joinery, no matter how you cut them, is laying out the joint precisely and then working up to, but not beyond, your layout lines. The best tool for laying out mortise-and-tenon joints is a mortising gauge. After you set it, use it to mark both the mortise and the tenon so that they are the same thickness. If you then work to your layout lines, you’ll have a joint that fits perfectly.