Video: Making tapered wedges on the table sawContributing editor Chris Gochnour demonstrates how he creates wedges at the table saw using just a miter gauge and a stop block.
Wedged mortise-and-tenon joints are a perfect way for woodworkers to amp up both the strength and style of their joinery.
For structural purposes, wedging a mortise-and-tenon spreads the tenon, creating a joint that is tighter than you would otherwise be able to achieve—that is, if you want to be able to put the joint together. Windsor chairs—many of which are still going strong 200 years later–rely on this joint to lock the legs into the seat. Aesthetically, wedged mortise-and-tenons let woodworkers add to the visual presence of a piece. Use the same wood as the tenon, and you add a very subtle flair. Use a high-contrast wood, and you can add a visual statement.
When making the wedges, it’s important to keep the grain running through the length of the wedge; otherwise, your wedge will fall apart before you even try to hammer it into the tenon. Most woodworkers turn to the bandsaw to create these wedges. Michael Fortune’s bandsaw jig for making wedges is simple and effective, which is why it can be found hanging near bandsaws all over the world.
In this video, contributing editor Chris Gochnour demonstrates how he creates wedges at the tablesaw. In fact, Chris’s method doesn’t even use a specialized jig, just a miter gauge and a stop block.
Once you see how simple it is to add wedges to your through-mortise-and-tenons, you’ll likely want to make these wedges by the dozen. Thankfully Chris’s technique makes it just as easy to make a batch!