Tenons on long rails (boards) - Router Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Default Tenons on long rails (boards)

Hi - I'm building a 7x7 ft door for my workshop and attempting my first mortise and tennon joinery project. The rails and stiles are 8/4 thick poplar 5 inches wide and 7 feet long.

I originally planned to do floating tenons but have realized I won't be able to create the mortise in the end of the rails because they are so long. I thought about using the hay loft in my barn and attempting to route those out from 7 feet above - but decided against that.

I've read a lot of suggestions on the Internet and they are all really complicated and prone to error. What does this expert group think of the the following plan. Could anything go wrong with this approach?

- Line up the three 5inch wide boards on my table edge to edge (all flat). Add a forth extra board top pto prevent tear out and provide extra base for the router.

- set my edge guide to route a line 3 inches (length of tenon) across all of the boards at once and route to the depth of the tennon

- flip the boards over and route the same line across the board - I now have cut an identical line for the cheek on both sides.

- flip the boards 90 degrees so they are on their sides and do the same line across both sides. In my case I will have to change the depth of the router since the depth to the tenon is different on The sides


- I should hopefully have enough material for the edge guide to ride along since I only ran the first line for the shoulders and the rest of the board is intact

- if the edge guide hasn't moved and I had a steady hand I should have a perfect routed line for the shoulder all the way around each board.

- while I have the proper depth for the sides I can route out the rest of the side of the tenons

- set the router depth back to the first depth and remove the remaining wood from the first cut with the boards flat. This is the only step where perfectly setting the router to the same depth will be critical.

This all seems too easy and I would have expected to see many YouTube videos and woodworking articles showing the method. So I assume something will go wrong that my novice self isn't thinking about.

Any thoughts from this seasoned group?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 09:50 PM
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why are you doing tenons on the ends of the long boards (stiles) and not mortises on the edges??

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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I'm doing mortises on the side stiles which I thought were the vertical members. Then I have a top, center, and bottom rail which are horizontal and will have a tenon that goes into the mortise of the stile. So these long rails will need tenons on both ends.

Did I get my nomenclature wrong?
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 10:33 PM
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Welcome Drosner. The nomenclature is correct. The tenons are easy. How do you plan on making the deep mortices to match?

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 07:16 AM
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HI,

Your technique for the tenons will work but the critical positioning of the shoulder cut will be hard to get in exactly the same place on both sides of each stile. If the are not exact you will have a gap on one side. I read about a method that solves the problem and can say from personal experience that it works.

Basically you make a "sleeve" with an opening just tall enough to slide over the thickness of the stile and with the opening about a quarter inch wider than the stile on each side. The whole rectangular "sleeve" should be about 5 inches deep.

To use it , you slide it over the end of the stile and position it the same way you proposed with your edge guide, I.e. So that your router base rides against it at the right place to cut the shoulder. Then use wedges on the edge of the sleeve( remember you left a quarter inch space on each side). This will hold it plenty tight. Route one side, flip over board and all, route the other and you have perfectly matching shoulders on the faces of each long stile.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks - I have seen that method and will go that direction. I'm not sure why using an edge guide isn't the same thing though? If the guide remains fixed and I do it relative to the same edge of the boards I should get a consistent cut right?

For my mortises I found a 3 inch long bit. I'll need to round the tenons but I believe the cheeks are the important part and I can have some space on the cheek edges.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 08:01 AM
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Couple of things to add...

1. Your lumber must be EXACTLY the same thickness in order for your method to work...or the tennons will be different sizes for each board.
2. Safe to assume you plan on doing the mortises first...? Then match the tennon to the mortise...? Test cuts...?
3. Consider hogging out the entire tennon rather than going back and matching the initial depth setting to hog it out later...
4. Gonna be a heavy door...what will you do to keep it square after it's hung...? Is it a sliding door or will it be hung...?
5. Will you be pinning the mortise and tennons...?

Your approach should work just fine...

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Oh - and with that jig it only handles 2 sides of the board. I'll need to build a second jig for the side that is 90 degrees from the face.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 08:17 AM
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The tricky part with the edge guide method is that you have to position it exactly the same distance from the end when you turn the boards over. With the sleeve type jig, it is already set up to do both sides exactly in the same place relative to the end of the board.

As far as the sides, you could use a back saw to cut the shoulders.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 09:24 AM
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To do the edges with a router I would clamp all 3 together with the ends flushed up. Assuming your jig cut all the faces the same then the shoulders of all 3 should line up. Clamp a straight edge in line with all the shoulders and use a top bearing pattern bit that will follow the straight edge. You should be able to get close enough that any gap would be so small it shouldn't show. You'll need to start the straight edge out near the tips and work your way back to the shoulders since the router will be sitting on it to make the cuts.

I would also make a mortice in a piece of scrap to use a test fit instead of using a stile.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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