Want To Try A Mortise And Tendon Joint - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Default Want To Try A Mortise And Tendon Joint

Well here I go again with one of my questions, this time it's about making a mortise and tendon joint. I have never tried to do this before and so far the only thing I have done is to try to figure it out in my head. I think that I will attempt to cut the tendon on the band saw. I know that this is going to take some effort to get it right but should be able to do it. The mortise is going to be cut with a straight bit on the router table and so far the the biggest problem that I see will be getting of the dimensions right so that the fit before glueing is extremely close but will be done by trial and error until I get it right.

My question is this, does my thinking make sense and/or is there another approach that would be simpler. As you all know by now, I'm really new at wood working and can use all the help that I can get.

Thanks,

Jerry
Colorado City, TX
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bowen View Post
Well here I go again with one of my questions, this time it's about making a mortise and tendon joint. I have never tried to do this before and so far the only thing I have done is to try to figure it out in my head. I think that I will attempt to cut the tendon on the band saw. I know that this is going to take some effort to get it right but should be able to do it. The mortise is going to be cut with a straight bit on the router table and so far the the biggest problem that I see will be getting of the dimensions right so that the fit before glueing is extremely close but will be done by trial and error until I get it right.

My question is this, does my thinking make sense and/or is there another approach that would be simpler. As you all know by now, I'm really new at wood working and can use all the help that I can get.

Thanks,

Jerry
Colorado City, TX
Just a practice joint right? How big of material you going to practice with? (<-- Would determine what to respond with)

...Because, for example, you could do both sides of the joint on a router table.

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"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 12-09-2012 at 01:16 PM.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 01:20 PM
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Mortise first, then tenon on table saw. Use scrap for setup of tenon thickness. Handsaw to fit length of tenon.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 01:50 PM
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Mortise first, then tenon on table saw. Use scrap for setup of tenon thickness. Handsaw to fit length of tenon.
With any technique or tooling, I do the same way. Make the mortise, create the tenon to fit. First by making it a little big. Then taking it down to fit. The tenon is the fitted part of the joint. That's where I think practice is concentrated.

As for tooling, I can think of 10 ways off the top of my head. If it's practice on his bandsaw he wants... after marking and determining the measurements of the tenon- the tenon diameter and width. That wills determine the face and edge measurements from the leg. Set a stop block at the tenon length. Set the fence to that measurement (slightly less so that it can be fit). Cut the tenon edges and faces. Set the fence at the tenon length, set the stop block at the shoulder depth. Use a miter gauge and cut the shoulders... Fit to the mortise.

Fitting? Shoulder plane, chisel, sanding block, etc.

richtink-
Why do you use a hand saw to trim a tenon to length after using power tools for your other tooling? Just curious. It I were to get out a good handsaw to work on it, I would wonder why I just didn't go ahead and do it all with that. Just saying if those where the skills I wanted to practice, then I would practice.

Yes. Hand Saw, Table saw with a tenoning jig, Table saw with a dado, Table Saw in a Sled, Band saw, Planes, Router Table, Plunge router with jigs... etc, etc. So many choices.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 12-09-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 01:52 PM
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Experiment on cheap timber. make your mortice as you say, on the router table. Consider using Norm Abram's technique of reversing the piece and passing it through the cutter again, so that the final mortice is dead-centre in the workpiece. Don't ask the cutter to take off too much wood in one go - before routing, drill some holes and do some hand-chiselling in the mortice to remove as much wood as you can. Try to visualise the router cutter as it works - leave somewhere for the chips to go.
Once you have the mortice cut you can cut the tenon on your bandsaw - again, experiment on scrap so that the thickness of the tenon matches your mortice. One set-up of the bandsaw should do it, once you've cut down the side of the tenon, flip the workpiece over and cut the other side. maybe you could use a stop-block to ensure the depth of both cuts is both equal and correct. The final cut on the shoulders of the tenon could be done with your bandsaw if you have a high-quality accurate guide, but personally I'd use a tenon saw, called a back-saw in the USA. I'd score the lines witha craft knife to get a very clean edge to the piece.

Hope that helps?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Just a practice joint right? How big of material you going to practice with? (<-- Would determine what to respond with)

...Because, for example, you could do both sides of the joint on a router table.
Mike,
Actually I'm planning on using the joint on a small table. The legs on the table are or will be about 2" square with the mortises being cut on two sides at the top end of each of each of the four legs. The tendons will be on the ends of workpieces that are 3/4" x 2" x (the length is not important here).

I looked at a mortise and tendon jig but it requires a plunge router. My PC has a plunge base, I have never tried to use it. The motor of the router is mounted in a life in the router table and taking it out to use as a plunge router is not a project that I want to do if I can avoid it.

Jerry
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 02:51 PM
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Jerry, making the tenon on a router table is fine but making a mortice on a RT is not good because you would have to push the board down on a spinning bit. The only safe way I know to make a mortice with the router is to clamp the board in a bench vise and make a jig that sits over the end of the board that will place the router in the correct position and plunge a bit in. I don't do it this way so I can't show you one. I use this Image Detail for - Delta tenon jig review and this Image Detail for - Tip #10 Mortise and Tenon Mortise -and-tenon joints are some of the ... which attaches to the quill on my drill press.

As already said, make the mortice first. It is much easier to change the tenon to fit. By using a tenon jig like the Delta I have, you can edge the jig closer to the blade to trim close to fit and the fine tune as Mike suggested. You don't have to have a tenon jig like mine. You can make one out of plywood and use the fence on the TS to guide it.

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 #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 03:06 PM
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richtink-
Why do you use a hand saw to trim a tenon to length after using power tools for your other tooling? Just curious. It I were to get out a good handsaw to work on it, I would wonder why I just didn't go ahead and do it all with that. Just saying if those where the skills I wanted to practice, then I would practice.

Yes. Hand Saw, Table saw with a tenoning jig, Table saw with a dado, Table Saw in a Sled, Band saw, Planes, Router Table, Plunge router with jigs... etc, etc. So many choices.[/QUOTE]

I sold my bandsaw, so I try not to think in those terms. I didn't mean a carpenters saw, just a small back saw. Easier than setting the table saw again to make cuts on a vertical board. Also, I didn't mean a dado blade or tenoning jig on the table saw, just set fence for depth of shoulder and eat away the material.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 03:50 PM
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Jerry, if you want to see a video showing how to do a mortise and tenon (not tendon) joint check out THIS post, download the PDF and click on podcast #2. I posted a list of Woodsmith podcasts showing all facets of woodworking that will answer a ton of your questions. To me a picture is worth a thousand words.

George
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 09:09 AM
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All the advice given is good. As already stated it is best to use the router as a plunger rather than the router table. I can understand not wanting to remove the router since 99% of your work can be done on the table. Going this route you will need to use a downward spiral bit, in addition to getting the dust out it will also tend to pull the wood down. If you don't have one check out MLCS.
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