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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Question Mortise and Tendon Joints

    This may not be the correct category but.... Is there a trick to making a mortise and tendon joint? I use a tendoning jig and mortise machine. I make both the same size. Sometimes they go together fine other times they don't. I really can't make the mortise a little bigger as the mortise chisel dictates the size. Does one need to make the tendon a little bit smaller both width and length wise or one or the other. Or, does making the tendon smaller create a problem.
    Last edited by mister9; 12-11-2010 at 07:16 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    nova scotia, canada

    Default Re: Mortise and Tendon Joints

    the first thing you need to check is that the two pieces you are joining are the exact same thickness and width, from there that they are both flat and true.. from there its just a matter of making precise layouts and setting your tools properly.

    if the peice with the tenon is slightly thicker than the piece with the mortise, there is a chance that the tool setup wont product the correct size tenon,

    as for cutting hte tenon slightly smaller, the only way you should do this is in the lenght, allowing a smal space in the mortise where glue can go and it ensures the shoulder of the tenon will be tight to the joining peice of would

    hope this makes sense
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Northern Virginia

    Default Re: Mortise and Tendon Joints

    Buy a mortise marking gauge; select the face side of all your stock, and gauge from that side. Place the mortise wherever you need it, and cut mortises before making any molded edge. Using the same setting, and gauging from the face side, mark for the tenons. Cut close to the line. I like to finish the tenons with a rabbet plane to get a well-aligned fit. If you screw up, you can glue veneer to the tenon face and then trim again.
    A shoulder plane is nice to get the rail square to the stiles if it hasn't been cut perfectly, but the rabbet plane can do this just as well without another tool purchase.
    You want to check that the M&T is going together in one plane; the stile and rail need to be flat to one another in all directions. This takes careful fitting.
    The key to warp-free doors is to start with stock that has been properly flattened to remove all twist and warp. You can't buy good ready-made door stock, you have to mill it yourself. An 8" long-table jointer is the first tool a door builder needs, before a mortiser certainly.

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