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Mortice and Tenon techniques.

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Adam

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Seems we are always asking questions for a specific project, so I thought I'd start a thread on techniques for cutting mortice and tenons. I'm hoping people will be able to add any hints and tips, and photographs, make comments about both machine and hand cuts versions etc etc.

I cut some M+T recently. I used the woodrat for the tenones, and a morticer to cut the slots. I opted for shoulders to eliminate any risk of twist.

Cutting the tenons on the woodrat.


With the shoulders cut


Out the morticer:


Final cuts for assembly


The finished joint.



I'll start with a question then. I was told to always leave some excess on the mortice, which is cut off later. This ensure the morticer does no cause any breakdown - I've always picked an arbitary length - is it A) really neccasary:?: , and B) is their a rule about how much to leave?:?:



Also... when adding wedges - is their a rule about how thick the wedge should be at the oustide, and how far into the tenon it should go? :?:



Anyone else got any preferred techniques?

PS: Does anyone else nip of the edges of tenons - I did these on a stationary belt sander but I normally use a block plane. Is it really worth it?:?:

 

wizer

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i'd love to hear people's techniques for making M&T's on the Router Table.. As my first attempt failed miserably.
 

tim

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I have to say that for 99% of M&Ts I use the Leigh FMT jig. I bought one after seeing Aragorn's kitchen post and have never looked back.

Cheers

Tim
 

Adam

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Here was Aragorns stuff in progres....





Adam
 

dedee

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I cut some tenons on the table saw recently as can be seen here.
http://www.geocities.com/dedeeswoodwork ... gress2.htm

edit: the website seems to be suffering from bandwidth overload so I thought I'd insert them in the thread.

cutting the tenons on the table saw


the rough cut tenons, the waste just snaps off


cleaning up with a chisel


cutting a mortice- not all the way to end



the result



I do not have any other electronic method of cutting them and this worked out fine for the job in hand although I have my reservations about cutting them this way on more refined projects.

I too chamfered the ends of the tenons to ease the fit.

I marked the mortices from the tenon and chopped them out by machine.

With such soft wood I was able to aim and achieve a very tight fit.

Andy
 

Alf

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Well my last M&T's were something of a hybrid. The mortises were hacked out by hand thus:

Very easy to do when you already have a groove to guide you. Holding them all clamped together like that also made it quick, and greatly reduced the risk of side blow-out.

But the tenons were a terrible mish-mash; shoulders cut on the SCMS (first time), cheeks on the bandsaw and cleaned up with shoulder plane and skew block:


But just prior to that I'd finally got round to trying the 'Rat method of cutting tenons using the side rails, stop and a block which worked very well and confirms me in finding the 'Rat one of the best ways to do tenons. I've still to get on with the 'Rat for mortises though. For lots of mortises, I'm afraid the tailed router and Roy Sutton's jig is where I turn:


I did try the mortising attachment on the Record drill stand once or twice, but I didn't warm to it much.

Truth is I seem to have avoided M&T's a good deal, often in favour of sliding dovetails, so I still tend to try alternatives every time and there are so many different ways to achieve the same thing I'll probably keep doing so for a while yet.

Cheers, Alf
 

Chris Knight

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I have tried all the methods mentioned so far plus numerous others. My favourite remains as follows:-

Cut mortices with a router (handheld, with two fences and a bit the diameter of which is the size of the mortice to be made, is a set up that copes with 90% of situations). This results in the smoothest walled and cleanest bottom mortices I can make.

Then cut tenons on the router table using an Incra positioning device. Start by cutting a fraction oversize and creep up on the final measurement - do this for the two sets of shoulders and simply use the repetitive abilities of the Incra for each piece to be tenoned. Round the corners with a rasp or carving gouge of the right sweep. Sounds complicated but is very fast and super accurate.

Make the mortices a sixteenth of an inch deeper than the tenons, leaving somewhere for excess glue to go.

I tend to make my M/Ts closer fitting than I need and if I have made them in another way than I describe and have to take a mallet to the dry fit, I will often use poly glue for its lubricating properties, rather than risk PVA.

I always like to consider using and frequently do use, loose tenons. The Woodrat is my tool of choice for this. It saves a lot of wood and is super easy.
 

Adam

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waterhead37":1osnp37l said:
Make the mortices a sixteenth of an inch deeper than the tenons, leaving somewhere for excess glue to go.
Thats interesting, I don't think I've ever considered that :oops:

waterhead37":1osnp37l said:
I will often use poly glue for its lubricating properties, rather than risk PVA.
Someone else mentioned PVA recently. I never realised it had such an effect.

waterhead37":1osnp37l said:
I always like to consider using and frequently do use, loose tenons. The Woodrat is my tool of choice for this. It saves a lot of wood and is super easy.
Can you tell me a little more about when you'd use them?

Adam
 

MikeW

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Hi Adam,

As can be seen below, I usually cut to length and mortice right to the end. The pic shows the morticer going deeper than the haunch. Mortice is 3/8" wide. Fact, these are double M&T.



Here I'm cutting the tenons. Bandsaw them mostly. Smaller ones I'll do on the Rat (like tonight on some doors).



I always make set up blocks for larger work and save them in case I ruin something. Aids in setting a machine back up. It can be seen in front of the test fit in the next picture.



I also make mortices a 1/16" or so deeper for glue. I (almost) always chamfer the ends of the tenons, usually with a chisel if I have been paring, otherwise a block plane.

I also do loose tenons quite a bit and on smaller work I'll use the BeadLock system for drilling the mortices and make my own stock.

And lastly, I too do mortices by hand. For work that doesn't have many M&Ts, it seems just as fast.

Mike
 

Chris Knight

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Adam, you can use loose tenons pretty much anywhere you'd use regular ones without haunches. I just cut the mortises with the router - using the Woodrat usually because it is so excellent for routing in the end grain of say rails, that will be loose tenoned to stiles. The loose tenon stock is ripped from a length of some suitable scrap hardwood and the edges rounded on the router table to match the mortise. Since I tend to use the same size of tenons a fair bit, I usually have a bit of tenon stock lying around in the common thicknesses of quarter, three eighths, half inch etc.

I use loose tenons as the mood takes me pretty much anywhere and whenever I need to economise on the wood I am using. They are always a useful standby if you mess up a "natural" tenon as you can just cut it off, keeping the rail and then use a loose tenon instead.
 

Philly

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Mike
Is that a carbide tipped bandsaw blade??? What B/S you got? Are they good?
Cheers
InquisitivePhilly :D
 

Neil

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I use loose tenons a lot, largely because they are so easy. I used them for this chair (warning, pine alert!):



and this quick painted bed I knocked up for when we moved house:



Heres one of the tenons:



To make the mortices, I just use a router with guide bush and an ultra-simple jig which takes only a few minutes to make (sorry, gloat is completely unintentional :oops:):



Cheers,
Neil
 

Alf

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Neil":7d2ujpsu said:
quick painted bed I knocked up for when we moved house
Have we seen this before? If not, why not? [-X And unintentional gloat, my left elbow*... :roll:

Cheers, Alf

*The family-friendly alternative to a different part of the anatomy, easily confused with a type of donkey in its 'Murrican version.
 

Neil

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Alf":3u0282v9 said:
Have we seen this before? If not, why not? [-X
Erm, no - it really was supposed to be a make-do bed until I have time to make one I've been planning in Oak, but SWMBO likes it so much that the replacement has gone way down the list of priorities. I highly recommend Farrow & Ball for painted furniture BTW - it goes on really nicely (well, so SWMBO tells me anyway...she very kindly painted this one for me)

Alf":3u0282v9 said:
And unintentional gloat, my left elbow*... :roll:
I swear it was! :lol: I took that pic for CYC months ago, and it would be a waste of time trying to out-gloat him where Festool is concerned :wink:

Cheers,
Neil
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Adam

I cut the mortices using a dedicated morticer with my own X-Y vice as posted here soem time back.

i also sometimes cut mortices with a handheld router (T5) with two fences and an upocut spiral cutter. This results in a smoother walled and clean bottomed mortice.

For tenons, I quite enjoy cutting by hand - peaceful and rewarding.

If I have loads to cut, I use the router table with mitre guage although I recently tried fitting a lower splitter to my table saw to allow cheek cuts to be made on there and face cuts made on the bandsaw.

I have never cut a chamfer on the tenon but usually leave about 1-2mm gap at the bottom of the mortice for excess glue.

I like to leave the faces a little rough if possible to allow better keying for the glue, however, the Rabbett plane often ends up seeing some action on final fitting and this leaves a very smooth surface

Not used wedges yet but fancy giving it a go soon :wink:
 
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