Sam Wilson's Website

T280: mortise and tenon


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    I've been cutting more tenons, and experimenting with the accuracy of the cheek cuts: I mark out the width of the tenon from the mortise chisel, laying it on the end grain of the piece. This is marked with a sharp pencil, rather than a knife, because the actual line is scored with a marking gauge (off the face side). It's easy to mark the pencil point, and not too hard to cut to the line, but the trick seems to be in how the gauge is set in relation to the pencil mark. It needs to be just on the outside of the width of the graphite, rather than marking the actual width of the chisle — when the mortise is cut, it'll be slightly wider than the chisel, by a matter of 0.5 mm or so, and so the saw cut needs to take this into account. Get it right, and the tenon will fit the mortise snugly (i.e. not too tight, and not with too much air). I've been varying the line by tiny amounts for each one I'm doing, and it's surprising how much difference it makes to the final fit. One day I'll be able to do a good one repeatably!

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