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Cutting a Mortise and Tenon Joint Video Tutorials

Handmade Mortise And Tenon Jont TutorialBelow you will find professional tutorials on how to cut a mortise and tenon. These strong wood joints can be made with power tools or with hand tools. There is a video for each method below. This is one of the most difficult wood joints to make because of the level of accuracy that is required for making a mortise and tenon joint in hardwood.

When finished, the two pieces of wood must be perfectly milled. A digital micrometer would be the best choice for measuring accuracy of the hardwood component parts.

Ideally, the joint is loose enough that it can be inserted by hand, but tight enough that the tenon stays in there on its own. If the fit is the correct size, then you can shake the dry-fit pieces around and they won’t fall apart.

You never want your tenon piece too small because the glue joint will not be strong enough to hold. You also do not want the fit to be so tight that you have to pound it in to place with a mallet. If the fit is oversize it will force the glue out during the assembly process and that would not be a good thing. This is why using a micrometer is so important.

A few thousands of an inch can make or break the fit being the right size. There is only about five thousands of an inch variance that is acceptable. That’s not a very high tolerance level and this is precisely why this wood joint is considered one of the most difficult ones to make.

Video: How To Make A Mortise And Tenon Joint Using Power Tools




As you can see, the mortise part of the wood joint is made with a router and the tenon is cut on the table saw. The level of complexity for making these joints with homemade templates and jigs is very high. There are machines that can be bought for making these hardwood joints, but they are rather expensive.

By doing a search on Youtube or Google, you will find a number of different methods for making your own jigs for cutting these specialty joints. I even found several jigs that can be purchased from woodworking experts during this research process for writing this article.

Video: How To Cut A Mortise And Tenon Joint With Hand Tools

The mortise and tenon joint is basically a square peg that fits into a square socket. When you are making one of these wood joints by hand, you will begin by selecting the proper sized chisel for making the mortise cut.

Tools Needed:

  • Chisel
  • Small Brass-back Dovetail Handsaw
  • Woodworkers Marking Gauge
  • Small Carpenters Square
  • Razor Knife
  • Vice
  • Mallet

Hand Cutting A Tenon Jont In Wood

  1. Start by placing the chisel on the piece of wood that will be receiving the mortise joint. Get it aligned perfectly in relation to the center. Using the woodworkers marking gauge mark the wood that will be receiving the mortise on one side and the tenon wood on one side as well. Then, mark the other side by using the chisel as a guide for the size of your cuts.
  2. Mark the depth line (shoulder line) of the tenon with a razor knife and small square.
  3. Clamp the hardwood in the vise that will be receiving the tenon and start making the end cuts (cheeks) with your dovetail saw. Stay on the marks and be careful to stop at the shoulder line. Flip the wood around and cut the shoulder of the square peg.How To Chisel Out A Mortise Joint
  4. Once you have cut the tenon to size, lay it on the wood that will get the mortise cut and mark the proper width that the mortise needs to be cut in relation to the outside edges of the peg.
  5. Clamp the wood in the vise that will receive the mortise joint and chisel out the area.
  6. Check the two pieces of wood to see how well they fit.

You can learn how to make mortise and tenon joints that are accurate through trial and error. Hardwood is fun to work, but in order to yield acceptable results, you must not get in a hurry. As you have seen in the video instructions, the mortise and tenon joint making process requires a high level of accuracy.

Categories: Cabinet Making
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