Mortise & Tenon Basics

A superior way to cut this superlative joint.
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 42-48

From the April 2004 issue #140
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A lot of woodworkers spend a lot of time, effort and money to avoid making mortise-and-tenon joints. Biscuits, dowels, commercial loose-tenon jigs and expensive router bits are just a few of the “work-arounds” developed this century so you don’t have to learn to make a mortise and its perfectly matched tenon.

But once you learn how straightforward and simple this joint can be, you will use it in every project. Why? Well, it is remarkably strong. A few years ago we decided to pit this venerable and traditional joint against the high-tech super-simple biscuit. So we built two cubes, one using biscuits and one with mortises and tenons. Then we dropped a 50-pound anvil on each cube. The results were eye-opening.

From the April 2004 issue #140
Buy this issue now