Mortise and Tenon Furniture – Where Does the Glue Go?

Three mortise and tenon gluing methods you’ll learn in this video:

1. The speedy method. Bob Lang shows you one way to apply glue to the mortise and tenon joint, when time is of the essence. Squeeze glue lines onto the front and back inside faces of the mortise, allowing the glue to flow down with gravity to the bottom of the joint, then simply insert the tenon with enough pressure to force some of the glue back up along the sides.

2. The brush-on method. Glen Huey begins the same way as Bob does, but before inserting the tenon Glen uses a small brush to spread the glue evenly across both sides of the mortise and both faces of the tenon. This method seems to create more adhesion in the joint because there is more surface area covered, as observed through the glass in the demonstration.

MTgluevideo3. How not to do it. The one method you should not use when gluing the mortise and tenon joint is brushing glue only on the tenon faces and inserting the tenon into the mortise. As you can see in the video, nearly all the glue will be forced out of the joint, making for very little adhesion and a real mess.

The mortise and tenon joint is probably second only to the dovetail joint in terms of how much it is discussed in woodworking groups and forums. There are many ways to complete the joint, many projects with which to use it and several tools that, depending whom you ask, are either essential or non-essential.

Cut through some of the online clutter on this topic by taking advantage of a 6-month subscription to our Shopclass streaming video site. You’ll be able to dig into more of Glen’s knowledge on mortise and tenon joints, as well as multiple project ideas and a broad range of related expertise – all without having to bounce around the web or a shelf of books. I think the Shopclass subscription is perfect for “in-depth” woodworking situations, which is why I recommend it here. We have a free 4-day trial, so there’s no reason not to try it today!

Dan Farnbach

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Dan Farnbach

About Dan Farnbach

Dan apprenticed and worked in two professional shops during the years after college. But sweeping shop floors only goes so far toward learning woodworking. These days Dan is online editor for Popular Woodworking, and is learning new skills every day. He divides his time between Boston and Maine.

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