MT joint shoulders - help - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-13-2018, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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MT joint shoulders - help

My mortise & tenon joints are almost perfect... during dry assembly, I put the together and take them apart by hand and they hold strong. My problem is with the shoulders of the tenons. They don't always sit flat.

I cut my tenons on the ts using methods too ensure equal distance from blade for every side... I have checked and rechecked the perpendicular setting of the blade.

Sometimes I get it right and sometimes not. My sides are jointed and lengths are accurate...

I.m a self taught woodworker and I know we all have too find a method that works the best for us, simply said, what works best for "me"! How do you achieve your perfect MT shoulders? I expect to see different methods. I'm looking to discover what will work best for me and I'll try all methods... Thank you in advance!

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-13-2018, 11:09 AM
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Bernie, I find when making a project I have cut and re cut so many parts that by the time I am ready to make tenons I didn't realize the blade has built up with a little of pitch. That pitch can interfere with the blade being able to make clean cross cuts when doing tenons. I recommend trying to clean the blade with Trend blade cleaner and a plastic (detail) brush. It may help, especially is your cutting soft wood (like pine). Each tenon shoulder should be scrutinized and pared if necessary with a razor sharp chisel to make it fit tight/flush. Some prefer the mortise/ tenon to have a set back by design to create a shadow line, which helps to hide a slight imperfection. I can only assume you are cutting every tenon (of the same setup) at the same time, to insure repeatability.
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post #3 of 20 Old 02-13-2018, 11:30 AM
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Here's how I do it

This shows how I make them:
https://youtu.be/4CvMccfXKnk?t=135

The entire video here:

I made a tenoning jig for the vertical cuts rather than using a dado set or a single blade nibbling away the waste.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-13-2018 at 11:48 AM.
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post #4 of 20 Old 02-13-2018, 06:02 PM
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I also made my own tenoning jig. It rides on the rip fence. I have used it with both a saw blade and a dado blade set up. If I have to make a lot of tenons, I'll set up the dado to cut the tenon in one pass on each side. Open the .pdf file in the linked article to see the full description and pictures.

http://www.sawdustzone.org/articles/...3000-tenon-jig
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post #5 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 10:41 AM
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In a woodworking class I'm taking we use a rabbet plane to square up tenons. Maybe that would work on the shoulders too.

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post #6 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 10:52 AM
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1. we always ensure that the tenon does not bottom out in the mortise, to leave room for the glue. 2. slop in the miter bar/track can allow the shoulder cuts to be off also. place some dimples along the side of the bar with a prick punch to tighten it up (not snug) 3. we use a dado blade so it is all cut in one pass. if you are, make sure the tenon is not falling into the sacrificial hole in your sacrificial fence. that will allow the tenon to move during the cut. 4. make sure your miter is "perfectly" square to the blade.
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post #7 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help - Gmercer - I never thought to check the pitch build up and this comes from a guy who always keeps his work area and bench clean because I know a small wood chip can ruin a good joint.

It's not the 1st time I need to thank you Woodnthings... I never thought too use the fence, I've always used a magnetic block set before the blade and I've start the cut with the piece set against it - but I may be twitching during the cut. I've always avoided using a fence during crosscuts because of the danger of a kickback, but in this case - looks to be safe enogh.

And thank you along with Jim Frye for the tenon jig method. I'll be using one...

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #8 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofasmith View Post
In a woodworking class I'm taking we use a rabbet plane to square up tenons. Maybe that would work on the shoulders too.

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They actually make shoulder planes for the job, frequently available in three sizes. Shoulder planes are bevel up blades used to cut end grain, rabbet planes are usually bevel down and take heavier cuts,


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post #9 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 02:16 PM
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I'm surprised at that Rockler / Sawstop video.

using the fence and miter slide like that has traditionally been a kick-back no-no.
perhaps since the saw stop doesn't chop up the user it's safer?

I clamp a block to the fence to establish the cut length; however the to-be-cut pc slides clear of the block before engaging the saw blade.

for a single end that works fine. for multiple pieces where the cut length between shoulder faces has to be 'exact' I register the second end cut to the first cut shoulder with a pin stop set-up.
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post #10 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
I'm surprised at that Rockler / Sawstop video.

using the fence and miter slide like that has traditionally been a kick-back no-no.
I'm not sure why the technique in the video would present a problem. It seems like they have set it up so anytime the cut results in a loose cutoff piece, it is on the far side of the jig so it cannot be trapped between the fence and the blade.

What am I missing?

Scott
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post #11 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 04:42 PM
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if anything jams / get cocked / drags - you get a high velocity stick in the face.

kick backs don't (necessarily) involve loose pieces. well, usually you have loose pieces of people and/or wood splinters after the fact.....
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post #12 of 20 Old 02-14-2018, 10:17 PM
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Relax fellas ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
I'm surprised at that Rockler / Sawstop video.

using the fence and miter slide like that has traditionally been a kick-back no-no.
perhaps since the saw stop doesn't chop up the user it's safer?

I clamp a block to the fence to establish the cut length; however the to-be-cut pc slides clear of the block before engaging the saw blade.

for a single end that works fine. for multiple pieces where the cut length between shoulder faces has to be 'exact' I register the second end cut to the first cut shoulder with a pin stop set-up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbrader View Post
I'm not sure why the technique in the video would present a problem. It seems like they have set it up so anytime the cut results in a loose cutoff piece, it is on the far side of the jig so it cannot be trapped between the fence and the blade.

What am I missing?

Scott
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
if anything jams / get cocked / drags - you get a high velocity stick in the face.

kick backs don't (necessarily) involve loose pieces. well, usually you have loose pieces of people and/or wood splinters after the fact.....

The video is not cutting anything off to get loose, jam, kickback etc. He is just making the shoulder cut or kerf, that's it. The vertical cuts would be made using the jig, at least that's the way I do it. The work is butted to the fence, usually a no no, but it's very well controlled in this case. I would not trap a loose piece/cutoff between the blade and the fence......
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post #13 of 20 Old 02-16-2018, 12:33 PM
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I finish up tenons with a shoulder plane, and that covers a lot of ills. My mortises are always a tad deeper than the tenons are long. Especially on really important projects, I use a chisel to slightly slope the shoulders, so the visible edges of the tenon piece are the first to "bottom out". This also space for some glue squeeze-out. The strength of the joint isn't impacted -- after all, it is an M&T joint, not a shoulder joint.
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post #14 of 20 Old 02-16-2018, 12:52 PM
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I disagree ...kinda.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OlGriz View Post
I finish up tenons with a shoulder plane, and that covers a lot of ills. My mortises are always a tad deeper than the tenons are long. Especially on really important projects, I use a chisel to slightly slope the shoulders, so the visible edges of the tenon piece are the first to "bottom out". This also space for some glue squeeze-out. The strength of the joint isn't impacted -- after all, it is an M&T joint, not a shoulder joint.

The strength/rigidity of a M & T joint comes from the shoulders contacting the piece they are fit into. If the shoulders don't contact the surface they mate with, the tenon piece can wobble and come loose, because all that is holding it is the glue, no structural reinforcement.
M &Ts joint are strong because it IS structural as well as glued.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #15 of 20 Old 02-16-2018, 02:50 PM
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I cut my tenons by hand saw. They are first cut a little proud of the mortise. If they are a little off square, I remove excess material by chisel or file until they are square.

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post #16 of 20 Old 02-16-2018, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofasmith View Post
In a woodworking class I'm taking we use a rabbet plane to square up tenons. Maybe that would work on the shoulders too.

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You can also grind a low bevel angle for the rabbet plane blade to use it on the end grain of tenon shoulders. A normal rabbet plane can splinter the shoulders.

Keep thy axe sharp.
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post #17 of 20 Old 02-16-2018, 03:40 PM
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Table saw or hand saw?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieL View Post
My mortise & tenon joints are almost perfect... during dry assembly, I put the together and take them apart by hand and they hold strong. My problem is with the shoulders of the tenons. They don't always sit flat.

I cut my tenons on the ts (table saw) using methods too ensure equal distance from blade for every side... I have checked and rechecked the perpendicular setting of the blade.

Sometimes I get it right and sometimes not. My sides are jointed and lengths are accurate...

I.m a self taught woodworker and I know we all have too find a method that works the best for us, simply said, what works best for "me"! How do you achieve your perfect MT shoulders? I expect to see different methods. I'm looking to discover what will work best for me and I'll try all methods... Thank you in advance!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jig_saw View Post
I cut my tenons by hand saw. They are first cut a little proud of the mortise. If they are a little off square, I remove excess material by chisel or file until they are square.
If the OP BernieL is looking for different methods for the table saw, handsaw advice would not be helpful in this case. He did not specify which method he might be more interested in, but I suspect it is the table saw. Personally, I like the bandsaw and used that for my Mission style quilt rack which had approximately 30 M&T joints:
https://youtu.be/BLIHu_49tmc?t=145

Look at 9:52 in where he addresses a slightly mis-aligned shoulder.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #18 of 20 Old 02-16-2018, 06:37 PM
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I do them by hand, using a knife to mark it, which I turn into a knife wall to control where the cut starts. At the end, I clean it all up with a nice sharp chisel.

The process is illustrated here, starting at around minute 17 or so ...

https://paulsellers.com/2015/06/new-youtube-video-up/
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... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:

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post #19 of 20 Old 02-17-2018, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Curl View Post
I do them by hand, using a knife to mark it, which I turn into a knife wall to control where the cut starts. At the end, I clean it all up with a nice sharp chisel.

The process is illustrated here, starting at around minute 17 or so ...

https://paulsellers.com/2015/06/new-youtube-video-up/
Yes, nice video by Paul Sellers.

BTW I found the following funny picture of him on the link you provided (it seems he is going to get the vise in the nuts)
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post #20 of 20 Old 02-18-2018, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Yes folks, I'm looking to establish the tenons on the ts because it gives me stability in repeated cuts. Once the defining cuts are made, I go to my router table to perform the grunt work. I have a lift to dial in the precise depth. I've cleaned the pitch off the blade and will use the fence... Simple short cuts and no cut offs, I think I'll be safe. Thank you all!

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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