making a better tenon....
So I've pretty much completed my first coffee table, just have to install the hinges for the lid and do the finish. I didn't use an fasteners and went with my first go at mortise and tenon joinery. It was harder then it looks on TV...
I did the mortises with my plunge router and edge guide... and sometimes something would move, so I would end up with a crooked mortise. I could never see anything move, it was weird. But that wasn't a big deal since I cut the mortise in 2 passes and never drifted too far before I caught it.
I did the tenons on my table saw with my dado blade and I was not happy with how they turned out. After spending about an hour dialing in the height of the blade so that I would end up with the correct thickness on the tenon, I would run the board through with my miter gauge and then flip the piece and run it though again. The length of the tenon on each side was almost never the same, off by a 1/16 or so of an inch. See the exaggerated sketch for a better explanation. So therefore I didn't end up with a nice flush fit joint. It was "ok" but not at all what I had hoped for. Oh and then there was cutting the little section off at the top and bottom of the tenon, which I did by a hand saw, and even less accurate by hand!
How could I have done this better? To avoid measuring each cut I clamped a short block to my fence, set my fence to the correct dimension with the block. Placed my work piece against the block and then ran it though with my miter gauge, the fence wasn't involved in the cut just there for measure purposes, the work piece was only in contact with the block on the fence for a few inches. The only thing that I can think of is that when I would contact the dado blade there felt like there was a tendency to pull the piece into the blade. Maybe there was a few times that I wasn't holding the piece tight enough to the gauge in it moved in towards the blade? Other then that I'm at a loss.
I see these joints and think what a waste of wood, my wife see it and says "Awesome you made a table!"