Mortise how to??? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Mortise how to???

Hi guys! I have been tasked to (asked if I can) duplicate the table pictured below. My wife really loves thus table and came out to my shop and asked "can you even do something like that?" .... well ... "let me tell you what honey...of course I can!" Oh $#&T! What have I stepped in to. Another learning experience I hope, either to keep my mouth shut, or learn mortise and tenons.

Simple jigs to make small joints are easy, but it appears this is quite a large joint. I was hoping you guys could look it over and give me your two cents. Being it is mass produced and made "ready to ship" I am skeptical that these aren't fake joints and the cross beam is actually pocket holed in place, but who knows? The pics are not so clear. Any ideas or suggestions? I would hate to skip the mortise and tenon joints, but if I have to, I guess I will. I am just eager to learn.



As always...Thanks in advance!

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think

Last edited by Ryn0nTX; 04-27-2013 at 12:30 AM. Reason: forgot the pic!!!
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 12:59 AM
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That may very well be a real joint considering that is a massively built table and takes apart easily for shipping.
I made a large table for a renaissance group about 12 years ago with large tenons like this. I was lucky because back then
I had an old mortising machine made back in the 1940's. It had what looks like a miniature chainsaw blade and you stepped on this large
lever and the blade plunged down effortlessly. I no longer have that machine. If I had to replicate that table, I would think that a Forstner bit could handle the hole drilling and a hand chisel could clean it up pretty quickly.

The Tusk tenon hole (the one with the wedge) should be slightly angled to match the angle of the wedge.

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Last edited by Tony B; 04-27-2013 at 01:02 AM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 01:15 AM
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I would also thing that the tops of the leg assemblies have the same kind of tusk tenons. This would make the leg assembly entirely independent of the top. That way if you bumped the top, all of the leverage would not be stressing the legs, some of the energy would be absorbed into the top and it might slide just a tad. A very small tad.
This gets us to exactly how large of a man are you? Even the components of this table will be heavy.
This trestle table could be a lot of fun to build. Everything is separate.
The two trestle legs, 3 stretchers and the top. Oh yeah, the top, hope you have large friends to move it.

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post #4 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tony.

I am just a bit nervous about hand carving the fixture and everything lining up straight in the end when I put it together. Unfortunately, I am spoiled with commercial jigs and 'quick and easy' solutions and I haven't been able to expose myself to hand crafting joints. I have always wanted to, but I would hate to mess up some nice lumber, especially considering all I have to to go through just to get to the point of marking the hole.

I just do not see another way than doing it by hand since I need at least 5" of tenon. Any more advice will definitely be appreciated!

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Oh yeah, the top, hope you have large friends to move it.
LOL!!!! Thats what I was screaming. I told her that they advertised 250lbs...and I tend to 'overbuild' things

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 02:08 AM
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I'm like you, I'm used to jigs and fixtures.
This is going to be a piece of cake.
Use a drill press with a Forstner bit to hollow out most of the mortise. You only need a chisel to flatten out the sides from the round drill bit. The whole secret is to have really sharp chisels. You could probably get away with a rasp and then a finer file. Work on the trestle leg from the outside toward the inside of the legs. That's because you will see the outside of the leg when the table is complete but you wont see the inside part of the leg where the mortise is because the tenon is larger on the inside of the leg and the tenon shoulder will hide a lot. Also consider that this is more or less a refined version of a rustic table. A small error here and there will give it some character. In reality, probably no one will ever notice the imperfections but you.
Beside, if you screw up the top, I can always use it as a barge behind my boat.
BTW, I always make the top first. Its easier to measure the trestle components when the top is upside down. and you will also see any previously not thought about issues.

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post #7 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryn0nTX View Post
LOL!!!! Thats what I was screaming. I told her that they advertised 250lbs...and I tend to 'overbuild' things
Let me guess, 3 out of the 4 guys that will be helping you move the table top will be named Bubba.

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post #8 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Let me guess, 3 out of the 4 guys that will be helping you move the table top will be named Bubba.

Haha! Yup! Okay, two more questions if you will. The tenons are quite long (to accommodate the pegs and 3" thick leg) what equipment will I need to cut these so deep?

Also, the X legs. It looks like one of the legs are solid and the other is not....or is this a type of half lap joint?


Thanks!

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post #9 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 05:30 PM
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With limited tools, I would cut them with a band saw slightly oversized and rasp and sand them to final dimensions.
The easiest way would probably be with a dado blade on a Radial Arm Saw. Precise, safe and fast.

I believe you are right about the half lap because that is what I would have done.

A note on the X-legs: They could be laminated from 3/4" stock (4 Layers). With careful measurements, the mortise could be where the laminated boards are cut short. I don't know if I am explaining this right.

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post #10 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryn0nTX View Post
Haha! Yup! Okay, two more questions if you will. The tenons are quite long (to accommodate the pegs and 3" thick leg) what equipment will I need to cut these so deep?
The quickest and easiest would be with a handsaw if you have one. Cleanup and fit with a chisel or rasp/file depending on what tools you have available.

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post #11 of 19 Old 04-27-2013, 08:46 PM
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It looks like it will more straight forward than you seem to feel. The angled half lap joint will be fairly easy to cut. They can even be screwed together from the inside to hold them for the mortise cutting. Keep the outside neat as mentioned and cut the tenon later to fit the mortises. The lamination trick won't work due to the angles but drilling the corners and most of the mortise will make it go easier. Clamping boards to the edge of the mortise to guide the final chisel cuts will help. Start the mortise a bit small and work out to the lines.
It will be a good excuse to buy a wide chisel for the mortise and a shoulder plane for the half lap joints.
Enjoy.
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-29-2013, 09:43 AM
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You got good advise RynOnTx - Midlandbob has spelled it for you - cut your mortise first and a simple block of wood makes a nice inexpensive jig. Then cut the tenon a bit hefty and sneak it down to size. A perfect joint can be assembled and disassembled by hand without pounding it into place and it should hold in place during the dry fit.
As for the tenon - I would cut it on the table saw as a 4 sided lap joint or use a skill saw or saber saw. Whatever tool you use, keep it a tad larger and sneak it down to size. If you have a bit extra wood, try making a large mortise and tenon with scraps. Practice with scraps is a good way to learn and I think it's fun. If you were a stubborn french man like myself, you could tell yourself you can't do that and do it to spite yourself. I'm sure you can do the task and your wife will be proud of you.

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post #13 of 19 Old 05-01-2013, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Bernie! Its been a long time since we spoke young man Thank you for the advice. I don't have a picture handy, but I did just what you advised last Sunday....practiced on scraps. Actually made a miniature version of the legs and lower brace. So it consisted of the half lap and the mortise and tenon. Man, do I need more practice!

I found that my miter saw has a depth stop, so I cut the half laps with that (very tedious!) and I used my forstner bits and jigsaw for the mortise and tenon. They came out "ok". I ended up splitting the mortise while chiseling it to final dimensions (the mortise for the tusk, not the tenon) because it was close to the end of the board.

To be honest, I am very close to upgrading the table saw. I am still using the old Ryobi that doesn't even have a miter for crosscuts (I wouldn't trust it if it did). But I found a good deal on a contractors Craftsmen and hope to have it this week.

Here is the only problem with using the table saw for the tenons, the board is 80" long! So not so sure how awkward that would be....sure all of you would like to see pics of the rookie trying that one

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post #14 of 19 Old 05-01-2013, 09:42 AM
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.....Here is the only problem with using the table saw for the tenons, the board is 80" long! So not so sure how awkward that would be.....
Very Awkward.
Due to awkward size and weight, A table saw sled might not work all that well either.
I would try to find a friend with a radial arm saw and a dado blade or as others have said - cut with hand saw and sand, rasp, chisel or whatever to take it down to final size.

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post #15 of 19 Old 05-01-2013, 04:43 PM
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If you have a skill saw, cut as if making lap joint with the skill saw. You only have to be real careful with the shoulder cuts. Make multiple cuts and break off the wood with a sharp chisel and clean the bottoms out with the chisel. To break off, I'm talking inserting your chisel straight down into the cut (outside 1st and work you way to the shoulder) and pull the top towards your timber. The bottom will push the cut out and snap it. I hope I'm not being to technical here - you may already know the method. Good talking to you again.

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post #16 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 04:47 PM
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What are you going to make the legs out of? 4 pieces of 2x4 pine? if so, I'd do this. The center tenon appears to be approx 1 1/2 x 1 1/2. Draw a 1 1/2" square in the center of the 4 leg pieces (on the diagonal). Use a 1" spade bit to drill out the majority of the waste. use a Coping saw to get the rest. Assemble the two halves and then use the table saw to cut the half lap joints. A wood rasp could fine tune the mortise from there. A rustic table like that does NOT have to be perfect. The pegged tenon will take care of any minor "Slop" in the joint. Just my 2!!


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post #17 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies and advice as always! They look like 2x4's, but they seem a little larger to me. Looking at the perspective of it being more than 40" wide, those legs look pretty darn stout. I haven't had time yet, but they have a few show rooms here in Houston, I hope to find one to inspect.

I understand that patience is the key when working by hand, and I really enjoy it. But I am in my workshop all day making things for customers (a living so when it is late in the afternoon/evening, then I get a chance to work on my own projects. The size (and weight) of this project is my only problem. This isn't one I can put up until I have more time. Once I glue up the table top. it has to get out of my shop or else I can't make money.

That is why I was hoping for the impatient mans solution/jig. I have seen a few, but they would take as much time to setup as just doing it by hand. So all I can figure is to make two at the same time. This way I can put the best of all pieces on one table and sell it, we keep the other.

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think
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post #18 of 19 Old 05-03-2013, 09:27 AM
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When I looked at this thread at the beginning of the week, I was sure I'd seen plans for making a table like this somewhere.

I just found them: page 68 of "The Woodwright's Apprentice" by Roy Underhill, the chapter on the Sawbuck Trestle Table. The one he makes is smaller, but scaling it up shouldn't be hard. It has guidelines on laying out the legs, cutting the mortises, and so on. I'd say you can probably build the leg assemblies first, get them out of your shop, then glue up the table and have the legs ready to go when the top is dry. You might want to see if the local library has a copy of the book, to see if the sketches help you any.
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post #19 of 19 Old 05-03-2013, 10:39 PM
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I'd still cut the half laps and put the X legs together before cutting the mortises. The drill, and chisels will cut the tenon fairly easily. Leave the tenon a bit long to cutting the tusk mortises do not split out. You can cut them to length later. The tenons cn be cut with hand saws and trimmed with your shoulder plane.
The slop will be taken up by hammering the tusks in gently. If you want to be able to take it apart , there is no dowel to pin the tenon.
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