My first hand chiseled mortises need glue - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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My first hand chiseled mortises need glue

My first experiment at hand chiseling mortises was less than desirable. They're not quite firewood quality yet but I was hoping to take some of the 'looseness' out of them by choosing the strongest wood glue known to mankind. :)

Say I have little 1/16 gaps in my joints that possibly a strong hard bonding glue can overcome the looseness created by these gaps.

Any suggestions on what I can use for glue?

These are big mortises (3" x 1") in hard maple. It's a shop workbench I'm making and intentionally wanted to experiment with hand chiseled mortises.

Man that's hard to get smooth and square side walls with a hand chisel. How the heck did the old timers do that? No wonder they sell all these gizmos to do mortises. :)
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post #2 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 02:35 PM
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Gorilla glue or any polyurethane glue act as a gap filling adhesive and will foam up and expand as it's exposed to moisture.
That's the biggest mistake people make using the poly glues. They don't moisten the glue surfaces and the glue is blamed for not working.
It's right on the bottle directions.

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #3 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 02:57 PM
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+1 On polyurethane glue. Did you remove the bulk of the mortice waste with a drill/brace & bit? Just a chisel is good on a small mortice but a big one like that would be quite hard going, especially in maple.
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post #4 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks tclv

I went and read about the Gorilla glue on Amazon and it appears like a winner.

Thanks
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post #5 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 03:32 PM
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Gorilla glue is an absolute mess - it's going to straight up suck for a M&T. Unfortunately a good fit is the best way to have a strong M&T joint but if I had to fill and provide strength I would go with an epoxy.
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post #6 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 04:02 PM
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I don't know much about epoxy, can it be brittle?
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post #7 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 04:19 PM
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It can be brittle for stress / vibration uses.


I guess I should have asked what the application of this M&T is.
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post #8 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 05:20 PM
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You shouldn't really beat your self up over the fitting of your first hand cut mortice and tenon joint.you should take a clap on the back for having a go at it.

You say how did the old guys do it? Well the simple answer is they had different tools to do the job than what you where using,yes you can use bench chisels to chop out a mortice,but a mortice chisel is a different beast altogether than a bench chisel.

I`ve put some pics in the post of the tools I would use to cut a mortice and tenon joint,in one pic there is a 3/8" bench chisel and a 3/8" mortice chisel world of a difference.The mortice chisel is made to be beaten and is refined to do exactly what it is designed to do, cut a mortice as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Cleaning the mortice would be done with a parring chisel I`ve put A pic of a parring chisel and how it is held in use with fingers behind and in front of the blade and the shoulder just leans onto the top of the chisel and presses it just slices smooth, different chisel from a bench chisel.

Now comes the part about the glue, as a young apprentice I would just larape glue every where and clamp the hell out of it but the journey men just wouldn't have this.When you put glue on a joint you introduce stress into it.They would only put glue on the shoulder of the joint and the last part of the tenon so it was only fast at one point.

Now this was there reasoning wood expands more in the length than the width or the breadth so you allow the joint to move in the length and not to break.

Now this may sound crazy but in the summer I`ve seen the tenon on a joint stand proud and in the winter shrink back,so all Ill say is don't glue the hell out of the thing let it move but not break,any way polyurethane but easy with it.

good luck Billy.
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post #9 of 25 Old 04-13-2013, 07:37 PM
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Get the current issue of FWW #233 page 52. They'll sort you out on how to fix it.
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post #10 of 25 Old 04-14-2013, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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FWW Article

Quote:
Originally Posted by strippedscrew View Post
Get the current issue of FWW #233 page 52. They'll sort you out on how to fix it.
I belong to the web site FWW. Do you recall the name of the article? I can probably find it online.

Thanks
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post #11 of 25 Old 04-14-2013, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Glue just on the shoulder side of the tenon?

"They would only put glue on the shoulder of the joint and the last part of the tenon so it was only fast at one point."

Really? I thought the cheeks of the tenon were the holding part and I've read something to the effect, "the shoulders don't do much work."

You're right, my novice inclination was to just flood that sucker with glue. :)

I have both types of m&t's, stopped and through mortises. The stopped ones are from the legs downward into the feet so they'll have the weight of the bench constantly. The horizontal cross stretchers are the through ones, through the legs so they might expand and contract a bit.

I guess there really won't be much force 'pulling' the stretchers out, so gluing just around the shoulder area isn't such a bad concept.

I see the concept behind that paring chisel, wide flat blade. I do have a really nice mortise chisel I picked up and studied as much technique as I could find on how to use it. That went fairly well.

It's smoothing those sides that didn't cut it. I'm hoping they will still work out.

\Thanks
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post #12 of 25 Old 04-14-2013, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Billie De

Thanks Billie De,

I studied the photos of the tools. I way underestimated the finesse of these hand chopped mortising techniques. Although I did really enjoy getting down and dirty at the fiber level of the wood.

On a through mortise it's easy to go too far when you're shaving a wall and then blow out some of the edges on the downward facing 'show' side. Ugh.

I purchased a nice set of mortise chisels and I really can't blame the tools on this one. I just need to tread lightly around those finished edges that show.

One training video I saw a guy set up a couple of wood blocks that sit on top of your mortise to help guide your chisel perpendicular to the surface. It's hard when you're pounding away or pushing hard on the chisel to keep it perpendicular.

Thanks again
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post #13 of 25 Old 04-15-2013, 02:34 AM
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FWW title "7 flawless joinery fixes" that is what's on the cover.

In the index the title is, "Fast Fixes for Joinery Mistakes." Starts on page 48.
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post #14 of 25 Old 04-16-2013, 08:47 PM
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If you have got a tennon that is loose by 1/16" like you say , can't you glue a veneer or veneers to the cheek of the tennon to tighten it up?
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post #15 of 25 Old 04-18-2013, 11:25 AM
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Wedge May Work

You could try insert a wedge into the end of the tenon before driving it into the stopped mortise. You would need to calculate the thickness and the length of the wedge because if you drive it in and the wedge is too big you will have difficulty getting the joint apart again to fix it.

I also like the idea of building up the and re-cutting the tenon to fit the over sized mortise.
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post #16 of 25 Old 04-19-2013, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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A wedge

Thanks E Werner,

I'd love to try a wedge but this is a big maple tenon, 2 1/2 by 1 inch. I don't for the life of me see it 'bending' to drive a wedge in it. I've seen it done on smaller tenons and will try it one day.

The tenons more or less fit, other than my very rough side walls in my mortises which was discussed. I did a practice dry run with the clamps and every looks pretty good. The only exception is the sloppiness around the edge where the through tenon protrudes out. But I can live with it and will try to find a solution, perhaps.

I also bought some of that Gorilla Glue but after reading the directions it might be a tad fast drying to give me enough time to assemble this beast. I'll explore other options there too.

Thanks again
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post #17 of 25 Old 04-20-2013, 04:20 PM
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The cheeks of the tenons are the holding parts but the mechanical shape does the load carrying. The use of a peg sideways in the tenon is ideal and normal. This allowed for the possible or likely failure of the glue over a few seasons. The old hide or protein based glues were not super strong.
The epoxy question re brittleness was asked. Epoxy can be tailored to its use. Less hardener makes for a slightly softer plastic(glue). Some epoxies are formulated to be hard and therefore brittle. I think the West System folks make a technical publication to assist in tailoring your epoxy to the joint. The 5 minute epoxy I use often stays a bit soft which resists vibration failure.
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post #18 of 25 Old 04-21-2013, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Dowels in joint

Thanks Midlandbob,

I gave considerable thought to doweling these joints but I'm a bit gun-shy on trying that on this project mainly because I don't have enough experience with the technique.

Several months ago I invested in a doweling jig but soon discovered the technique requires a whole lot more practice to master than I first thought.

My dowels, as I hear most dowels are, are slightly oversized due to wood expansion and they also bottomed out before reaching their finished depth due to hydraulic pressure of the glue. Researching on line tells me many have faced these problems.

One solution I saw online a guy used a thick metal plate, drilled three or four dowel sized holes in it and pounded his dowels through these holes to resize them to the exact diameter needed to pound them into the predrilled holes.

I almost get the impression if one could 'compress' the dowel's diameters slightly right before inserting them, then the glue would expand the dowel in the hole making it rock solid.

My conclusion has been that until my research and experimentation comes up with a reliable solution to these doweling problems I really shouldn't gamble with it on this project at this point in time.

That's my thinking at least.
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post #19 of 25 Old 04-21-2013, 06:58 PM
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When I doweled the mortise and tenon joints on my bench I didn't glue them; I drilled the holes to the dowel's nominal size, then pounded the dowels in with a mallet before cutting them flush. Since then the bench has been moved a couple of times, and those joints are still tight. Actually, in point of fact, I neglected to put glue in before doweling (I got carried away), so there's no glue at all in the joint... there's no motion there, though, even hand-planing or chiseling across the bench.

If you need the glue, flattening one side of the dowel will help with the pressure problem.
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post #20 of 25 Old 04-22-2013, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks amckenzie4

Since I replied to Midlandbob I stumbled onto some more information that address my concerns with oversized dowels and having to use a hand drill on your free standing project.

This one gent took a simple piece of 3/4" scrap stock, clamped it onto his assembled project (table w/legs), marked it carefully and then took it over to his drill press to make perfectly perpendicular template-guide holes. After clamping it back onto his table he used it to insure both perpendicular holes for his dowels through his mortises and he claimed it prevented boogaring the hole on your show side. Problem one and two solved.

Then I discovered another source where on a large mortise they used two pegged holes not one. That made a lot of sense to me. With only one hole, as I intended to do you could get rotational slop movement around your peg.

The final piece of my issues was solved with discovering Lie Nielson does indeed sell a 'doweling plate' to resize your dowels perfectly. I had seen the concept before but I don't trust my skills or tools drilling through 1/4" metal plates. After watching their video on their precision plates I decided to spring for it. It isn't cheap ($61.00) but I figure it could open up a whole lot of doweling possibilities for me.

Combine all this with what you just told me, your success with just dowels as your mechanical fasteners, I'm excited about giving it a try.

Thanks
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