Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx. / Somerville, TX
Drill Press and Cross Slide Vise for mortise
and Dado blade for the tenons.
Always and I mean always have enough waste cut-offs from your apron pieces that are long enough to set your tenon cuts. If you want to make furniture you will have to get used to wasting (sacrificing) some extra wood in order to set your tools up.
Make your mortise first. When making your tenons constantly check for fit. It's easy to cut too much off tenons if not paying attention. Raise blade just a hair at a time to set the depth because when you will flipping over the stock to make the tenons. This will in effect, make the total cut twice as deep. Once your depth is set correctly, you should be able to rock and roll.
As for how tight the fit?, thats hard to put into words. On one end of the scale, it should not just slide in easily. On the other end of the scale, you should not have to use any more force tha a slight tap or three with a mallet or moderate pressure with your clamps.
I assemble my legs and aprons all at once, more or less. I do it in sets. I put the legs on the ends of the long stretchers (aprons) first. Then I connect the two sets of the long ends with the short ends. This is all done upside down on a very flat surface. I apply my pipe clamps then set the whole thing right side up on a flat floor or work bench. Measure diagonally on opposite corners and they should be the same. If not, use another clamp diagonally to pull it into square. Make sure everything looks good including the legs being square to the aprons. Have a beer and feel good about it.
By the way, dry fit everything before your final glue-up.
Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx