Tenons on an 8" wide board - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-28-2015, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Tenons on an 8" wide board

I'm building a twin bed for my son and am currently working on the head and foot boards. The bed posts are 2 3/4" x 2 3/4" and I will be using a mortise and tenon joint to attach the rails between(these are the rails that go side to side between the posts, not the long bed rail that runs the length of the mattress). The rails are 1 1/2" x 8 1/8" wide, and I know I shouldn't use one huge tenon, but am unsure if I should split this up into 2 or 3 tenons.

I'm also curious since I will be using multiple tenons, whether all tenons should be glued, or if I would just glue 1 to allow for expansion and contraction. This makes sense to me in order to allow for seasonal movement, but it also seems like I would be giving up some strength by not gluing all the tenons too.

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post #2 of 8 Old 04-28-2015, 01:02 PM
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A single tenon would be better. If you have a radial arm saw and a dado blade it's pretty easy to make a tenon on a 8" wide board.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-28-2015, 01:50 PM
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I see no reason I wouldn't use a single large tenon.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-29-2015, 08:58 AM
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One tenon. I would drawbore them.

On the long ones I would not glue them use captured bolts so you can knock it down for moving.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-29-2015, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting. Everything I've read(magazines, books, internet) have always said not to make a tenon larger than 1.5"-2" wide due to issues with expansion and contraction, as well as giving you more surface area for gluing. Have you all had luck with massive tenons(this one would likely be about 7" wide)?

I like the idea of draw boring the joints, but my hesitation there is that there will be some panels inset on the foot board and head board and I prefer to apply the finish before I do the glue up when I have panels so I don't get lines when the panels shrink during the winter month(this will be assembled this summer). Draw boring would require me to then drill through my nice finish :(

Also, the long bed rails will be attached via steel bed hooks so that the bed can be disassembled for moving.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-11-2015, 06:41 AM
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You wouldn't be drilling through the panel. I don't understand you're concern.
If your tenons are 1 1/2" or so deep there's no issue.

Point of information, many old pieces of furniture with draw bored tenons were never glued.

If you do decide to go this route, make sure you elongate the holes.
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-11-2015, 06:59 AM
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separate units

The head and foot board can be made as individual units, as is done normally. Make the tenons, insert your panels but do not glue them unless they are plywood, then glue the tenons, and clamp it up.

I made a Mission style headboard, but I did not glue the tenons so I can add the long rails at a later time. I pegged my tenons with stained Walnut for an added detail. This unit is quite heavy when assembled, so it's easier to move when the posts come off by removing the pegs:

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 #8 of 8 Old 05-11-2015, 11:14 AM
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this is a cross grain situation. so you should allow room for expansion in the mortise. i would drill for dowels, then disassemble and enlarge holes in tenon to allow movement there also. then tap in dowels, and just apply glue to the last 1/4" or so as you tap in.
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