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Discussion Starter #1
There have been quite a few threads on this forum lately with questions about M&T joints.

So if anybody is interested I thought I`d take a walk through how I do M&T`s.Iàm not saying this is the only way to do them or this the best way to do them ,just this is the way I was taught how to do them and it may help some one to understand them.

The thread would be headed for someone just getting into the hobby of woodworking and has not got a shop full of machines.


The thread would be more or less on the lines of the thread on dove tails that I did some time ago.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/hand-cut-dove-tails-new-guys-35853/


Any one up for it?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry chris just making sure I wasn`t talking to my self.:eek:

This is one end of a bench that will be fastened to a wall the legs and rails are 4"x3" so not what you would call fine joinery but it must still be marked out exactly.The timber was rough cut so had to be cleaned up I used a No 5 jack plane just the job for this.

If you rub a bit of candle wax on the sole of the plane it makes the work a lot easer.

Almost every piece of wood I work with is marked up face side and face edge,some people call them witness marks,It don't matter what you call them so long as you understand why they are there and what they do.

These two sides are next to each other, they are square and straight to each,that is important because these two sides are reference points and are used in all your marking off.
Without them you are just shooting in the dark and heading for a disaster.

How many times have you marked a square line around a piece of wood and when you come to the last mark they don`t match up,

Frustrating isn't it,if you use the face side and face edge and these two sides are true to each other the line will always match up.
When marking off you only let the shoulder of the square sit on the face side or face edge and on the last mark they will match up.

The last pic in this post shows how I mark the wood the V is the face edge.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Time to set the mortice gauge, the rails and legs are about 3" thick so using the rule of thumb of 1/3 I set the gauge to 1".I place the shoulder of the gauge on the rail and judge by eye where the pins would be in the middle and mark it with two small pin marks of the gauge.
I lock the gauge and move it to the other side of the rail and mark the stock again so now I have four pin mark on the rail.
By knocking the gauge against the bench on the head or the tail of the stock I minutely move the shoulder of the gauge till the pins sit in the middle of the four marks on the rail the gauge is now set.

I place the gauge against the face side of the rail and mark the tenon the gauge will now only be used with its shoulder against the face side on any piece of wood it marks.

Sorry about the flash in the pics I hope you can see what is going on.

I usually leave the gauge set till the whole job is finished and put a sticker on the gauge to tell me its still in use and what it is.
 

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I usually leave the gauge set till the whole job is finished and put a sticker on the gauge to tell me its still in use and what it is.
That one tip is worth it's weight in gold.:thumbsup:

I can't remember the number of times I've been in the middle of a project and reset the gauge to mark something else and then have to go back and reset the gauge back to the first thing I was marking.

Really illustrates the need for multiple marking gauges during some projects.:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tim I picked that up some where can`t remember where exactly I have let gauges go before when I meant to keep them,the sticker just says to me hands off.
 

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Hey Billy

It could be just me but, it would be easier to follow along if you went "backwards" first. Show us the finished piece first then we'd know where you are in the process. The photos are so close up that I cant grasp the big picture of what's happening.... just me?
The reference marks let me scratchin' my head also, wondering whether the points or the lines were which...?

Not that I don't know a mortise from a tenon....just sayin' :laughing:

Thanks for takin' the time to do this.:thumbsup:
I see you're usin' the "reference standard" for settin' the markin' gauge, :yes: the wife's yard stick.:blink:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK I now mark 1/2"of the tenon top and bottom so the joint will have a shoulder all round it.When I have one rail marked up for length of rail and tenon it is used as a template to mark the other rails for their lengths this way all the rails are the same.

I then mark the top of the leg leaving a good bit of wood on the top of the leg this piece is called the horn and will stop the leg from splitting latter on.

Placing the rail on the leg and mark top and bottom of the tenon square this across the leg this is the mortice, by using the square put two nicks with the knife on the corner of the leg then transfer these two marks to the next corner and square them across put the gauge against the face side and mark the mortice.

I hope the pics help explain what is here meant.

The joints are marked on the face side of the leg and rail A-A,B-B,C-C,D-D,so there can be no mix up where every thing belongs.

You should be ready to cut the tenons or chop the mortices I don`t think it makes any difference what you do first they are both marked exactly the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It could be just me but, it would be easier to follow along if you went "backwards" first. Show us the finished piece first then we'd know where you are in the process. The photos are so close up that I cant grasp the big picture of what's happening.... just me?
The reference marks let me scratchin' my head also, wondering whether the points or the lines were which...?

Not that I don't know a mortise from a tenon....just sayin' :laughing:

Thanks for takin' the time to do this.:thumbsup:
I see you're usin' the "reference standard" for settin' the markin'
gauge, :yes: the wife's yard stick.:blink:
Bill you posted while I was writing ok end job pic.

The reference or witness marks don't point to any thing you can make them any shape you like,all they do is tell me which are my two reference sides and when I square any thing around the wood my square will only placed against these two sides.

The system is as old as the hills and is tried and tested it may become clearer later,basically if I square a line around the wood I only rest the square on two side (lets call them face side and face edge) but I mark all the way round the wood,if I use the gauge I only use it resting against the face side so all mortice and tenons are the same distance from the face and therefore pass 100%
 

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where's my table saw?
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Nice work up.

Don't mind me.... :no: Thanks, bill
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK on to sawing the tenons this is a subject that I`v touched on before but would like to talk about again.

Addressing the piece, what does that mean,well we have been doing it for so long that we don't even think about it now but if you go back in you memory I bet you can remember being taught how to do it.

Stand in front of the piece feet slightly apart saw resting on the piece(Iàm right handed so)right shoulder in line with the saw elbow into the body,saw held by three fingers and thumb index finger pointing striaght down the saw,left thumb against the saw keeping it in place move the saw forward feel it cutting into the wood feel the resistance of the wood if it bounces around to much steady it up or you are going to loose to much energy on the movement of the wood.
I place the rail in the vice so it is at a angle of about 45 degrees and when cutting it I look at the scribed line on top and also on the side and guide the saw by these two lines.

Originally I used my tenon saw but soon realised that the saw did not have the depth to finish the cut so used a small panel saw with rip teeth.

When the cheeks where cut off I used the marking gauge to againmark the top and bottom of the tenon.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well it looks like Iàm talking to my self now, probably all that talk of face side and face edge frightened everyone off.
If your still with this, don`t sweat it ,later it will become clearer.

So the tenons are cut, now for cleaning them up if you have a paring chisel by all means use that but if not a bench chisel will do.

I`v put a pic of how I was taught how to hold a paring chisel when paring down on a piece of wood,fingers behind the blade and in front and the thumb holding the chisel plumb and the you just just bring your shoulder down on the chisel and it easily pars the wood away.

You can use a shoulder plan to clean the shoulders up but I like to use a chisel,putting the chisel in the knife mark and just pushing nice and easy.so now the tenon is finished next post the mortice.
 

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You're not talking to yourself Billy. A lot of people viewing- and a lot of them probably like me, busy weekend planned outside with not a lot of time to spare.
 

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OK we delt with marking off the Mortices earlier, so you can beat them out with a beast of a mortice chisel not the quickest way but sure does relieve a lot of tension.

Bench chisels can chop out mortices but the real killer for them is when you want a stub mortice that's a mortice that does not go all the way through the work.

When using a bench chisel to clean the bottom of the stub mortice the chisel can and will break off the sharp edge of the chisel,its just not designed to do that.

A proper mortice chisel is a beast of a thing coming away from the sharp edge the steel increases in thickness and rounds its self off till the stock is like a bar of steel.This round in the steel is important because it is used to leaver against the walls of the mortice and clean the bottom.

Another way is to use a swan necked mortice lock chisel this is probably the most misunderstood tool I`v ever come across,its use is in its name.On a door the middle rail is sometimes referd to as the lock rail because architects like to fit the lock on the same level as the rail.This is ok when its a rim lock fitted on the door but who has rim locks everybody wants a mortice lock right.

So when you chop out for a mortice lock at this level what happens is you chop into the tenon of the middle rail and its a disaster all you do is chop into end grain the swan necked mortice lock chisel is just the tool to get all that crap out of there.I have two a 3/8" and a 1/2".

Any way our mortice is a through mortice and I chisel out a shallow groove about a 1/4" deep and about a 1/8" or so inside my knife marks.The reason for this is a buffer zone so that any damage to the edges is later on pared away. I drill a series of holes inside of the groove Turn the piece around and do the same on the other side.


How do I get the holes to go square and plumb into the wood ,well I can stand right behind the drill and I can see if it is plumb but I can not see to side to see if it is plumb in that direction I solve this by putting a mirror to the side and I can look into the mirror and see that it is plumb.

Once the holes meet in the middle I then start to clean the mortice out.
 

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