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Discussion Starter #1

I’m a newbie when it comes to joints. I’ve set up my router table and I’m having a good time learning about its capabilities (and limitations).

A few projects I’m looking to do require mortise and tenon joints. My plan was to use my router table and fense to “plunge” cut the mortises with a straight up cut bit. Then use my coping sled and a slot cutter to cut the tenons. This is going to leave me with rounded mortises and squared off tenons.

So my options as I see it are:

1) Use a chisel to square up the mortise (ick)
2) Use a rasp, sandpaper, something to round off the tenon (not as bad)
3) Just make the mortise slightly longer so the square tenon will fit (easiest option)

Now I realize that that option #3 would be the worse case for strength, but I’m wondering if that’s an acceptable way to do things. I guess it would also depend on how much stress the joint is going to get.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually they can be done either way. It's up to the preference of the craftsman. I think I'd rather pare with a chisel, than rasp and sand. As for the depth, the tenon should have a nice slip fit, you can't bottom out the tenon, and air has to escape.
thanks Cabinet man,,, is there a particular type or brand of chisel you would recommend for a job like this? :thumbsup:
 

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I have many sets of chisels, and recommend you learn to sharpen edged tools. A very sharp honed chisel cuts effortlessly. A good selection would include narrow to wide (for example 1/4" to 3/4" or more). Some are metal capped, and others are plain. Paring can be just all hand work or tapping with a mallet. For deep mortises, a mortising chisel may be more comfortable.

Sets from Buck Brothers, or Stanley will get you going and won't break the bank.




 

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2) Use a rasp, sandpaper, something to round off the tenon
To me this is the easiest way. I know there are tools to make the round edge - square - but you have a lot less tear out by rounding the tenon off. Course if you have a mortise machine -
then squaring the ends is very easy.
 

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sharp tools

I do this all the time, and I've done both mortise squaring and tenon rounding. Either way works. I wouldn't recommend a shorter, squared tenon in a longer, rounded mortise (option #3). Not that it wouldn't work. If your tenon fits snugly on the cheeks (no side to side play) and you glue it, there's no reason it won't hold. But if you anticipate torque on the crosspiece, you're joint will be weak for that purpose.

With sharp chisels, I prefer to square the mortises, most times. It takes me about 30 seconds to do each mortise. (years of practice!) Either way, sharp chisels are ELEMENTAL to easing labor.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I do this all the time, and I've done both mortise squaring and tenon rounding. Either way works. I wouldn't recommend a shorter, squared tenon in a longer, rounded mortise (option #3). Not that it wouldn't work. If your tenon fits snugly on the cheeks (no side to side play) and you glue it, there's no reason it won't hold. But if you anticipate torque on the crosspiece, you're joint will be weak for that purpose.

With sharp chisels, I prefer to square the mortises, most times. It takes me about 30 seconds to do each mortise. (years of practice!) Either way, sharp chisels are ELEMENTAL to easing labor.
Makes sense MM. I'm just starting to appreciate hand tools. So I don't yet have sharp chisels or a way to keep them sharp. But that is in my future. For now Option #2 will work for me! Thanks for all the feedback guys...
 

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Makes sense MM. I'm just starting to appreciate hand tools. So I don't yet have sharp chisels or a way to keep them sharp. But that is in my future. For now Option #2 will work for me! Thanks for all the feedback guys...
Here is my favorite way to keep chisels sharp...
http://www.woodworkstuff.net/scary.html
...it's easy & will not break the bank.
It will even restore chisels that have been misused & have huge deep pits in the blade edge! :)
 
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