Good method for assuring flush M&T joints.

I am in the process of building some bedroom furniture. The style is made up of mortise and tenon frames with 1/4" (really 5.2mm, damn plywood manufacturers) plywood panels. I have completed one piece so far and found it was a lot of trial and error to get perfectly flush mortise and tenon joints and I ended up with sloppy panels due to 1/4 slots and 5.2mm ply. I cut the last ones using my router and a 1/4 bit. Since that time I bought a 5.2mm slot cutter and straight bit, that I would like to use to make the mortises. I figure I already need a 5.2mm slot all the way around the inside for the ply I might as well just cut it a bit deeper at the ends it will allow for completely hidden yet fairly easy mortises. One additional note given that my wood is all from rough and home prepped thus it is not truly 3/4". It is all the same just not 3/4" So to get back to the real questions. 1. Is a 5.2mm (roughly 7/32") tenon enough? can't really imagine it not being enough but figured I would get your opinions. 2. More importantly, what methods do you all use to get the depth of your tenon to mate the mortise properly. 3. If you use a Tablesaw jig do you have any recomendations for a shop built type, SWMBO just let me buy a used PM66 not likely to go for a $100+ tenon jig. 4. I did recently buy a rabbetting bit for my router. Any good ideas on using it for the tenons.
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1. That is a slightly undersized tenon but I wouldn't worry about it. In case work, like end tables, derssers, etc, you aren't going to get the kind of work stress you would in a chair or entry door.
2. Just cut the tenon short, end grain gluing adds no real strength. In your case, just make sure you stop the combo panel slot/mortise so it doesn't run out the end of the stiles. You'll have to plunge it on the router table to get it started but no big deal. Having tight face to face grain on the tenon to slot mating will give you all the strength you need. Also, I prefer to run the stiles long and the rails wide and worry about getting the interior of the frame square and to the right dimension, then trim the framed panel down to size.
3. Since you have such a nice saw, just get some MDF and a few bolts and build a dado sled. I'll actually have a nice design for one for myself in a few days, it's just in my head righht now. You can do you tenons laying flat on the sled for the face cuts and on edge for the cheeks.
4.I prefer setting up the TS for precision work. The router is just not as consistent. This may just be me but I've tried bot a lot and only use the TS for anything that matters. Although I'll get my Leigh M&T eventually, or maybe even a MultiRouter. What material and finish are you using?
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Snio

Yes but still easier is to cut the croves for the panel with you TS. You can easily center the grove and make it fit exactly.

Um, Cut it the same length as the depth of the mortise. For framed panels I typically let the grove for the panel also run to the ends of the boards and also become the mortise so to speak. Then I cut the tenons to fit into that slot on the ends of the stiles. You do see the tennon at the ends of the stiles but with a perfect fit it looks fine ans shows off the joint.

I use no jig at all. I cut the tenons on the router table with a straight bit.

I typically use a mortising bit to cut the tenons at the router table.
NOW WITH THAT SAID, you mentioned that not all you stock is exactly the same thickness. Cutting the slots, tenons, and mortises will be a real PIA unless all of your stock is exactly the same thickness.
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Just a few additional comments and clarifications. 1. The wood is all the same thickness. All I was getting at was that it was not exactly 3/4" thick, it could be .72". 2. What I meant by depth of the tenon was not the length but the amount of wood cut from the surface to the cheek. I want to make sure that the distance from the surface to the edge of the mortise is the same as it is from the surface to the cheek. This should give me a smooth flush joint. Only one side of the frame and panel is visible so I just need to get one side to look flush. Hopefully this makes more sense.
Wyatt
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OK that should not be a problem.

Again if you use the TS blade to rip down very close to the middle of the rails and stiles for the panel to fit into and then turn the board around and rip again it guarantees that the slot for the panel will be in the exact middle of the board. Tweak the fence setting so that the slot is wide enough for the panel to fit into. For cabinet doors and panels I typically make that slot 1/2" deep. Then at the router table cut the tenons at the ends of the rail ends with a dado/straight bit to the depth of the slot on both sides This also guarantees that the tenon is centered.
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Yes, it is enough tenon. Go for good fit between your mortise and tenon and that's what is most important.

Careful measurement. There's no substitute for this. You don't have to go to extreems and use a mirometer on these things, but good old fashioned care is a must.

I don't have a jig so I can't talk about them. You really don't need a jig though. Make all of your cuts on the table saw being careful to cut precisely. Do all of your shoulder cuts at the same time, then your cheek cuts all at the same time. I generally just use my table saw to nibble away at the tenon instead of using a jig or a dado blade, or a router. It really does not take that long to do it and then I hit it a lick with a chisel to smooth it all out afterwards. The only reason I do that is because I'm right there and I don't have to set up another tool. If I did decide to use another tool, I'd probably use my router. I started out doing tennons this way before I ever had a router, and sometimes old habits just stick.

Yeah - use it. It'll work just fine on the tenons. Again, just measure carefully, set yourself up a block on your router fence to establish your deepest cut, and then run it through using your miter.
The best part is that if you can cut a tenon and chisel a mortise, then you can cut and chisel a good mortise and tenon. Don't rush it and pay attention to detail.
--

-Mike-
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