The Strength of M&T Joints

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SWMBO and I had the privilege of revisiting Colonial Williamsburg a couple of weeks ago, our first time back in over 20 years. We spent over a week touring all the shops, demonstrations, etc. One of the items we admired at the St. George Tucker House was this gate.
While in the house, the host mentioned the gate during the tour. Seems this particular gate was built and installed in 1857 (nope, not a typo), and had been in use, outdoors, all this time due to the mortise and tennon construction. Like an absolute idiot, I didn't even think to ask what it was made from, but my guess would be white oak. White oak was extensively used for siding both in the originals and the repairs/reconstructions.
An absolutely wonderful trip for anyone interested in woodworking, history, metal work, etc.
Regards, Roy
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Roy.. I made a crib 38 years ago out of red oak. used M&T on all joints. Used white glue. Our 2 boys used it and also 2 grandchildren have used it. Not one loose joint. I only had a small table saw and a drill press plus some wood chisels at that time. W W
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original Queen Ann oak windows. Total respect to the guys who made them - I see the marks of their tools every day- because they have lasted so far 300yrs and when I have finished with them they will be good for a few more. The construction is in 4" x 4" oak with massive open mortise and tenon joints, draw bored and no glue. By open I mean the joint resembles a big flat finger joint. They appear to have recieved no more than three or four coats of paint in their 300 years, the sapwood is all long gone, many of the sills (despite being very tough heartwood) are beyond repair, but hey, they are bing fixed and still in use.
Difficult to imagine what was involved in the felling, sawing and joinery in a time before steam power.
Tim w
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