This has probably been asked before, but...
I recently started watching David Marks on DIY. I have yet to see him cut a
"real" tenon. Always loose tenons using a multi router.
Why is this? Is there an advantage to loose tenons that I am unaware of?
Does he just like to show off his multi router? Are they just easier to
I use to only watch Nahmmy and I have learned 90% of what I know from him.
Nahmmy "rarely" made loose tenons.
Loose tenons are just a different way of doing it. I'm not sure why he
does it that way so often, but in situations were you have ALOT of them
to do, the router method can make quick work of it. I use a simple
homemade jig for my loose tenon mortises. You don't need a
multirouter. But when I only have a couple to do, I usually do
integral tenons on the bandsaw.
Actually I am sure I saw Marks use his dado head to do a tenon the
It appears that they are easier to make if you have already dropped
$2700 (plus the price of the router) on the multirouter.
The other advantage is that you do not need a special bit to the
tennons on rail and stile doors. For the windows I am making at the
moment loose tenons would not provide enough strength, but for cabinet
doors where you don't need as much strength and for entry doors where
you have a lot of tenon surface area this is is not as big an issue.
On Sat 21 May 2005 10:54:29p, email@example.com wrote in
I recall an article in a wood mag that I can't remember, that ran tests on
three different styles; mortise & tenon, loose tenon, and - I think - half
It was a while ago and I can't remember the tests they used. But I *do*
remember their conclusion that the loose tenons took the most abuse, and
they couldn't really give a good explanation why.
The half laps failed first, and their final word was that although the
loose tenons got the highest marks, they had to put so much stress on both
the other styles to make them fail that in their minds there was no
And as others have said, there's other good reasons. You can cut the wood
to length without worrying about the tenons. You can set up a nice jig to
batch cut mortises in everything. You can make the tenons out of whatever
you've got laying around, and you can crank out tenon stock that will
ALWAYS fit nice and snug.
And when you've got a three thousand dollar mortise maker, well jeez. The
only reason I can think of to use standard tenons is when you want to make
a nice-looking through tenon.
I read an article in a recent issue of a woodworking magazine, about a guy
who does 16th/17th century woodworking with wet red oak.
His M&T's are loose fit an d done with drawbores. Zero glue. Evidently his
opinion is that if you drawbore the M&T, it doesn't matter how tightly they
fit and in fact he preferred them a little lose.
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments:
Yeah, I'd like to give that a try sometime.
For those of you who just joined in (and to make sure Saville and I are on
the same page), a drawbore is when you make a M&T joint and then you run a
dowel through it - except when you drill the hole you stop as soon as you
hit the tenon, take the tenon back out, and then drill the tenon hole about
a 16th or so back. Then you put the tenon back in, whittle the tip of the
dowel so it'll fit into the offset hole, and whack it in the rest of the
way so it pulls the tenon in, and the tenon now has a constant pull into
Am I correct? I heard there are also metal pins that are used to line up
the holes. Put in the drawbore pin, whack it till it's inside the hole,
then follow it with the dowel and when the pin falls out the other side
you're done. Sure seems to me that would be just fine without glue.
Of course, never having tried it, I probably don't know all the things that
could be done wrong. Like drilling the tenon hole too far back or too close
to one edge or something else I can't see till I've already screwed it up.
Back towards the shoulder...(just to be sure we are on the same page)
that's how I understand the process.
In this article the guy made a drawbore M&T, and then sawed through it to
show you what happens to the pin..it deforms into a very slight U shape.
This shape also helps to lock the pin in, according to the woodworker.
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments:
If you're going to use one or more draw pegs to
hold a M&T joint together without the use
CHAMFER THE END OF THE PEG
CHAMFER THE HOLE IN THE TENON
Sorry for yelling but I wanted to get
your attention. By chamfering the
end of the peg and the the hole they'll
self align Rather than SPLITTING!
I used draw pegs on the M&T joints
on the base drawer unit to legs joints
just in case I ever need to dismantle
this beast for any reason. Nice
to have reversible joinery - sliding
dovetails are also neat to use - just
Since we're talking about a 1/32 - 1/16th offset between
the hole in the mortised piece and the hole in the tenon, and the
the tenon may be 1/2" thick, I don't think a wooden "nail"
cut end or not, will "cut" that much wood. And if it could,
if it's a through peg, it'd also "cut" the other side of the
mortise as well?
I suggested chamfering both the peg and the tenon's hole
to make drawing the joint easier - remember, we're
talking about a draw peg M&T joint and I had a through
draw pegged joint in mind. I made the chamferring
the hole suggestions based on splitting the end of a
walnut peg in a draw peg M&T joint on my work bench
base unit. Of course the tenons were 3/4" thick maple and
the mortise was in a 3x3 spruce leg - not your typical
More info please as to peg cutting cross grain.
Yah but, but, I thought the whole idea was to apply pressure on the
mortised board so the whole thing stayed together better. If you
deliberately whack the pin in so a piece of it actually breaks off, then
you basically got nothing but a pinned mortise, not a drawbored one.
On Mon 23 May 2005 08:37:15p, firstname.lastname@example.org (John) wrote in
Oh. I think you're looking for the Loose Tenon Definition subthread further
down. This is the Drawbored Tenon subthread, which has degraded to the
Square Pins vs Chamfered Pins in Drawbored Tenons subthread. Sorry.
To every one who made a comment here tonight on M&T, thank you from
someone who is trying to learn somethin,
Glad to see none of that@$&^%(*@ stuff back and forth. This is enjoyable
Looking forward to more and again thank you all
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