# Double Mortise/Tenon--Long

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• posted on May 6, 2010, 7:19 am
I have been contemplating the "best way" to cut a double-tenon on the end of a 4by4, the tenon should be 3.5" long 3" wide .
A "dado blade" would appear to work well, perhaps even best, for everything except the space between the tenons--and it is this space which I am concerned about and which motivated me to make this post. Options appear to be:
1. Drilling and routing it out (from both sides, before cutting any other part of the tenon).
2. Cut as much of it as possible with a TS and chisel the rest of it away.
3, Relying on BS and (which doesn't seem as precise as #1, or even #2)
4. Other???
5. Compromise and shorten the tenon in order to cut it on a 10" TS (which can make a 3" cut at 90 degrees)?
This is one of those details that, to the untrained eye, is easy to take for granted at first, and then it sort of sneaks up on you! My eye is still learning....
This problem made me wonder whether the original designer (Garrett Hack) might have used a TS bigger than 10" to make easier work of this?
Bill
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• posted on May 6, 2010, 11:26 am
I would do it all on the TS and then get the last 1/2" with the BS. Any inherent sloppiness of the BS will be minimised.
It should be easy to set a up the cut in the BS as you can just align it using the TS kerf. I would also make a couple of extra stopped BS cuts between the tennons to make it easier to chisel out the remaining center accurately (follow the depth of the kerfs).
BTW I agree that making 3.5" thorugh tennons is deceiving. The geometery is straightforward but making those cuts with the desired accuracy is non-trivial. Make no assumptions about the squareness of your stock, jigs and fences. Check and tripplecheck.
I helped a neighbor with a similar project (Red Oak headboard w/ 3" through tennons). Bless him; he thought the ends of his S4S oak came from the supplier square. He was in way over his head.
Regards,
Steve

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• posted on May 6, 2010, 8:06 pm

Nice idea! It seem one doesn't usually talk about stopped BS cuts (because of issues in backing up). Is this permissible here becuase these are straight-line cuts?

I was already wondering whether the "hardboard" mortissing jig I saw in a book is stuitably accurate for cutting the mortise... It basically consisted of two onebytwos, or so, placed one on each side of the (4by4) workpiece spanned by a piece of hardboard to which the router is afixed. As you mention, the desired accuracy is non-trivial!

No doubt, I am in over my head too... Wait until I get to planing the benchtop.... :) This project represents a "curriculum of study" to me. Maybe that gives me an advantage over your neighbor, maybe not.
I take it one of your first steps would be to put the 4by4s through a bench planer (which I do have)? BTW they are less than 30" long.
Bill
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 1:12 pm

Frankly i did not know that it was a "rule". I drive in reverse regularly (but with care).
make the first two cuts diagonally to remove the bulk of the waste and then subsequent cust will be much more shallow.

I think the place where you are likely to have trouble is not the jig but non-square stock.
"Never assume that wood is straight/flat/square. Only beleive that it is, when *you* made it that way"

No. Jointer First. Not just for flatness, but establishing the first 90-degree edge.
In lieu of a jointer. just make sure you plane first with any bow facing up. When the bow is gone, flip and get the other side. This will mitigate the bow. OTOH, you could knock off the high spots with a a hand place.
Establish your 90 angles at the TS after planing.
One more asside. It sounds like you are making this with dimmensional lumber. If I were doing it, I would (re)design my final dimmensions to something a little smaller (1/8" or 1/4") than the supplied stock to that I could mill to flat/square.
Cheers,
Steve
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 5:24 pm

Thank you for the numerous suggestions! It was my error for assuming a carefully selected 4by4 would be properly dimensioned. A good woodworker never blames the wood, no? I am sending your post to the printer and will be thinking about your outline as I work through this!
Bill
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 6:29 pm

I think I finally "get it" (great lesson)!
If I understand your instructions, the first of the sides at the TS is to be cut using a *miter guage* (probably wise to use some sort of "sled" to help support the stock, huh). Then the other side can be cut using the TS fence. Finally the ends can be trimmed square. Then it's time to take a break and admire the square stock...! : )
Bill

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• posted on May 7, 2010, 7:47 pm
Bill wrote:

...
...
Unless it is quite thick stock or your planer has very little down force (in which case it probably doesn't feed well), the planer will have a tendency to simply flatten the piece leaving you w/ two parallel (but still cupped) surfaces.
The point of the jointer in the operation first is that it doesn't have that mechanical force on the opposite side that does the "mashing down" so will, indeed, only hit the high spots.
If going to do this w/ a planer unless the stock is so thick as to not bow under pressure, you need to shim the cup places to prevent the flattening that otherwise will occur. This generally entails a planer sled.
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 7:57 pm

Your comment is appreciated! In the case of 4by4 stock, I don't believe any shimming is necessary, but it appears I'll be using this techique more generally.
Thank you, Bill
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• posted on May 6, 2010, 1:59 pm

The simplest and probably easiest approach would be to simply put double mortises in both pieces and use 2 floating tennons.
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• posted on May 6, 2010, 2:30 pm
On 5/6/2010 2:19 AM, Bill wrote:

Bow saw and chisel; band saw and chisel; hand saw and chisel; all previous with coping saw to remove most of waste between tenons and chisel to clean up.
These are not all that hard to do and tubafours are cheap. Spend more time wasting a few by practicing, and less time posting, and you'll be an expert in no time. ;)
Are you familiar with using a guide of some type with a hand saw to help make a square cut?
If not, DAGS ...
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Last update: 4/15/2010
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• posted on May 6, 2010, 7:27 pm

Swingman, I do try to do my "homework" between posts. You saw me list 4 different options. I didn't ask, "How do I cut a tenon?", I asked "How should I cut the space between two 3.5" long tenons?" My questions are getting better, no? : ) You have given me a lot of help. I appreciate everything on-topic which people post to the newsgroup which furthers my thinking and I thought there were some very fine and useful responses to my post. There are lots of ways to "skin a cat-fish". I think it's awesome that we can discuss them here. I'm probably in a bit "over my head" like StephanM's friend, but I'm learning! I'm glad I asked for a Starrett combination square for Christmas, it appears I'm going to need it! :) I still need a TS and a DP... Will do what I can with a BS and router in the meantime... Thanks!
Bill

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• posted on May 6, 2010, 11:27 pm

I might be able to help with the table saw -- got one that needs a good home. AND I'm somplace near the crossroads of America.
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 1:35 am
said:

Now, there's an attention getting post!!
Steve, Please send me further details. I just put my email address on my web site: http://web.newsguy.com/MySite /
Thanks! Bill
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 3:38 am
wrote the following:

In that case, Bill, the answer is a resounding "Carefully and precisely!", of course.
-- All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. --Thomas Paine
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 4:14 am

You may as well have said, "You're just talking about the space-- you don't need to cut the space, you need to cut the wood!" : )

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• posted on May 8, 2010, 1:53 am
wrote the following:

Verily, I could have, kind sir.
BE the tenon and you will discover the truth of yourself.
Namaste.
-- Live forever or die in the attempt. -- Joseph Heller, Catch 22
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• posted on May 8, 2010, 5:14 am

Let the wood talk to you. It knows whether or not it wants a tenon.
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• posted on May 8, 2010, 5:35 am

The wood won't shut up--it's up to you to listen... T. Enon.
See!
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• posted on May 7, 2010, 7:44 am

I have used a mitre box before. I can imagine a custom version, clamped to my workpiece, which could possibly work similarly (if all of the clamps held). DAGS failed me. Would you please provide another clue to the idea to which you were referring?
Bill

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• posted on May 7, 2010, 3:29 pm
On 5/7/2010 2:44 AM, Bill wrote:

Trust your imagination ... a picture being worth a couple of words, here is one that comes quickly to mind, if I understand what you are trying to do:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/files/SawGuide.pdf
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Last update: 4/15/2010