Depends on what the joint is intended to do.
1 - alignment only of two joined parts, not intended to keep the parts
pulling apart, then a 1/4 inch stubby would work
2 - alignment AND keeping two parallel parts from moving apart - like
then 1/2" and glue would work
3 - #2 AND expanding and contracting WITH the parts the tenon goes
through tenon, with a wedge or two for insurance
4 - #3 AND knock down/take apart/tighten - like a bench's stretchers -
long through tenon with mortise in the tenon for a big wedge
Also depends on what it might interfere with - a table apron to top of
for example. You don't two want tenons to a) bump into each other or
so little material on the mortised part so as to have no strength.
As for the width of the tenon - again it depends on what the joint is
intended to do. You've got 6 types of motion to deal with - movement
on the x-axis, movement on the y-axis and movement on the z-axis along
with rotation about each of the three axis. The size of the shoulders
mainly deals with rotation around one or more axis.
Rather than go on just check out
And while your there, if you haven't tried handcut dovetails, have a
Hope this helps.
To me the "rule of thumb" for "thickness" has generally been 1/3 the
thickness of the stock. IOW, a 1/4" thick tenon in 3/4" stock.
Length, for a non-through tenon, is generally is 1/16th - 3/16th less than
the depth of the mortise to allow for the glue.
I hesitate to read any meaning into what is said ... therein lies the
beginning of many a flame fest.
Traditionally the depth of a mortise is about 3/4 the width of the leg or
Depends on a number of things, the size of the workpiece in which the
mortise is being cut, the size of your chisel/tools/bit, the stroke of your
mortise machine, whether you are using joinery like mitered tenons, etc.
On a 1 3/4 to 2" " table leg, I generally make my mortises about 1" deep ...
maybe a little deeper for thicker table legs, or when I want to miter the
ends of the opposing tenons.
Ah, traditions! (G) I traditionally cut blind mortises between 1/2 and
2/3 the width of a stile or leg, but it really depends more on the
application dimensions, as you subsequently noted.
Also, I saw in your first post that you suggested 1/3 stock for tenon
thickness. When joints with those dimensions do fail in the wood, it is
by tenon fracture, and virtually never by mortise wall failure. (Of
course, the vast majority of m/t failures are glue failures.) This
suggests that a thicker tenon would lead to a theoretically stronger
joint, and so I went to approximately 1/2 stock for tenon width a number
of years ago. I can't say I've really notice any difference -- never had
a tenon failure before switching, either -- but it does seem to be a
I don't intend any of this as a contradiction to your custom, but rather
to point out that mortise-and-tenon joinery is tolerant of a fairly wide
variance in component dimensions.
On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 16:21:51 GMT, "Richard Heidel"
One third to one-half is about right, but consider matching the width
of your chisel or router bit. A deeper tenon will provide more
gluing surface, and therefore a stronger joint. A short tenon is
called a "stub tenon," and can be perfectly fine for applications
where strength is not a big concern.
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