# Rounding tenons or squaring mortises?

Swingman wrote:

Likewise on the nitpick, but before you increase the thickness of the tenon first consider the wall thickness of the mortised piece. The tenon isn't the only part of the joint that can fail.
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Steve Turner wrote:

"if possible" ...
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Swingman wrote:

I thought about writing my response so as not to get that reply, but I was too lazy. :-)
What's that rule? The walls of the mortise shouldn't be any thinner than the thickness of the tenon? For example, a M&T joint in 3/4" stock shouldn't have a tenon any thicker than 1/4"; Zat sound right?
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"Steve Turner" wrote:

A guide from my days doing machine design.
Allow the tenon to be 50% of the stock thickness which means the cheeks of the mortise will each be 25% of the stock thickness.
Based on the above, for a piece of 3/4" stock, the tenon would be 3/8" thick and each cheek will be 3/16" thick.
The cheeks and the tenon equally share the load, thus have equal total thickness.
Works for me.
YMMV
Lew
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On 12/14/2009 10:19 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

For machine cut mortises, the walls of the mortise combined shouldn't be thinner than the thickness of the tenon. This equalizes the amount of wood in each component. For 3/4" stock, the tenon should be 3/8".
For hand-cut mortises, you'll often see the 1/3" rule, which results in 1/4" tenons. There are two reasons given for this: 1) hand cutting is harder on the piece being mortised, so this gives a bit more wall strength, and 2) it's quicker to cut a 1/4" mortise since you're removing only half the material.
And note that it's the thickness of the piece being mortised that is the main criteria here...there's no real downside of having a fat tenon on the piece being tenoned as long as there is still some shoulder left. So if you have a table apron joining with a thicker leg, you can use a tenon thicker than half the thickness of the apron.
Chris
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On Sat, 12 Dec 2009 18:00:42 -0600, " snipped-for-privacy@teranews.com"

A steel file should round the tenons. There is a part next to the cheek that can be removed with a small sharp chisel. Generally a mortise is more difficult to make adjustments than a tenon.
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