Mortise and Tenons

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Mortise and Tenons

Postby TReischl » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:45 pm

Recently my better half asked me to build two craftsman style end tables. She was peeking over my shoulder while I was reading some of the WoodSmith magazines. She liked the one in issue 127. . . . so I had my marching orders. She also wanted the lower portion to be a light painted color. Here they are:

T1.jpg


These tables required a total of 128 mortise and tenons. That's a LOT of mortise and tenons. When I first started woodworking I did these in the normal ways. Router, table saw, etc. After the first dozen the attraction of making tenons wore off.

One of the problems with making M & T's is that the mortise usually winds up with rounded ends, but the tenon has square corners. So either the mortise has to be squared up or the tenons need to be rounded.

Time for a fixture! This one sits on the front of my machine. When I moved the machine I gave myself some extra room up front for doing off table cutting. Here is the fixture:

M3.jpg


This shows a part loaded with the stop bar locating the end of the workpiece. Very important to move that stop bar out of the way before cutting!

This method works extremely well. Doing them on a table saw is inconsistent at best since the piece has to be flipped over which causes the thickness of the tenon to be dependent on the thickness of the piece. Yuck. With this method it does not matter if the thickness varies quite a bit since the CNC cuts all the way around the tenon in one go resulting in very consistent tenons. Way better.

I also cut the mortises on the machine using my vises and an end stop.

Here are some more pics of the tenon fixture:

M4.jpg


M2.jpg


And....

M5.jpg


The tenons, depending on size, took anywhere from 8 secs to 42 secs to cut. I used a .25 4 flute end mill and cut in two depth passes. The tenons are .75 long. Ah, one note. . . the plans called for .25 thick tenons. I increased them to .312 to make it easier to cut the mortises (that way I could just program a profile cut rather than doing a straight line thing which creates problems controlling the size of the mortise).

The lower portions of these tables are made from big box store 2 X 6 construction pine. The tops are maple. I usually have a bunch of 2X6's sitting around my shop so they get nice and dry. Around here construction lumber is about $1 per board foot compared to $6 for maple. When something is to be painted I see no reason to spend the extra bucks. Even poplar is about $4 so that is out too. I use a Zinser primer coat to seal off the pine to prevent bleed though.

Having a program like Aspire makes this all much easier.
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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby IslaWW » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:23 am

Nice job Ted!
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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby Ms Wolffie » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:06 am

OOOH OH
The purists would have several heart attacks of the thought of using a MACHINE!!!
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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby zeeway » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:52 am

Excellent job. They look perfect, and even have a drawer. You must be a patient man.

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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby TReischl » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:27 pm

Ms W:

Yup, the purists are probably gnashing their teeth as I type. Not only did I use a machine to create the joinery (In an of itself enough to cause one to be banned from the Neanderthal Club of Woodworking), I also:

1. Used, heaven forbid, construction pine!
2. To add insult to injury I then painted the wood!

One of the other forums I participate in has a "Neanderthal" section for guys who like to use hand tools exclusively. I use hand tools when they make sense. For instance, creating the tiny rounds on the corners of the spindles was done by using a Japanese chamfer plane set to take a very small cut and then finishing the roundover with a piece of sandpaper. Where the lower shelf meets the corner posts also required some chisel work.

Angie:

Patient? Sort of I guess. Cutting all those mortise and tenons went really fast. Like the tenons on the spindles. A total of 72 had to be cut. The machine time was about 7 seconds. So I got them all done in about 20 minutes. Putting them in the fixture took longer than the cutting. Mortises went real fast, I think I was at the machine about 25 minutes total doing them.

Where the patience really came in was prepping the stock. Most of it is 3/4 thick so I had a lot of resawing to do followed up by flat panel sanding to thickness. I don't own a planer anymore for a couple of reasons. I owned several over the years and was never happy when one decided to a take a nice chunk out of the middle of a board, and then I do not have space in my new shop for one. I could have bought S4S stock to thickness, but that does not really work. Most of the boards have some cup to them and those boards tend have really huge knots placed in the worst areas. The key to a project like this is having stock that is a consistent thickness and is flat.

I am about to get started on the matching sofa table in a few days after all the finishes are dry on the tables. It is in WoodSmith 104. I am a huge fan of WoodSmith. Their projects are clearly laid out and the design work is excellent.

One of the points of this post was to show that magazine furniture projects are pretty simple with the aid of a CNC machine and Aspire. The software is perfect for this kind of work in that it does exactly what is drawn. It also makes modifications simple. I increased the width of the end tables by 5 inches cause SWMBO thought they were too narrow (I agree). She wants the sofa table to be about 4 inches taller. Easy peasy with the software.
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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby Leo » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:52 pm

Sweet - can you do a video?

Once I have my new machine running I will do a setup for through the table end working. Nice to have the rack and pinion and the middle of the machine wide open.

That is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Glad to see your post about it.

Ohhh, and I do drag my knuckles from time to time - with the hand tools.
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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby mtylerfl » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:56 pm

Ted, thank you for posting your project and the description of the process you used. I like your jig setup - makes a time-consuming job so much more efficient than "standard" methods! I really like your tables, too. The contrast between the white painted base and the Maple top was the right choice! Yields a very clean, neat and professional appearance indeed.
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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby TReischl » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:24 pm

Thanks Michael, I am always impressed with your projects and the write ups you do for them. Talk about professional!
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Re: Mortise and Tenons

Postby Ms Wolffie » Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:15 pm

It was a blessing of eormous proportions when I found this forum with members with the patience of Job.
My hands are so gnarled with arthritis that I can no longer grip a handtool and I mourned that y woodworking days were over.
Now I can keep my head high and feel like a worthwhile member of the community.
Thank you and Happy new year to all of you.
Cheers
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