A Tenon and Mortise joint is a traditional wood joint which provides a very strong hold. It also has the ability to sustain variation in temperature and humidity by not allowing expansion and contraction between the wooden joints.
Things you need:
- Two separate blocks of wood (for creating Mortise and Tenon from each)
- Chisel and Hammer
- Marking gauge
Step by step guide on creating a Tenon and Mortise joint:
Marking the height and width of the Tenon
- Arrange two blocks of wood (mortise and a Tenon) as shown in the image below. Typically, a Tenon’s thickness ranges from 1/3 to 1/2 of the wooden stock from which it protrudes.
- Align the two block of woods with each other and mark the points on Block of wood for the mortise which represents the width of the Block of wood for the Tenon.
- Next, you want to measure the height of the Tenon (or the depth of Mortise). Mark the points on the Block of wood of Tenon for its height.
- Now you have marked the height of the Tenon on one side, extend it on all the four sides of the block of wood with the help of a Marking Gauge, as shown in below images.
Creating the Tenon (The Protruded Part)
- Hold the chisel perfectly in the center of the smaller side of the Block of wood (from which you are going to make the Tenon).
- Align the Dual Marking Gauge with the chisel in such a way that that the inward and outward beveled blade coincides with the side boundary of the chisel. To understand check below image.
- After that, draw the lines on the Block of wood with the help of the dual marking gauge.
- Marking the lines perfectly on the Block of Wood (For making Tenon) should produce something like the below image.
Now it’s time to remove the part of the Block of wood so that only the Tenon remains.
- Use the chisel to slightly chip away the wood (only a little).
- Use saw to remove the part of the Block of wood.
- Use the chisel to remove the extra layering of wood around the boundary of the Tenon and also to soften it.
- Remove the remaining part with the help of the saw. With that, the Tenon is now completely ready.
Creating the Mortise
- Using the same reference on the dual marking gauge with which we have drawn lines on the Block of wood for the Tenon, draw lines on this Block of Wood (The one for creating mortise) in between lines whose distance between them represents the total width of a block of wood of the Tenon.
- Now with the help of the prepared Tenon, mark the cross-sectional lines on to the Block of wood with the help of the pencil and scale as shown below. The rectangular section marked with wavy figure needs to be taken out so that the Tenon can enter it.
- Secure the Block of wood (of the mortise) on a vice with the help of a clamp.
- Hammer the chisel into the cross-sectional rectangular area so as to create an empty slot there.
After creating a slot of the desired Tenon depth, the Block of wood should appear like this.
The mortise is created successfully.
Putting together the final product: Align the Tenon into the mortise and hammer it into the empty slot. Done.
Though the making of Tenon and mortise joint started a couple of centuries ago, they are still in demand due to ease in making them and the advantages that they provide. There do some more variations of The Tenon and Mortise joint. However, all them follows almost the same procedure as discussed above.