Wedged Mortise & Tenon

12155 5F00 lead Wedged Mortise & Tenon

Wedged Mortise & Tenon

This joint will never loosen!

By Tom Caspar

Purchase the complete version of this technique story from AWBookstore.com.

Tap, tap, tap. The wedges go home, the glue squeezes out and a big smile lights up your face. “This joint isn’t coming apart for a hundred years,” you say. “It’s as solid as a rock!”

Making a wedged mortise-and-tenon joint is richly rewarding. Once you understand how it works (see photo, below), you can’t help but admire the joint’s elegant simplicity. It also sends a message. A wedged joint says to one and all, “This was made by a skilled woodworker.”

How the Joint Works

Here’s a cutaway view of a wedged mortise-and-tenon
joint. Driving in the wedges forces the tenon to flare into
a fan or dovetail shape. The mortise is tapered to match
the angle of each wedge. Like a dovetail, this joint can’t
pull apart after the wedges go home.

This tenon has two unusual features: saw kerfs that create
flexible strips and holes that disperse the strain that the
wedges create. The wedges cause the strips to bend; the
holes prevent the bend from splitting the rail.

 

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker July 2006, issue #122.

big 5F00 fcnawjul06 Wedged Mortise & Tenon

July 2006, issue #122

Purchase this back issue.

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12155 5F00 jointworks Wedged Mortise & Tenon

 Wedged Mortise & Tenon

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