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Tip #132
A Few Mortise-And-Tenon Facts

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Here are a few important rules you should know about making mortise-and-tenon joints:

Proper mortise-and-tenon proportions:

All dimensions in inches

Thickness of stock being mortised
Maximum width of mortise
Ideal tenon length
1/2
1/4
5/8
5/8
5/16
3/4
3/4
3/8
1
7/8
3/8
1
1
1/2
1-1/4
1-1/4
1/2
1-1/2
1-1/2
5/8
1-3/4
1-3/4
3/4
2
2
7/8
2-1/2
  • If possible, it's usually best to cut the mortise portion of a mortise-and-tenon joint in the larger of the two members.
  • For the tightest, truest fit, tenons should have shoulders on all four sides.
  • Always cut the mortise first...then fit the tenon to it by "shaving" its cheeks.

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