Tee Bridle Joint

Traditionally, most paintings are made on canvas stretched over a wooden frame. Readv-made

frames are expensive, and it is worth making your own, using a variation of the mitred bridle joint. The frame is assembled without glue so that, if the canvas becomes slack due to changes in humidity, tension can be applied by driving wedges inside each corner of the frame to expand the joints. In the following instructions, the face side of each piece of wood, or 'stretcher', refers to the surface that faces the canvas. Descriptions of right- and left-hand ends of a stretcher mean when thev are

seen from face side.

Cutting Tee Joint

2 Marking the mitred shoulders

Using a mitre square and knife, score a diagonal from the outer corners on both sides of the stretcher

5 Cutting the joint

Mark the waste clearly with pencil, to avoid confusion. Saw out the waste, following the gauged lines and mitred-shoulder lines. Plane a small radius along the edges of the stretchers, and plane the face sides to a shallow bevel, sloping towards the inner edges. This prevents the wood marking the canvas.

Once the canvas is stretched over the frame, apply tension by driving two shallow wedges per joint into the slots left on the inside of each corner.

1 Marking the square shoulders

Cut four stretchers to length. Draw square shoulders all round, one stretcher-width from each end.

2 Marking the mitred shoulders

Using a mitre square and knife, score a diagonal from the outer corners on both sides of the stretcher

3 Gauging the open monise and tenon

Set the pins of a mortise gauge to one-quarter of the thickness of the wood. Adjust the stock to place the outermost, fixed pin on the centre line. Working from the face side, scribe two parallel lines on both edges and across the end grain at the left-hand end of each

Concealed Mortise

mortise member

Centre Bridle Joint

tenon member



The T-bridle serves as an intermediate support for a frame and, with modifications, is sometimes used to joint a table leg to the underframe when a long rail requires support. Unlike the corner bridle, which is relatively weak under sideways pressure, the T-bridle is similar in strength to the mortise-and-tenon joint.

1 Marking the shoulders

Mark the width of the mortise member on the tenon member, using a marking knife to score square shoulders all round. Apply light pressure only across the edges. Allowing for slightly overlong cheeks on the mortise member, mark square shoulders all round with a pencil and try square.

4 Cutting the tenon member

On both sides of the tenon member, saw the shoulders down to the gauged lines, then make three or four similar saw cuts in between. With the work held firmly, chop out the waste with a mallet and chisel, working from each edge towards the middle. Having assembled the joint, allow the glue to set, then plane the ends of the mortise cheeks flush with the tenon/nember.

tenon member mortise member

Bridle JointCutting Tee Joint

2 Gauging the joint

Set the pins of a mortise gauge to one-third the thickness of the wood, and adjust the stock to centre the pair of pins on the edge of the workpiece. Scribe parallel lines between the marked shoulders on the tenon member, then mark similar lines on the end and both edges of the mortise member.

3 Cutting the open mortise

Cut the mortise as described for a corner bridle joint (see page 36). Alternatively, saw down both sides of the open mortise with a tenon saw, then use a coping saw to remove the waste, cutting as close to the shoulder as possible. If necessary, trim the shoulder square with a sharp chisel.

Table Leg Joint


When joining a square leg to a table underframe, make the 'tenon'about two-thirds the thickness of the rail. Offset the open mortise so that a slightly overhanging table top can conceal the leg's end grain.

Chapter ^ A lap j oint is a simple corner joint used to construct box frames and small cabinets. The basic joint requires the ability to plane the ends of workpieces perfectly square and cut a rabbet across the grain. It is only moderately strong, and requires reinforcing with panel pins or modifying to include a tongue and groove to improve its rigidity.



A basic lap joint is only marginally stronger than a straightforward butt joint, but it is an improvement in appearance, since most of the end grain is concealed. As a result, it is sometimes used as a relatively simple way of connecting a drawer front to drawer sides.

Level Gauge Bridle

1 Marking out the rabbet

Cut and plane both members square. Adjust a marking gauge to about one-quarter of the thickness of the rabbet member, and scribe a line across the end grain, working from the face side. Continue the line on both edges, down to the level of the shoulder.

Level Gauge Bridle

2 Marking the shoulder

Set a cutting gauge to match the thickness of the side member, and scribe a shoulder line parallel to the end grain on the back of the rabbet member. Continue the shoulder line across both edges to meet the lines already scribed.

Tee Bridle Joint

3 Cutting the joint

Clamp the rabbet member upright in a vice. Following the line scribed across the end grain, saw down to the shoulder line. Lay the work face-down on a bench hook and cut down the shoulder line with a tenon saw to remove the waste. Make a neat joint by cleaning up the rabbet with a shoulder plane.

Tee Bridle Joint

4 Assembling the joint

Glue and clamp the joint, then drive panel pins or small lost-head nails through the side member. Sink the pins with a nail set and fill the holes.

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  • Stephanie
    How to make a tee bridle joint by hand?
    8 years ago
  • steven
    Which type of saw is used to cut down inside faces and the shoulder of a plain bridle joint?
    5 years ago
  • Nora
    How to draw a tee bridle?
    1 year ago

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