Loose Tenons

For the best joint, a tenon should fit a mortise like a hand in a glove. But what can you do if the tenon fits a little loose?

■ Here's a solution to the problem of loose tenons that works well for me. What I do is enlarge the tenon with thin pieces of veneer sliced from a piece of scrap. I glue the veneer onto the cheeks of the tenon and shave or sand the tenon to fit the mortise.

There's another way of doing the same thing. If the tenon will be hidden after assembly, I cut a piece of brown paper from a grocery bag to fit the tenon. Then I moisten the paper with glue and wrap it around the tenon. Sometimes I use multiple layers of paper on an extra-sloppy joint.

Ken Munkel Design Director

Tighten a loose-fitting mortise and tenon joint by enlarging the tenon. Glue scraps of wood to the cheeks, then trim for a good fit.

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