Making The Joint

When I use a mortise and tenon joint, I like to make the mortises first and then fit the tenons to the them. This way you'll have a perfectly matched joint.

A twin tenon is cut almost like a single tenon, as you can see in the box at the bottom of the page. The only difference is removing the waste between the twin tenons. The easiest way to do this is on the table saw, using a tenon jig.

MEASURING AND MARKING. The key to a good fit is accurate measuring and marking. So to start off, I take time to mark accurate layout lines.

CUTTING. Once the joint is measured and marked, I cut the cheeks and short shoulders, as shown in the left drawings in the box below. Then it's just a matter of cutting a wide slot down the center of the tenon to create the twin tenons (right drawing below). The final step is to clean up any saw ridges left on the bottom of the tenon in the center and on the shoulders using a sharp chisel.

NOTE: Width of tenon should not exceed height

Locating Tenons. The space between the tenons should approximately equal the combined total of the shoulders. In this case, that means a spacing of3A".

At this point, you can test the fit of the tenons in the mortises. If they're too tight, you can pare off the waste on the cheeks using a chisel. Your goal here is to get a snug fit, leaving enough room for a film of glue inside the joint. All that's left is to fit the tenon in the mortise and apply the clamps.

Mortise and tenon joinery is a strong and lasting way to join two workpieces. I think you'll find that adding a twin mortise and tenon to your woodworking skills will keep the joinery on your projects holding strong for a long time. S3

Auxiliary fence

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