Round mortise and tenons

I am putting the finishing touches on the side table. I had some pieces of redwood for rails between the legs – they are thin so I thought I would avoid the complexity of a regular tenon to insert into the leg, and opt for a round one.

This meant I only had to drill a hole in the leg for the mortise – no need to make it square with a chisel. The tenon was made round using the following steps:

  1. The shoulders were scored with a chisel
  2. A slightly oversize tenon was made with a carving knife
  3. The tenon was then lightly forced into the mortise to leave marks on the tenon’s sides. This shows where material still needs to be removed.
  4. A few more slices of the tenon cheek with the carving knife gets the tenon to the final dimension.

I think this works well for thin stock given the simplicity of the method. One downside: care needs to be taken during the glue-up that the rails are in the correct orientation and not swivelled off-axis. This would not have been a concern with a traditional mortise and tenon as the rectangular fit prevents any rotation.

3 thoughts on “Round mortise and tenons

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