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THE MORTISE AND TENON JOINT - THE MORTISE

V. Ryan 2003 - 2008

 

An animation of a plain mortise and tenon joint joint is shown opposite. This type of joint has a wide range of uses and is particularly useful when manufacturing furniture. Several types of mortise and tenon joint exist. (see joints index page). The marking out and cutting of all the mortise and tenon joints are based in this simple joint. Below is a stage by stage account of the marking and cutting of the mortise part of the joint.

The mortise gauge is a special type of marking gauge and it is used to mark wood so that a mortise can be cut into it. The diagram to the above represents a typical mortise and tenon joint. The mortise is marked out using the mortise gauge although it must be set to the correct size of mortise chisel very carefully. A mortise chisel is then used to remove the waste wood.
The mortise gauge is normally made from a hardwood such as rose wood with brass being used for the parts that slide along the stem.

 

 

MARKING OUT THE MORTISE

1. The distance between the fixed spur and the adjustable spur is set so that it matches the width of the mortise chisel. The width of the mortise chisel should match the width of the mortise to be cut in the wood.

   

2. A try square and a marking knife are used mark the lines at the top and bottom of the mortise.

3. The stock of the mortise gauge is pressed against the side of the wood. It is then pushed along the wood until the mortise is marked out correctly.

   
   

4. The mortise chisel is then used to break the surface of the waste wood by gently tapping the handle with a mallet.

 

5. The waste wood is then slowly removed, this time, by applying more force to the handle of the chisel with the mallet. The waste is removed until the entire mortise hole has been cut.

 

PDF FILE - CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION OF EXERCISE SEEN BELOW

 

 

 

 
 

QUESTIONS: Using notes and diagrams describe how a mortise gauge is used to mark out the mortise of a mortise and tenon joint.

   

CLICK HERE FOR MARKING OUT AND CUTTING THE TENON

 

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