Author Topic: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise  (Read 19968 times)

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Offline Rob-GB

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Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« on: September 05, 2010, 09:33 AM »
I posted a while back that I would do a write up on tenons as there are some areas of misinformation on the net.
Several Fora have repeat posts about the subject and the forthcoming replies are often erroneous. Hopefully this post can be a source of information for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike.
Please take it as it is meant, a way to understand the (possibly) most common form of tried and tested woodworking joint. Of course any constructive criticism will be welcome as this is the first time I have done this kind of writing.
Thank you, Rob.

* Tenons.pdf (308.72 kB - downloaded 7122 times.) Click second link below, this one no longer works, for some reason
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 03:12 PM by Rob-GB »
Problem? No such thing! Only a solution waiting to be found:- RJ

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Offline Roseland

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 10:13 AM »
Many thanks for this.  Woodworking is only a hobby for me, but I've been asked to make a gate for some neighbours next month, and this will be invaluable.

Andrew
TS55, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, CT26, RS100, ETS125, CXS, MFS400, DF-500, Zobos.

Offline Deansocial

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 10:24 AM »
interesting read, i have saved a copy of that for reference as i dont really do that type of joinery but would like to for some of my own stuff at home. like many others i knew about 1/3 rule but there is sooo much more info than that.

thankyou

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 10:26 AM »
Thanks Rob, for an excellent post.  I shall certainly have this at hand next time I build a door!

For the benefit of those new to mortise and tenon joinery, I would emphasize a point you made in your article.  The rules for tenon width and thickness are useful and will keep you in safe waters, but don't take them too literally.  Particularly on thickness, size your tenons to fit the tooling (router bits or chisels) that you have available.

As an aside, what's your view on pegging?  I have respected friends who differ on this, some think a drawbored pin greatly improves the joint while others fear that over the long term the pin will loosen and actually weaken the joint.  

Thanks again.
Jesse

Offline Dovetail65

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 10:33 AM »
Nice,  thanks Rob!
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline JD2720

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 10:40 AM »
Thanks Rob.
Very nice write up.

Offline joraft

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 10:57 AM »
Nicely done, Rob. Thank you! 
John

Offline woodguy7

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2010, 11:23 AM »
Jesse

I do make a lot of doors with the exact methods that Rob has written so expertly (Rob, are you a school teacher) & i never peg tenons on a door.  I do however peg my tenons on the joint between a newel post & a stringer when making stairs.

Nice work Rob,

Woodguy.
If its made of wood, i can make it smaller.
Shirt size medium
p.s- ive started reading these too

Offline Rob-GB

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2010, 11:54 AM »
Many thanks for the feedback, so far, chaps. Much appreciated and glad that it will be of use to you.

Jesse:- Pegging is a tricky subject, so many differing methods to suit the different applications.
From my experience machine made pegs/dowels cause the most problems, for post and beam pegged joints all advice is to use riven pegs.
That is pegs that are driven through a sharpened tube or metal plate drilled to suit the size required, so that the peg is formed following the natural grain direction. This makes for a stronger peg.(So should be employed in all similar applications) The next problem is shrinkage. Not always to do with the peg shrinking but with the main timbers not being acclimatised to their enviroment.
On smaller works, if the drawbore is offset correctly to suit the timber being used the joint will pull up nicely, the correct adhesive will finish the job. Then if the peg shrinks, the joint will remain intact unless the glue fails. I am in danger of doing another few pages so will stop for dinner here [wink]
Regards Rob.
Problem? No such thing! Only a solution waiting to be found:- RJ

"A $2 guppy swims......" Deke

Offline Rob-GB

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2010, 12:10 PM »
Jesse

I do make a lot of doors with the exact methods that Rob has written so expertly (Rob, are you a school teacher) & i never peg tenons on a door.  I do however peg my tenons on the joint between a newel post & a stringer when making stairs.

Nice work Rob,

Woodguy.

I am just a simple carpenter and joiner. I love what I do.
I recently had to adapt some pegged doors, the glue was long failed, so I could ease out the wedges with a 6mm chisel and drill out the pegs. Part of the problem was that the doors had been dipped to strip the paint, not good for old animal glues!
Stair strings to newels and where possible handrails to newels are drawbored due to the strength it brings to the construction. But that's the reason you do it too! [smile]
Problem? No such thing! Only a solution waiting to be found:- RJ

"A $2 guppy swims......" Deke

Offline Holzhacker

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2010, 01:10 PM »
Very nice write up Rob. Thanks for posting it.
Markus
"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline RL

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2010, 01:53 PM »
Thanks Rob. Good write-up which I really enjoyed.

Just one tiny note, you referred to the vertical pieces as muntins but they are in fact mullions. Muntins are the thin strips of wood or metal that divide glass panes into smaller panes. In the UK the words are sometimes incorrectly interchanged but it is nonetheless incorrect. 

A horizontal piece would be a transom.

Richard.




Offline David

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2010, 01:53 PM »
Great post, Rob. I admire what you can do with renderings.
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline meldgaard

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2010, 01:56 PM »
Many thanks for this.  Woodworking is only a hobby for me, but I've been asked to make a gate for some neighbours next month, and this will be invaluable.

Hi Andrew

I bought a very inspirational and recommendable book:  "Building Doors and Gates: Instructions, Techniques and Over 100 Designs" for 18 ₤ from Amazon.co.uk.

Lots n' lots of illustrations and especially drawings
Festool'ic since 1997 ...

Offline Guy Ashley

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2010, 02:23 PM »


Thanks Rob. Good write-up which I really enjoyed.

Just one tiny note, you referred to the vertical pieces as muntins but they are in fact mullions. Muntins are the thin strips of wood or metal that divide glass panes into smaller panes. In the UK the words are sometimes incorrectly interchanged but it is nonetheless incorrect.  

A horizontal piece would be a transom.

Richard.




Hey Richard

Rob has done a great piece on this and he obviously trained as a joiner as I did and as far as I was taught a mullion refers to the vertical division in a window frame.

A muntin is the interior vertical division of a door or similar framing.

The thin strips of wood that divide glass panes into smaller panes are called glazing bars.
I have just checked this with the "Joiners Bible" "Modern Practical Joinery by George Ellis", a bit dog eared and dusty now but accurate.

Maybe lost in translation to Canadian!! [tongue] [tongue]

  
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 03:03 PM by Guy Ashley »
DIPLOMACY:

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Offline joraft

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2010, 02:33 PM »
Muntin
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Muntin or Muntin bar is a strip of wood or metal separating and holding panes of glass in a window. Muntins are also called "glazing bars", "muntin bars", or "sash bars". Muntins can be found in doors, windows and furniture, typically in western styles of architecture. Muntins create a grid system used to divide small panes of glass, called "lights" or "lites", into a single window sash or casement.

Windows with "true divided lights" make use of thin muntins, typically 1/2" to 7/8" wide in residential windows, positioned between individual panes of glass. In wooden windows, a fillet is cut into the outer edge of the muntin to "stop" the pane of glass in the opening, and putty or thin strips of wood or metal are then used to hold the glass in place. The inner sides of wooden muntins are typically milled to traditional profiles. In the U.S., the thickness of window muntins has varied historically, ranging from very slim muntins in 19th century Greek revival buildings to thick muntins in 17th and early 18th century buildings.

Until the middle of the 19th century, it was economically necessary to use smaller panes of glass, which were much more affordable to produce, and fabricate into a grid to make large windows and doors.[2] However, many considered the division of a window or glazed door into smaller panes to be more architecturally attractive than use of large panes. In the UK and other countries, muntins (typically called "glazing bars" in the UK, or "astragals" in Scotland) were nevertheless removed from the windows of thousands of older buildings during the nineteenth century in favor of large panes of plate glass. Restoration of these buildings in the following century increasingly included reinstatement of the glazing bars, which many now see as an essential architectural element in period buildings.

Muntins are often confused with "mullions" (which separate complete window units), and "astragals" (which close the gap between two leaves of a double door). Many companies use the term "grille" when referring to a set of decorative muntin bars that are added to the outside of a large, single pane of glass to give a sash the appearance of a "true divided light". In the UK, the term "grille" tends to be used only when there are bars sandwiched within the insulated glass glazing unit, and not stuck to the outsides of it.

Double or triple layer insulated glass can be used in place of ordinary single panes in a window divided by muntins, though this reduces the effectiveness of the insulation. Other insulating glass arrangements include insertion of a decorative grid of simulated metal, wooden or plastic muntins sandwiched between two large panels of glass, sometimes adding an additional grid of simulated wood muntins facing the interior to produce a more convincing divided light appearance.
John

Offline RL

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2010, 02:42 PM »
Hey Guy, I'm a Brit. I just live in Canada!

I am pretty sure I am right, but I don't to upset anyone, and I certainly would not want a vocab discussion to spoil a good thread.

I know a lot of these words are interchanged in common usage, and because muntins are not used anymore in windows, they are used synonymously with mullions. My original post was perhaps pedantic, but really it was intended for the North Americans who just use mullion. A muntin is the same as a glazing bar, or a grille in the UK.

The only reason I came across this was because my Granny's house had old-style windows with the diamond panes- which needed replacing and we had this whole muntin discussion at the time.

Anyway, no offense (US)/ offence (UK) meant and none taken!


Offline Deansocial

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2010, 03:01 PM »
Hey Guy, I'm a Brit. I just live in Canada!

I am pretty sure I am right, but I don't to upset anyone, and I certainly would not want a vocab discussion to spoil a good thread.

I know a lot of these words are interchanged in common usage, and because muntins are not used anymore in windows, they are used synonymously with mullions. My original post was perhaps pedantic, but really it was intended for the North Americans who just use mullion. A muntin is the same as a glazing bar, or a grille in the UK.

The only reason I came across this was because my Granny's house had old-style windows with the diamond panes- which needed replacing and we had this whole muntin discussion at the time.

Anyway, no offense (US)/ offence (UK) meant and none taken!


just checked the carpenters assistant and in there it is called muntin, montant or mounting.

Offline RL

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2010, 03:09 PM »
Dean, what is?

Offline Guy Ashley

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2010, 03:09 PM »
Hi Richard

None taken or infered.

Maybe we could start our own Fog translation system (Muntin/Mullion = the sticky up bit in the middle!)  [poke] [bite tongue]
DIPLOMACY:

"The art of being able to tell someone to go to Hades in such a way that they positively look forward to the journey"

Offline Deansocial

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2010, 03:15 PM »
Dean, what is?

vertical section of a door.

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2010, 03:17 PM »
Laughing out loud!  English is truly the language that both unites and separates us.

Reminds me of a long ago day when I programmed in a computer language named APL.  The author's idea was to totally avoid the use of english language terms such as "go to" or "print" since they could be ambiguous and misleading.  So the language was composed of characters such as the backslash and ampersand to symbolize actions such as adding and subtracting.  It produced incredibly compact and unambiguous code, but it took me half an hour to understand each line and gave me a huge headache.  

I guess we need some ambiguity....

Offline Dovetail65

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2010, 03:19 PM »
Muttons and Mullions
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline Deansocial

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2010, 03:23 PM »
Muttons and Mullions

maybe the 2 terms are mixed up between door and window manufacture, i believe the book i have taken it from to be from 1869, pity i cant find the window terms in here to compare

Offline joraft

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2010, 03:35 PM »

... I certainly would not want a vocab discussion to spoil a good thread.


Richard, I think vocabulary discussions can be both interesting AND useful.

In the auto repair business there are often many names for the same part or tool. I use to tell my employees that it wasn't important how many names there were for things, only that everyone in our shop used the same ones.  [big grin]
John

Offline RonWen

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2010, 07:17 PM »
A great post Rob, I'll definitely add that one to my reference notebook.  Thanks.

Offline Rob-GB

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2010, 08:59 PM »
Just to clarify, I was always taught that the vertical members in doors between the stiles are called Muntins. The vertical members separating window sashes are mullions.
Every book written in Britain that I own on woodworking agrees with this and one published in Canada. However, I have a book written by an American on making doors and windows and he calls muntins mullions.
So I shall continue to call a muntin a muntin, you never know, it might just catch on over the pond.  [dead horse]  ;D

 [thanks] for all the feedback, guys.

Rob.
Problem? No such thing! Only a solution waiting to be found:- RJ

"A $2 guppy swims......" Deke

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2012, 03:47 PM »
I posted a while back that I would do a write up on tenons as there are some areas of misinformation on the net.
Several Fora have repeat posts about the subject and the forthcoming replies are often erroneous. Hopefully this post can be a source of information for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike.
Please take it as it is meant, a way to understand the (possibly) most common form of tried and tested woodworking joint. Of course any constructive criticism will be welcome as this is the first time I have done this kind of writing.
Thank you, Rob.



Thanks very concise and informative. Not sure how I missed this originally.
Just for the heck of it I compared your notes to the appropriate sections of George Ellis's "Modern Practical Joinery" and Ernst Joyces' "The Technique of Furniture Making". While they are both very good, and cover more ground, your take is much more to the point.
Tim
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 08:48 PM by Tim Raleigh »

Offline duburban

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2012, 06:12 PM »
what happens when everyone has the domzilla? will there be times when a professional trying to make a living will use these methods vs something so quick? for those of us without complete wood working shops it actually would be cheaper to invest in the domzilla to complete these tasks. i will learn this joinery when i have space and time to carry the vernacular through my generation but its interesting to see tooling compete with tradition. i just saw a lecture on CNC, man do we have to produce to keep up with those things!

thanks for the information Rob
helper: i used a festool "circular saw" to do something simple and it made it really hard

me: exactly, it makes simple cuts complicated and complicated cuts simple

Offline Rob-GB

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Re: Traditional Mortise & Tenon Joints: A Treatise
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2013, 04:40 AM »
I know this is an old thread but I had cause to come find it again and I am, well, gobsmacked!

The PDF has been downloaded 2810 times.!!!  [jawdrop] That is amazing.

 [thanks] for all the interest shown, I hope it has been useful to those that read it.

Rob.  [big grin]
Problem? No such thing! Only a solution waiting to be found:- RJ

"A $2 guppy swims......" Deke