Archives for category: Mortise and tenon joint

Last month I took a 5 day weekend for the sole purpose of getting in the woodshop. The first project was making a top for a small machine treadle I had stumbled up on. I had decided this would make a nice chairside table in my office and would go with my desk, which is an oak butcher block top on a cast iron lathe base from the late 1800’s. The top has 2 layers, so that my laptop can go underneath. This was a simple “warmup” project:


Next up on Day 1 was small chairside table for Peggy. She wanted something small so as to not take up a lot of floor space, and fit between the arm of her recliner and the wall. “Make it funky” she said. The top and base are cherry, the 4 legs are hard rock maple.


There is no metal (nails or screws) in it anywhere. It is all tight fitted mortise and tenon joints, held together by friction.




Then she says “You need one, but make it more masculine”. This took me into day 3.


It is white oak.


Day 4 saw work on bedside tables for the guest room. After much discussion we decided one should be feminine and delicate, the other more masculine. The feminine one came first:


The tapered legs and apron are cherry, the top is a stunning piece of Tiger Maple


The masculine table is a Shaker trestle design, but proportioned for bedside use.

It is also all mortise and tenon joinery, pegged to keep the joints tight through the seasons.


It is also maple and cherry, but opposite of the other side table with cherry top and tiger maple legs.


The top is “lace grained” cherry, a rather rare natural occurrance. This particular piece of cherry was cut and milled in the 1950’s.



5 days of personal rejuvenation!



I believe shop furniture should be well made and attractive. This is a cabinet I made for my drill press to sit on. It is made of oak using mortise and tenon joinery. There is not a nail in the entire piece! The only screws are holding the back and the top on.

The drawers in the drill press stand are constructed using mortise and tenon joinery.

The mortise and tenon joint is one of the strongest and most fundamental joints in furniture making. It consist a socket, or mortise, in one piece and a tongue shaped tenon on the other piece. The two fit together to make a really strong joint. Mortise and tenon joints can be visible and decorative, or hidden from view.