Trestle Table #22: Fixed My Fit by Deepening My Mortises

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 10-26-2016 12:30 AM 1006 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 21: Mortise Work for fitting Tenons Part 22 of Trestle Table series Part 23: Next Step: Shape my Leg Parts, Then Glue-up »

I really like that my work is reviewed by other woodworkers through the blog entries I make on my projects. Today was a good example of how someone helped me.

My leg tenons were not fitting deep enough into the foot and cap mortises. I commented that I was going to trim the length of my tenons in order to have them sit better. Before I entered my shop I read a comment that was posted today in my blog. Jack cautioned me about cutting my tenons shorter. I appreciate that comment. It let me reassess my situation before making a change that would be irreversible.

I had a conversation with my wife about the blog comment I received. With that conversation it became clear that I should really measure the lengths of my tenons with my digital calipers, write those measurements in my workshop log, then measure the depths of the corresponding mortises. Gee, I should have done that when I started my attempts to dry fit these mortise and tenons. What I discovered was that my assumption was correct. I did not reach the mortise depths I intended. I was about a 1/10 of inch too shallow. While I was discussing this possible outcome with my Annie, I stated what should have occurred to me before. Instead of trimming the length of the tenons, I should cut the mortises deeper in order to reach the depth they should have been all along.

I have a nice Robert Sorby 3/8” mortising chisel. It was time to use it.

Per Jack’s suggestion, I placed the leg in my bench vise, took a sharp hand chisel and reworked this part’s beveled edges on the tenons.

I remeasured the depths of the mortises and recorded that in my wood shop’s journal. The depths changed universally from about 1.20 inches to about 1.40 inches in depth. I then inspected the result with another dry fit of the leg assemblies.

Thanks for your help, Jack. I appreciate it. I learned a good lesson today. I will remember the lesson and apply it straight way with my next mortise and tenon project. I will get better at it and hopefully become a better woodworker.

-- --- Happy Howie

1 comment so far

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2814 days

#1 posted 10-26-2016 07:52 PM

Well there you go eh!
Amazing what goes on out of view and presents a precise result.

A man has got to be “Happy” with that simple artisan fix.

Keep up the good work guys

-- Regards Rob

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