Mortise and Tenon Tutorial


Is it necessary to cut the 1×1 notch in the end of the apron (tenon piece)? Why not cut the mortise in the leg to the full size of the apron and slip the whole thing in? Any benefit to strength somehow?

You can certainly do it that way as well. Because the apron is flush with the top of the leg you are basically cutting a hole in the leg with 3 sides instead of 4. It feels a little cleaner to me to have a fully closed mortise.

Do these joints buy you anything compared to pocket holes + glue? Strength? Or is it just better craftsmanship?

Well it’s better craftsmanship for sure, but pocket holes are great as well. When you use mortise and tenon everything you need is in the wood (except for the glue), you just have to cut it out. With pocket holes you have to use screws, which over time can wiggle loose and are also an added expense to what you are building. One table might not be a big deal, but you start building a lot and those screws start costing you.

What was the dimensions to cut out? 1×1?

It can be whatever you want. We used 1×1 there but you can change it up. Bigger the tenon the better usually.

Do you use glue?

All the time!! Glue is your best friend when it comes to woodworking.

How big is your shop?

About 1600 square feet.

What about a coopen saw?

Cooping saws are great!

Spade over forester?

Really depends on what you’re doing and if you’re drilling into end grains or face grains etc. My experience has been, however, that those spade bits will really take out the wood while leaving me reasonable control…the forstener bits can really grab on and have a mind of their own. In the end just be careful!! Both are great though.

Thanks for tuning in,
Clint Harp
& The Team at Harp Design Co.

Comments (1)

  • Heath Hensgens

    Hey guys! Just watched your video tutorial on mortise and tenons. Helpful stuff! I’ve never seen a barefaced blind method. Do you find that this type of mortise and tenon holds up well on tables? And are your aprons actually 1 inch or 3/4 inch? Thanks! And please keep the videos coming!

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