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Uses for Mortise and Tenon Joints

Updated on May 27, 2011
mortise and tenon joints
mortise and tenon joints

When it comes to woodworking, people often find it quite difficult at times to stick multiple pieces of stock or wood together, no matter whether they are beginners or experts in the field. This is when mortise and tenon joints come in handy. There are not few of the woodworking professionals and amateurs in existence out there that often take advantage of the mortise and tenon joints as they turn out to be a pretty strong joinery techniques. As a matter of fact, thanks to the strength the mortise and tenon joints can offer, they have been used ever since hundreds of years ago. During the period of the ancientEgyptor even the period before that, mortise and tenon joints were used as well by the people at that time. The composition of the mortise and tenon joints back in that period consisted of cheese.

What Is a Mortise?

Speaking of mortise and tenon joints, it is of utmost importance to know in advance what a mortise actually is. Well, mortise is a term used to represent a cavity that people carve out a wood piece so that it is capable of accepting a tenon. A mortise often comes in a rectangular, square or a round shape. Then, what is a tenon?

What Is a Tenon?

Well, a tenon is a wood section that is left with some edge protrusion of a board so that it has its size matched to that of a mortise. This is of utmost importance because the place for a tenon will usually be inside a mortise.

What Are the Uses for Mortise?

For those that are interested in carrying out their own woodwork can often make use of mortise for the purpose of putting in conjunction multiple pieces of stock or wood. It is often the case that mortise is meant to be a hole into which a tenon will fit. With that being said, the mortise is intended to keep the tenon firm and stable in its place.

What Are the Uses for Tenon?

As in the case of mortise, tenon in woodworking is usually used to join together multiple pieces of stock or wood. Only, the difference between mortise and tenon is that while mortise is meant to hold the tenon, the tenon is meant to stick into the hole of the mortise. This way, the mortise and tenon joints are able to hold the woodwork strongly enough. Then, when the mortise and tenon joints have been put in conjunction, people can then utilize a glue to make the joinery even stronger.

Tenon also comes in the double tenon type. This particular kind of tenon is often pretty handy to use on timbers with quite a wide range of sizes. Besides the double tenon, there is the twin tenon as well. This one can be used when people happen to notice that the rail of the tenon becomes wider than the thickness it has.


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