A tenon is a tongue, and a mortise is a slot. In the mortise-and-tenon joint, a tongue is formed at the end of one piece of wood, and a slot of the same shape is made in the other piece of wood. Then the tongue is inserted into the slot to make the joint.
This is one of the most important of the furniture joints, very strong and with excellent appearance. You can cut tenons on the ends of wood pieces using a backsaw or a router. Use your wood chisels to make the mortise. Good measuring technique and careful control of the chisel arc important in making a good mortise and tenon.
There arc many inventive variations on these joints, but if you know the basic joining methods, you should be able to identify most when you see them. An example of a variation would be a double tenon. On the end to be joined, the maker forms two tenons instead of one. On the joining picce. he makes two individual mortises instead of one. In other words, two tongues and two holes or slots arc made instead of one. You won't see many double tenons. The drawing above shows variations made on the basic joint.
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