Maple Trestle Table, Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again; and
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I’m back in the shop working on a game plan. #flairww -11:21 AM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to start by shaping the tenons. #flairww -11:28 AM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a melamine jig to guarantee a straight shoulder.#flairww -11:33 AM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If I had a tenon saw, I would consider cutting this joint by hand. #flairww -11:34 AM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Awesome! I just found a dust collection shroud for my Milwaukee routers! #flairww -11:40 AM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Using a router is awkward. It seems faster and easier to cut the tenon by hand, even without a saw. #flairww -11:56 AM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One thing I really like about hand tools is how easy it is to be accurate. Hand tools register off knife lines. Power tools don’t. #flairww -11:59 AM May 15th, 2012

TheGravedigger: @FlairWoodworks If you’ve only got one or two to do, it’s definitely faster. -11:59 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Agreed. #flairww RT @TheGravedigger: @FlairWoodworks If you’ve only got one or two to do, it’s definitely faster. -12:00 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The tenons would have been easier to cut before attaching the stretcher… #flairww -12:00 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks … but I couldn’t accurately lay out the tenons until after gluing up the stretcher. #Catch22 #flairww -12:01 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I chopped out the bulk of the waste from both edges, working down to the baselines but crowning the centre. #flairww -12:12 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now I need to flatten the hump. #flairww -12:13 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m cutting the tenon close to length. #flairww -12:18 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Cutting the tenon to length allowed me to scribe a line on the end grain. #flairww -12:21 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My medium shoulder plane looks tiny on this big tenon. Even a large shoulder plane would look small. #flairww -12:24 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I can use the shoulder plane to clean up the area next to the shoulder, then any other plane to flatten the rest of the tenon. #flairww -12:26 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to clean up the shoulder next. #flairww -12:33 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To start the second cheek, I’m using a Dozuki to cut the shoulder. #flairww -12:42 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Appropriately enough, as I use the handsaw, Rage Against the Machine’s “Take the Power Back” is playing on the @993thefox. #flairww -12:43 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m chopping across the grain to avoid causing splits. #flairww -12:49 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time to flip the leg over and chop from the other side. #flairww -12:58 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks There wasn’t much material to remove on this side so it went quickly. I’ll flip it over and finish the cheek. #flairww. -1:04 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I had to take a break to take care of some phone calls and emails. Just two more steps to finish the tenon. #flairww -1:31 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Because the grain would cause the wood to split if I worked from the end, I cut kerfs to control splitting. #flairww -1:38 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You can see that the short segments still wanted to split into the tenon. The kerfs stopped that from happening. #flairww -1:40 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks There is just one more shoulder to cut! #flairww -1:45 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here, the grain runs slightly uphill towards the shoulder so I don’t need the extra saw kerfs (just one at the shoulder). #flairww -1:47 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One tenon is done! #flairww -1:51 PM May 15th, 2012

asliceofwood @FlairWoodworks nice work. Looks really smooth. -1:54 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to turn on the camera and cut the other tenon. #flairww -1:58 PM May 15th, 2012

asliceofwood: @FlairWoodworks livestream or footage for later? -1:59 PM May 15th, 2012

HalfInchShy Be sure to use a stunt double for safety! RT @FlairWoodworks: I’m going to turn on the camera and cut the other tenon. #flairww -2:00 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If you think your shop is small, try putting a camera in it! #flairww -2:01 PM May 15th, 2012

HalfInchShy switch to a telephoto lens the other is too wide #badjokes MT @FlairWoodworks: If you think your shop is small, put a camera in it! #flairww– 2:06 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Well that was a miserable filming session. I had to work in too many awkward positions to allow a decent view. (The resulting video was not worth editing and publishing.) #flairww -4:12 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks As result, it took twice as long as it should have (there was also a phone call in there). I’m going for lunch. #flairww -4:13 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m back from lunch. My next task is to cut mortises in the feet. #flairww -5:20 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I drilled out the centre. I’ll chisel the rest. #flairww -5:29 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Cutting an angled, 7/8″ x 4″ mortise is slow but I’m getting there. #flairww -5:59 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And the fitting process begins… #flairww -6:13 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just discovered that the back of one of my most-used chisels is convex. Not cool. #flairww -6:17 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’ll be footage for later, provided it’s usable. #flairww RT @asliceofwood: @FlairWoodworks livestream or footage for later? -6:24 PM May 15th, 2012

Aolas @FlairWoodworks Loving your stage by stage photos. -6:24 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks for the feedback! #flairww RT @Aolas: @FlairWoodworks Loving your stage by stage photos. -6:24 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks is [the bent chisel] really that big of an issue? You’ve built some pretty nice pieces using it! Did you not lap the back when you got it? -6:25 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster The convex back made it very difficult to get plumb mortise sidewalls and meant a LOT of extra clean-up. #flairww -6:28 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster I did lap the back of the chisel when I got it. I either did a poor job or it has bent/warped since then. Thoughts? #flairww -6:28 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks check your stones! They may need to be flattened. -6:29 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use a diamond stone… #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks check your stones! They may need to be flattened. -6:30 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks sooooo… is it flat? -6:31 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yes. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks sooooo… is it flat? -6:31 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster I checked my diamond stone two weeks ago. It is flat. Good question! Never assume! I like it! #flairww -6:32 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks maybe you just invented the first “scrub chisel” -6:35 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If only…. It’s a shallow bent-chisel. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks maybe you just invented the first “scrub chisel” -6:37 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks then, huh! Im clueless. Can steel warp without extreme temps? -6:37 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Perhaps unseasoned steel? #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks then, huh! Im clueless. Can steel warp without extreme temps? -6:37 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster I know that unseasoned cast iron or improperly stress-relieved steel can warp. #flairww -6:38 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks save that chisel and reshape it with your grinder into a tiny little dovetail chisel -6:45 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve finally got one foot fitted. #flairww -6:45 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster Well, I do need a long marking knife. Maybe I’ll grind a spear-point on the end. #flairww -6:46 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks So now I need to cut the mortise in the second foot. #flairww-6:48 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks or just re-lap it… -6:49 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster Uh… no.  See – it’s really warped. #flairww -6:51 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks ohhhh convex, the length of the blade, I thought you meant convex across the blade. I would guess it’s from chopping with it. -6:54 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster It would be sad if these chisels were so soft that they bent in use. #flairww -6:55 PM May 15th, 2012

SMeekWoodworks @flairwoodworks How the heck did that happen? You using your chisels to open paint cans again? -6:56 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @SMeekWoodworks My paint can lids aren’t on that tightly ;) -6:56 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster“@FlairWoodworks: Cutting an angled, 7/8″ x 4″ mortise is slow  but I’m getting there.” That may have something to do with it… -6:56 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Rather than drill one row of 1/2″ holes, I drilled two rows of 3/8″ holes this time. #flairww -7:12 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t have a bit larger than 1/2″ that is also long enough to pass through the foot. #flairww -7:12 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oh, how I wish I already had my @FestoolUSA Domino XL. #flairww -7:13 PM May 15th, 2012

BillGriggs @FlairWoodworks I was gonna ask why but you already explained it. -7:17 PM May 15th, 2012

SMeekWoodworks @flairwoodworks You are going to love it! It’s perfect for the furniture you make. -7:18 PM May 15, 2012

FlairWoodworks @SMeekWoodworks Have you used one? #flairww -7:19 PM May 15, 2012

SMeekWoodworks @flairwoodworks We have one at GPD. Used it to make 33 interior doors. Pretty sweet. -7:20 PM May 15, 2012

FlairWoodworks @SMeekWoodworks How long did it take to cut all the joints? I can’t wait to get my Domino XL. But I must. #flairww -7:22 PM May 15th, 2012

SMeekWoodworks @flairwoodworks I think there was at least a day spent cutting all the mortises. Somewhere around 2000 of them. -7:24 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And the fitting of the second foot begins! #flairww -7:53 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Getting closer. #flairww -8:07 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks are you going to draw bore? -8:08 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I want to wedge the tenons. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks are you going to draw bore? -8:09 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ha! I got it! #flairww -8:20 PM May 15th, 2012

thewoodbug @FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster wedge on Sir. Wedge on -8:22 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the base put together, inverted on the table top. #flairww -8:23 PM May 15th, 2012

Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks DAMN!! That looks good!! Great job on this, Chris!! -8:26 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, Vic! It’s nice to see it taking shape! #flairww RT @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks DAMN!! That looks good!! Great job on this, Chris!! -8:26 PM May 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster“@FlairWoodworks: I want to wedge the tenons. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks are you going to draw bore?” Contrasting wood? -8:27 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster The wedges will be under the feet, only visible when the table is flipped upside down, so it doesn’t reallly matter. #flairww -8:28 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use carpenter’s pencils a lot in the shop, mostly for shading material to be removed. #flairww -8:35 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to cut reliefs into the undersides of the feet to make the table more stable. #flairww -8:42 PM May 15th, 2012

TheWoodBug @FlairWoodworks I will wait for the big stuff, looking incredible Chris, can I help with the finishing?? -8:51 PM May 15, 2012

FlairWoodworks @TheWoodBug Sure, Dan; I’d love your help. #flairww -8:52 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a framing square to mark the feet 2-1/2″ in from the edge of the table. #flairww -8:53 PM May 15th, 2012

TheWoodBug @FlairWoodworks Nice then I get to see the finish project in person, Violet dye might be nice then you can market it as Purple heart -8:58 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A dye might look nice on the table top! #flairww RT@TheWoodBug: Violet dye might be nice then you can market it as Purple heart -9:02 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cut the ends of the feet at 5 degrees. #flairww -9:03 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Five degrees didn’t look like enough so I recut the ends at 10 degrees. #flairww -9:08 PM May 15th, 2012

Tooltutor @FlairWoodworks Looking pretty sweet. You must be so ripped now. -9:11 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just want to get the feet glued and go for dinner! #flairww RT@Tooltutor: @FlairWoodworks Looking pretty sweet. You must be so ripped now. -9:11 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My bent chisel works fine for splitting out wedges… #flairww -9:21 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One wedge done… I don’t think I’ll be able to glue up the feet without disturbing the family. #flairww -9:22 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the four wedges cut. I’ll cut slots for them and stop there for the night. #flairww -9:40 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Last picture of the day! #flairww -9:53 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll do the glue-up next time. #flairww -9:54 PM May 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just remembered that I have a hollow chisel mortiser with a tilting head that would have worked well for mortising the feet. #flairww -10:23 PM May 15th, 2012

FestoolUSA @FlairWoodworks Yeah, the wait is never the fun part, Chris. Just two more weeks until it’s available. 5:05 AM May 16, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks fantastic! Coming together fast, now! 7:22 AM May 16, 2012

Do you like how the table is taking shape?  Have you ever seen chisels take curvature over time?  Let me know in the comments section.

Next time, I’ll glue the feet onto the legs!

4 thoughts on “Maple Trestle Table, Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons

    • Hi Don,

      Thanks for following along! I’m enjoying this build immensely and I am very proud of my work on this table. Can you wait to see it on its feet? That is going to be a very exciting and special moment!

      Chris

  1. Love the look of the feet. Wonder how they’d look with a 5º bevel on each long side.

    Nice work with the mortising. You reached your MTBF (mean time between failures) for that chisel :)

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