Archive for March, 2010

Mortise and Tenon Joints

Mortise and tenon is one of the oldest and simplest joints around, but it is also one of the strongest. When tested against other joints by Wood Magazine, the mortise and tenon joint took two to three times more force to break than any other joint that they tested. It also took the award for hardest joint to pull apart. Over 4,700 pounds of force were used to pull this joint apart, and it still didn’t budge before the wood broke.

The mortise is the female “receiving” end of the joint. A hole is cut partway or all the way through a piece of wood. The tenon is formed on the other piece of wood. The tenon is the male end. It is a tab cut into a piece of wood that fits perfectly into the mortise. This joint joins two pieces of wood at ninety degrees, like a key in a lock.

An open mortise is the same as a bridle joint. A tenon is cut into the end of a board, and a mortise into the other, just like a regular mortise and tenon joint. However, the tenon is cut to be the full length of the end of the board. So, it is more like the tongue of a tongue and groove joint, only cut on two sides. The mortise is more of a slot than a hole. You can use a router or a circular saw to cut the slot and tenon of the open mortise joint.

A stub mortise is a mortise that doesn’t go all the way through the board. It is a hole of a specific depth and the tenon is cut to fit into the hole. A through mortise is one that has a mortise that completely goes through the board.

One of the oldest types of mortise and tenon joints is the dovetail joint. This joint is known for its tensile strength and is often used in furniture that will be put through a lot of pushing and pulling. You will most likely see a dovetail joint if you open your dresser drawer and take a look where the front connects with the sides. For this joint, pins are cut in the end of one board. Then tails, or slots, are cut in the end of the other board. The pins and tails are usually cut into a trapezoid shape and glued. No other hardware is needed once the dovetails are glued into place.

There are many types of joints that you can use depending on what you are building. Mortise and tenon joints are great for projects that will need to endure a lot of wear and tear. You can also use dowels for joining boards together. A dowel rod creates a strong joint and can sometimes be easier than some mortise and tenon joints. Consult a woodworking professional or follow professional advice when choosing the best kind of joints for your woodworking projects.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

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Biscuit Joinery

Biscuit joinery and dowel joinery are two easy ways to connect two boards together. These techniques are particularly useful when constructing cabinets, shelving or joining boards together to produce a flat surface, such as a table top. They are most popular when joining flat woods, such as plywood, particle board, or MDF (medium density fiberboard). You may want to join two boards together to make a custom width board for shelves or other projects. Here we will discuss a few tips for making your doweling or biscuit joining job a success.

First, we’ll discuss what a biscuit is. A biscuit is almost like a flat piece of dowel. It is usually two to four inches long and is shaped like a football. A slot is cut into a piece of wood, the biscuit is inserted with glue, and then joined with a corresponding slot in the opposing piece of wood. The two pieces are clamped together and allowed to bond. Be careful not to squeeze out all of the glue when you use clamps.

Most woodworkers prefer to use a plate joiner tool to drill the holes for biscuits. You can use a router, but many people consider using a router more dangerous. Using a plate joiner keeps the blade encased behind a blade guard so that you cannot cut yourself. Make sure that you study the safety rules and follow the usage instructions that come with your plate joiner, exactly.

To use the plate joiner, start by making your marks. Put your two pieces together and make a pencil mark where you want your biscuit to go. Remember that the biscuit will be hidden, so there is some play room with the placement. Simply set the depth of the blade to where you want it and line up the guide with your marks. You can set the bevel angle if you are not making a simple right angle cut. The motor should be running at full speed before you begin your cut.

You will notice that the cuts are slightly longer than the biscuit itself. This gives you a little extra room for error and makes a space for the glue to set. Simply position your boards together and line them up before you clamp them down to dry. Once dry, the joints will be almost as strong as a dowel joint.

Using dowels for joinery is a little trickier, as lining them up must be precise, but it is still the preferred method for many woodworkers. Once you master biscuit joinery and doweling, you can move on up to learning mortise and tenon joints.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

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Getting Started with Woodworking Tools

Woodworking is a great hobby to get into. Many people worry about getting started because they imagine that the tools are very expensive. There are a lot of expensive tools on the market, but as you get started, you’ll realize that a lot of the fancy tools out there are not necessary for completing many projects.

Choose a project that takes minimal tools to get started. As your skills progress, you may want to add in a tool here or there to start your collection. You don’t need to go out and buy all of the tools that you’ll ever need in one fail swoop. You will probably need a chisel, a hacksaw, some clamps, and a level or square to get started. Just do a little research and determine what you need before you go to the store. The woodworking section may seem overwhelming at first.

As you progress, you may start looking into some power tools. Not all are created equal. To avoid wasting money on tools that will break or not perform how you need them to, look at customer reviews or talk to a friend that has tried them. Cheaper doesn’t always mean lower quality, however. You could get some great deals on quality power tools by finding last year’s model on sale. You can find tools on auction sites for a lot cheaper than in retail stores. If it is a real specialty tool, you might be better off renting or borrowing it instead of investing in something that you may rarely use.

The next thing to consider is the type of wood that you use. Softer woods are easier to work with and are recommended for beginners. Hard woods are harder to work with and cost more, so mistakes can be more costly. Pine is generally cheap and easy to work with.

Before you go investing in a lot of woodworking books, check out what your library has to offer. There are often times a lot of useful books at the library that you can check out and use for tips and free plans. There are also a lot of sites on the internet that offer free plans, along with tips and reviews from people that have tried them. Save that money for the tools that you will inevitably want to buy!

If you want to build furniture, cabinets, shelves, or other household items, it might serve you well to research “joinery” before you begin. There are many different ways to join two pieces of wood together. The type of joint that you use will depend on the intended purpose of the project. The more weight the joint will need to hold, the more sturdy and secure the joint will need to be. Don’t be afraid to learn how to use dowels for joints. Using a dowel rod to create a joint gives it strength and helps you to create a smooth look, without a lot of screws or nails showing.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

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