Monday, May 16, 2011

Joinery Options

Now that the decision has been made to use a 5/8" through tenon for the table legs I thought it would be wise to make a sample or two.  I choose that size since that's the largest hollow chisel bit I have and with the 1" square legs that'll leave a 3/16" shoulder all around.  I figured that by making it a splined tenon it would wedge tightly into the mortise plus make a nice design element -- I like the honesty of visible joinery.  Here's a practice tenon with a Maple spline.  The hole drilled at the base of the spline slot is to prevent the piece from splitting when the spline is hammered in.  I had a concern regarding the spline direction, it should go against the grain but with a square leg that's somewhat of a "crap shoot"!  I also wanted to put the splines at an angle on the rear legs and with the grain on the front leg, definitely thought it best to do a trial or two.

Tenon & Spline
Things went together well but I wanted to make sure the sides of the tenon were snug against the walls of the mortise.  Decided to do the test by cutting a sample apart on the bandsaw and see how it looked internally, that was kind of fun, felt like I was doing a research article like the woodworking magazines do!

Cut apart Joint

As you can see, the tenon is snug in the mortise and the spline is completely bedded in it's slot -- just like it's supposed to be.

I spent some of the day re-sawing the piece of Zebrawood, that is some  challenging wood to plane by hand.  I think the jointer plane needs to be re-sharpened since Zebrawood has what I'd term hard, sinewy grain.  To simplify it somewhat I cut it into the size needed for the three table tops and managed to make one panel this evening,.  The rest may come tomorrow after I get the stitches out of my knee and get ready for rehab.

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