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Thread: Looking for some process advice for a tusk tenon

  1. #1
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    Looking for some process advice for a tusk tenon

    Hey guys. I don't post much in the Neander forum, as I slipped on a banana peel and fell headfirst into the bowl turning vortex about a year and a half ago. I hate to admit that my planes, chisels, and saws gathered some dust, but hey, nobody's perfect.

    So anyway I really enjoy hand tool woodworking, and I've managed to crawl my way out of the vortex long enough to begin construction of a trestle style dining table, out of cherry.

    I'm going to try and post some pics, but I'm on iPhone at the moment and I'm not sure that I'll be able to pull it off.
    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  2. #2
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    IMG_0019.jpg
    So this is where I stand right now. I'm having a tough time uploading pics, and forum runner doesn't play nice with iPhone 7, so I will have to wait until tomorrow and post pics from my laptop which is currently on my desk at work.

    My my plan is to utilize a tusk tenon on the stretcher, which I have yet to mill, and lock it in place with a wedge in an angled mortise cut thru the tusk tenon.

    Do do you guys have any advice on how to cut the angled thru mortise for the locking wedge? I want to keep it as tight and true as possible, and I've never used this joint before.
    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  3. #3
    Roy Underhill just recently had an episode about tusk tenons and also how to cut the mortice. I am pretty sure it is somewhere on PBS for free. Basically one just chisels it out. One could also use an angled paring block for the final cuts to make sure it is perfect.

  4. #4

  5. #5
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    Basically, fab up your tusk first by shaping a very shallow angle on the thickness of your tusk, then use the shaped tusk laid up against the face of the leg (tusk face up, just as it will be inserted as the pattern) to scribe the shape of the tusk mortise on the protruding edge of the stretcher end. Position the shaped tusk for scribing across the protruding stretcher end at an approximate half-way insertion or slightly less (where you want the tusk's final tightened position to be) position when you are ready to scribe. You can use a bevel gauge to transfer the scribed lines on the end of the protruding stretcher end lines down to the desired position on the protruding stretcher end for the tusk mortise. It is recommended that the tusk angle be very, very shallow to be best effective. I just described the basic procedure for a horizontal tusk that runs through the protruding leg stretcher at 90* to the stretcher end.
    Last edited by David Eisenhauer; 02-04-2017 at 11:09 AM.
    David

  6. #6
    Brian, Before you get too far, you may want to shape a mock up of your tusk tenon and see if it interferes with using the table. Based on your pictures, it looks like a long tusk tenon could be a serious shin knocker for anyone seated at the ends of the table.

  7. #7
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    Brian Holcombe has a nice blog and has used wedged tenons on a number of his projects. It is probably worth a look.

  8. #8
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    Thanks David. That's basically what I had in mind, just wasn't sure of the particulars.

  9. #9
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    Kevin, that's a good point. I will mock it up first; it may even help to prevent me from ruining a nice piece of 8/4 cherry haha.

    The legs aren't yet attached yet to the underside of the table, so I can play with the placement to some extent to make everything work. It's 42 x 84, so it can seat 6 comfortably. I just have to get the leg assemblies positioned correctly.

  10. #10
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    Very nice looking table by the way. More photos please.
    David

  11. #11
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    I brought my laptop home, so I can upload some more pics.

    As much as i like working with hand tools, I also like to actually complete things. The amount of free time I that I have to devote to the craft is not nearly as much as I'd like, so I find myself making cost/benefit decisions with respect to how to approach tasks for a given project. Call it the economics of time management i suppose.

    That said, I dimension nearly all my stock by machine, and did use a router for several parts of this build. Anyway...

    I started the table at work, since I work in a commercial shop and it was just easier to manage there. To keep the glue up simple and stress free, I made two slabs and then joined them in the center with a spline.
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    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  12. #12
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    I used a straight edge and a router to define the shoulders of the breadboard tenons, and removed the balance of the material with a jack plane. Then i used a carcass saw to cut the 2 remaining shoulders and rip the tenon down to size. Followed by a No. 4 1/2 and a scraper plane to smooth out the top. As I'm sure you guys know, flat sawn cherry can be a real pain to work with a hand plane. I tried to stay away from the 112 as much as possible, but there were spots that I just couldn't get to behave with the smooth plane.
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    This task done, I moved on to the breadboard ends. After milling the stock a fuzz oversized, I laid out the mortise, drilled out the waste with a forstner bit (in a cordless drill ) and pared the walls clean. After a bit of fussing with the tenon thickness and a few adjustments to the shoulder, the breadboards were fitted to the table top.

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    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  13. #13
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    This completed, I drilled through the breadboards, slipped them back on, and marked the tenon to be drilled for the drawbored walnut pegs. The holes were slotted to allow for seasonal movement and offset from the breadboard holes by 1/32". This may not seem like much of an offset, but it was plenty to pull the breadboard up tight to the shoulder. Any more and I would have split the tenon trying to drive the pegs in. Applied glue to the center 12" of the breadboard/table joint, and just a dab to the ends of the pegs to lubricate them a little, then slammed the pegs home & cut them off flush. That part was nerve wracking!! I kept waiting to hear a cracking sound as the tenon split or my breadboard end let go. Fortunately everything went smoothly. Then I planed the breadboard flush with the surface of the table.

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    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  14. #14
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    Once both breadboards were installed and the entire top was smoothed, I got some finish on it to protect it from any moisture in my basement shop & keep it stable. My wife wanted an "antique" look to the table, so I used multiple applications of medium walnut Danish oil, which produced a nice deep tone that we are both pleased with.

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    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  15. #15
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    I cut the pattern for center of the leg assemblies on a CNC router at work which is about the furthest possible point from Neanderthal woodworking. Sorry, just being honest. Rough cut the leg blank on the bandsaw, and used a router to finish them up.
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    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

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