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Thread: Looking for some process advice for a tusk tenon

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Northeast PA
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    Ok, back to the hand tool world. The top and bottom pieces of each leg assembly were cut from 12/4 cherry we had left over from an architectural job at work. Mortises were drilled out with a bit and brace, and finished up with chisel & mallet. Tenons on center legs were tuned up with a shoulder plane & No 65.
    IMG_1996.jpg IMG_1997.jpg IMG_0008.jpg IMG_0010.jpg

    So thats where the build stands for now. I'll update the thread with more (hopefully successful) pics of the stretcher tusk tenon process. Thanks for looking!
    Let's Go Pens!!!!!!

  2. #17
    That's very nice work Brian! Often the name tusk tenon is applied to a through tenon with wedged key, it's not a traditional tusk tenon as would be used in timber framing. I don't mention this to be the forum know-it-all, but for clarity in providing advice on how to proceed since the two joints are cutout differently but work on the same principle.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  3. #18
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    Aug 2010
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    That's a great looking table top. Very nice work!

  4. #19
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    Mar 2006
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    Austin Texas
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    Your method for attaching the breadboard end is the method I have used over the years, but lately during my You Tube surfing, I am seeing that some folks do not run a continuous full-length tenon on the end of the top but, instead, cut out sections of the tenon to create a "gap-toothed" look with separate, corresponding mortises for each "tooth". Sometimes the full-length tenon has sections completely removed to create the gap-tooth look or sometimes a short stub tenon is left in place between the full length sections of the tenon (I guess to ensure that the breadboard end stays lined up across its full length). In the case of the stub tenons, of course the mortise runs the full length of the breadboard. Sometimes each tenon coincides with the individual board that was used to glue up the entire panel. Can you or anyone comment on a preferred method or the plus-minus of the various methods?
    David

  5. #20
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    May 2016
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    Northeast PA
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    I have seen this gap-toothed looking tenon that you're referring to, David. I just don't get it. The only possible advantage I could see to doing that is it would make your mortises smaller. Cutting that one big long mortise is kind of a PITA, but having one long tenon in a single mortise seemed to be the strongest and most sensible option to me. I left about a half inch of empty space inside the length of the mortise to allow for expansion of the tenon, so that is a non-issue.
    Let's Go Pens!!!!!!

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Northeast PA
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    Got to spend some time in the shop this afternoon. Milled up some stock for the stretcher, and started a mockup of the joint with the off cuts.
    I don't have a joinery saw large enough to cut a 5" long tenon, so I ended up using an old 28" 6pt Disston no 7 lol! I can honestly say that I have never attempted to cut joinery with a big ol rip saw before. It was a ton of fun

    I love hand saws. I mean, really love hand saws. My wife thinks I have a problem, and she's probably right...



    IMG_0023.jpg IMG_0030.jpg IMG_0026.jpgIMG_0032.jpg
    Last edited by brian zawatsky; 02-05-2017 at 11:52 PM.
    Let's Go Pens!!!!!!

  7. #22
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    May 2016
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    Northeast PA
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    So after cutting the shoulders, I cleaned up the tenon cheeks with a shoulder plane and some paring cuts with a sharp chisel. The surface of the tenon wasn't too bad, considering how coarse of a saw they were cut with. Then I cut a thru mortise in another piece of scrap. Totally forgot to take pics of that process, but it was pretty simple. Marked out the mortise on both sodes, drilled out the waste with brace and bit going in half way from either side, then chopped & pared the walls smooth.

    Mental note: next time, dont spend too much time making the tenon look pretty until fitting it to the mortise. Duh.

    Next shop session will be to make the wedge and cut the angled thru mortise in the tenon. Thanks for looking, and thanks for the nice comments guys! Seeing some of the work that you guys post here makes me feel like a hack lol!

    IMG_0034.jpg IMG_0035.jpg IMG_0037.jpg IMG_0036.jpg
    Let's Go Pens!!!!!!

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Australia
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    Brian; looking at some of the contents within your tool bag (shown within the 2nd photo on your previous post), there is a fair chance your an Electrician.

    Stewie;

  9. #24
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Northeast PA
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    Stewie, actually I am a mechanical engineer & CNC programmer in a commercial cabinet shop. Every once in a while they'll turn me loose from the shop and send me on an install, and that is my install bag. Sticking out of the outside pockets are a bunch of screwdrivers and my beater Buck Bros chisels.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Australia
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    Sadly the Cabinet Makers trade has been dumbed down over the last 10yrs to just screwing cnc cut panels together, and installing them as completed units.

    I know of a great number of qualified Cabinet Makers local to the area in my location that have just up and moved away from their trade because they are not being asked to utilize the skills they were once trained for. One can only smile and mumble to ones self at the good and the bad that comes out of an industry being forced to adopt high tech modern practices to compete for any work. Putting that aside, look forward to following your projects progress.

    Stewie;
    Last edited by Stewie Simpson; 02-06-2017 at 2:30 AM.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Northeast PA
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    Yeah, sad as it may seem there is really no other way to stay in business when your competition comes from a country whose workers make less in a day than I do in an hour.

    Also, anyone's opinion on the issue notwithstanding, my job allows me to make a good living. I would challenge any cabinet maker to keep up with the mental gymnastics that it takes to solve some of the problems that I encounter on a tough day, especially without a college degree or formal training. I came off the bench when I saw the opportunity to grow a new, useful, marketable skill and haven't looked back. It's the way of the world, unfortunately. Change or die.

    That's what my basement shop is for, and why I choose to fill it with century old hand tools. Doing my little part to preserve the integrity of the craft, however insignificant it may be.
    Last edited by brian zawatsky; 02-06-2017 at 7:48 AM.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Essex, MD
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    I used large tusk tenons on the stretchers for my workbench - they have held the base tight for years with no adjustment needed. The angle is pretty shallow by necessity (a sharper angle would likely work loose easier), so after I drilled out the majority of the waste, I was able to chop the mortises square and put the angle in using marked lines on top and bottom and chopping in from each end first, then paring it smooth. A bevel gauge helped "true' the chisel angle occasionally.

    When sizing and placing the mortise for the tusk (wedge), don't forget to make the baseline - the flat, vertical side of the mortise closest to the shoulder of the stretcher- closer to the shoulder than the width of the leg you are piercing. This will prevent the tusk from bottoming out in the mortise before it can really pinch the leg, especially if the leg shrinks in width with age. I made mine so the vertical mortise was about 3/32 below the surface of the legs.

    If you're worried about the protruding tenon, you could consider two smaller horizontal wedges (flat or conical) like some Arts and crafts furniture makers used. Using two smaller wedges can allow you to make the tenon protrude less. Look up designs by Charles Limbert in particular - they used square and conical wedges.
    good luck,
    Karl
    my bench:
    bench03.JPG

  13. #28
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    May 2016
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    Northeast PA
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    Sorry for the delay, haven't had time to post!

    The wedges were cut from a scrap piece of 10/4 walnut that I had laying around. Resawed into 3 pieces, laid out the wedge shape (selecting for straight grain to make planing easier), and cut the mock up wedge.
    IMG_0038.jpg

    The wedge mortise was laid out using a sliding bevel that was already set from laying out the wedge. Then simply drilled out waste and chopped & pared the mortise clean
    IMG_0039.jpg IMG_0040.jpg

    Used a batten and holdfasts to plane the wedge to size
    IMG_0041.jpg

    Assembled test joint

    IMG_0042.jpg
    Let's Go Pens!!!!!!

  14. #29
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Northeast PA
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    Before cutting the tenons on the actual stretcher, I thought it might be prudent to give the old "One Son" rip saw a bit of attention. Just a light jointing and a couple file strokes on each tooth did the trick. Cut much faster after sharpening.

    IMG_0050.jpg

    This chore complete I cut the tenons. This was a bit trickier than cutting the mockup, simply from a work holding perspective. I learned that my next bench will be MUCH heavier than my current one, and that it will have a tool trough to prevent this mess of clutter lol

    IMG_0051.jpg IMG_0052.jpg

    Drilled and chopped mortises in legs, cutting in half way from each side

    IMG_0053.jpg IMG_0054.jpg

    Stretcher in place. Planning on cutting a slight elliptical arch on either side of the stretcher to give it some character, and better make it match the legs. I'm hoping to get some finish on it all this weekend.

    IMG_0058.jpg IMG_0059.jpg IMG_0062.jpg
    Let's Go Pens!!!!!!

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Posts
    151
    That's a nice table, cleanly executed. I need to build myself one of these...

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