Mortise and Tenon Foundations

$ 400.00

Foundations of Traditional Woodworking Series

Dates: Contact me to schedule this two day class

Tuition: $400

Materials Fee: $25

Class Overview:
This class focuses on learning to hand cut the mortise & tenon joint through a combination of demonstrations and hands-on practice. Click here to learn about the other classes in this series.


Like the dovetail, the mortise and tenon joint is an essential form of joinery for the hand tool woodworker. This joint is found in almost every traditional furniture form. While the mortise and tenon is not as revered as the fancier looking dovetail, it is no less important as it forms the foundation of strength and support for the piece. So it is important to be able to cut the mortise and tenon precisely and efficiently if your desire is to build furniture with hand tools.

In this class you’ll learn how to cut the blind and through mortise and tenon joints. We’ll go over the tools required to make the joint, show you how to lay the joint out, and show you how to saw and chisel the mating parts of the joint so that things go together with a minimum of fussing. We’ll also show you how to correct some of the most common mistakes, because we all make them from time to time.

While some tools will be available for your use, we encourage you to bring along your own if you have them. Getting comfortable with your own tools will make it easier to repeat the process when you are back in your own workshop. If you don’t have a true mortising chisel, a ¼” bench chisel will work for chopping the mortise, but a ¼” mortising chisel is best.

While there are no required prerequisites, this class has a strong focus on sawing precisely to a line with a hand saw and working precisely with a chisel. Therefore, if you are a complete beginner, or are not at least somewhat confident in your ability to use a hand saw and chisel, we recommend taking the Hand Saw Foundations and Dovetail Foundations classes before this class.

Topics Covered

  • Mortise & Tenon Anatomy
  • Tools for Mortise & Tenon Joinery
  • Mortise Layout
  • Chopping the Mortise
  • Tenon Layout
  • Sawing the Tenon
  • Blind vs. Through Mortise & Tenon
  • Making a Mortise & Tenon Frame
  • Reinforcing Mortise & Tenons

Course Features

  • Lessons 0
  • Quizzes 0
  • Duration 2 Days
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 0
  • Assessments Yes
Curriculum is empty

I'm a passionate woodworking enthusiast of over 30 years, with an interest in the methods of pre-industrial joiners and cabinetmakers. I'm a furniture maker, teacher, and author, and I share my thoughts and experiences with the goal of educating and inspiring others who are pursuing the craft of traditional woodworking. In addition to writing about and teaching traditional woodworking, I also build commission pieces for customers, and speak at woodworking shows and seminars.


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$ 400.00