Angled Mortise & Tenons

angled_1The title of this post is a bit of an overstatement – it should really say angled shoulders. I figured, if I wrote that, you’d probably think this was about workshop posture or something. I’m going to show you a simple technique I used at the hollow chisel mortiser to make an angled mortise. The sad part is, it isn’t even for a mortise-and-tenon joint; it’s for a bridle joint.

Today’s article (for premium 360 WoodWorking members – click here to read it) is about my latest clamp rack. It’s a simple storage solution for many of my clamps and the whole project is based on a couple of A-frames. Those frames are held together with bridle joints.

As I was building the rack I thought about the many uses for the simple jig I used to chop the base of the bridle joints. The jig is ridiculously simple – it’s a wedge. But not just any wedge. It’s made from scraps from the project. And the angle is incredibly simple to figure out.

WedgeButt the scrap against the actual piece on the project. Both the scrap and the part need to mate, which means if the part has a straight edge, then the scrap needs one too. If the part is curved, then we’ll have to deal with that in a completely different post. Using a rafter square held tight against the end of the part, scribe a line on the face of the scrap. Head to the bandsaw and cut to the line.

angled_2The scrap is then clamped to the fence of the mortiser and becomes the base upon which the part rests as it is being mortised. Some of you are wondering what happens if you’re making a through mortise and tenon? The answer’s pretty simple too; reverse the wedge on the mortiser, flip the part and mortise away.

The next time you are making something that involves making a single angled mortise and tenon, think scrap. It’s quick, easy and inexpensive. Three things nearly every woodworker loves to hear.

— Chuck Bender

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