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Hand Tools
Fixtures for handcut joinery: mortice-and-tenon *PIC*
Posted By Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Date Sunday, 25 September 2022, at 6:40 p.m.

I enjoy cutting joinery with hand tools. I also do use machines on occasions. I favor hand tools but have tried to master various methods. 

There are also occasions when I think about creating a fixture to do the task with hand tools. This is not about finding a less risk-orientated method to cut joinery, but just the challenge of creating the fixture. I guess that I just like fiddling with things.

The mortice-and-tenon joint is possibly up there as one of the more difficult joints. The issue here is both fit and orientation. The tenon needs to be a snug push fit into the mortice and, once together, the result must be perpendicular. 

I came up with this tenoning fixture about 20 years ago. 


The idea is to clamp a stretcher against its stationary side fence …

Secure this in a face vise ..

There is a sliding magnetic fence to position against the first cheek line …


Saw this …


.. then move and position the sliding fence for the other line (allowing for the thickness of the saw kerf) ..


The fixture comes apart, and the magnetic fence can now be used to cut a square and perpendicular shoulder line …


What about a fixture for the mortice? 


Paul Sellers created a set of saw guides with different offsets for the beauty shoulder. My version is similar, with a few exceptions:

(1) The fixture adjusts for any offset (it is not fixed)

(2) It is held in a face vise, but the chopping takes place on the bench (in my case, over a leg)

(3) It also acts as a hold down.


The front ..


The rear …


The fixture is simply a long fence with a fine sandpaper as non-slip, against which the stretcher is clamped, and a short sliding fence, which will act as the depth control.


The marked mortice ..


Place the stretcher on the bench and drop the fixture on top of it. Clamp the fixture in the bench …


Now adjust the sliding fence alongside the mortice …


Clamp the stretcher against the long fence and begin chopping with the chisel against the sliding fence ..


The aim here is to achieve perpendicular sidewalls.


Another way to use this fixture is to drill out the waste, and use the sliding fence to pare the remaining waste ..


More fixtures coming.


Regards from Perth







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