The question about tenons in the last issue raised a question for me. I recently purchased the loose tenon jig. It allows a furniture maker to create a mortise with a hand held drill and use precut tenon stock. It certainly seems to save a lot of time. But is such a mortise and tenon joint as strong as the normal mortise and tenon? Do the same rules of thumb apply to tenon size and depth? The jig allows for 3/8″ and 1/4″ tenons and virtually any depth desired.
Michael Dresdner: For the most part, yes, or rather, it is certainly strong enough. One could no doubt run lab tests and show minor differences, but generally speaking, a well-fit floating tenon is as good as a fixed one (and better than a poorly fit fixed tenon). Taking the discussion any further is tantamount to arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Simon Watts: I would call these guides rather than rules. In general, I’d say keep the same proportions whether using fixed tenons or loose ones.