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Take advantage of the power of a wedge when making this ancient, yet modern, handmade joint.

In our previous Hand Tool Techniques issue, we described chopping a mortise with a mortise chisel (see the link at the bottom of the page). Here, we add the tusk tenon technique to the equation. It is a time-honored technique that woodworkers have found useful in a variety of ways.

The basic idea behind the joint is that, in addition to chopping a mortise (typically in a leg or similar member) in to accept the tenon, another mortise is formed in the tenon itself. As you can see in the first illustration, that mortise extends completely through the tenon.

The second illustration shows how the mortise locking the tusk tenon in place is shaped to fit the wedge as it is inserted to secure the joint. Note also that there is a slight gap just behind the wedge. This is a properly designed example of this joint.

The process for making this joint is exactly as we described in our previous article (mentioned above), except the layout process accommodates the extra-long through tenon, and includes the second mortise.

Make sure you've checked out our other Hand Tool Techniques:


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