How to Cut a Mortise

Learn how to cut a mortise with this step-by-step guide containing full-color photos.

August 19, 2013

By Peter Korn

Woodworking Basics (The Taunton Press, 2003) takes a traditional approach to teaching, with the idea that learning basic skills is essential to craftsmanship. Author Peter Korn’s method helps new woodworkers learn the right techniques from the beginning; while more experienced woodworkers can use it to master classic furniture-making skills. This book provides a wealth of information including safe use of woodworking machinery, milling a board four-square and more. Two projects — a small bench and a side table — provide the opportunity to practice skills and develop confidence with tools. Learn how to cut a mortise, an important joint in furniture making, in this excerpt taken from chapter 6, “Cutting a Mortise and Tenon.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Woodworking Basics.

Woodworking Basics by Peter Korn, published by The Taunton Press, 2003   Mortise and tenon

The mortise and tenon is the most important joint in furniture making. There is no stronger or more permanent means of joining two pieces of wood together in situations where the end of one board meets the edge of another. Mortise-and-tenon joints can be cut with hand tools, power tools, or various combinations of the two.