Long Stretchers with Through Wedged Tusk Tenons

2009.12.05

I started today by chamfering the long stretchers with the block plane.  Then I laid out the mortises for the wedge keys that will go through the stretchers and hold them in place.  This type of wedged mortise and tenon is often called a "tusk tenon joint, as the wedges resemble animal tusks.

Chamfering stretcher with block plane
Drilling out mortise for tusk tenon

I used a brace and auger bit to remove most of the waste of the mortise.  I made a scrap wood guide to get the angles right.  Then I used a mortise chisel and a couple files and rasps to finish up.

Drilling out mortise for tusk tenon wedge
Angle guide for tusk mortise

I made the tusk wedges from 1/2 red oak.

Red oak stock for tusk tenon wedges
Test-fitting tusk tenon wedge

2009.12.09

I wasn’t happy with how far the wedges came through once I had assembled the legs and stretchers.  So I decided I needed to enlarge the mortises.  Now one of them goes too far through, so I’ll have to make a wider wedge.  It’s the circle of life.

Test-fitting tusk tenon
Enlarging mortise for tusk tenon wedge

Tusk tenons with wedges