Mortise and Tenon Joint – Drilling the log
So you have chosen what you want to use for the legs on your stool and the seat log has been marked. Next comes the easy task of drilling the holes for the legs.
Follow these easy steps to drill the mortise holes and you will rest assured in knowing that you’ve got a uniform angle for each leg on your stool every time:
Step 1: Set up Gauge Block to establish your angle
- Cut a small block of wood anywhere from 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick by approximately 6″ long, to tip your log onto when drilling the mortise or leg holes. Note: The thickness of the block will establish the degree of angle on the stool leg. The thicker the block, the steeper the angle. In the video, I am using a scrap piece of 2″x 4″.
Step 2: Establish a point of reference on the block and align the log.
- Using your carpenters pencil, establish a mark to align with each leg hole as you drill
- Line-up the first leg hole the the mark making sure the angle is sufficient. Raise the block if needed.
Step 3: Drill the leg holes
- Aligning the drill straight up and down or perpendicular to the work surface, begin drilling the hole approximately 1 1/2″ to 2″ into the log.
- Repeat this step on each of the other 2 holes
Remember, having the right tools for any job can make the difference in enjoying yourself or fighting the project from start to finish.
If your plans include continuing to make more of your own beautiful rustic log furniture in the future, you really may want to consider the Milwaukee Hole Hog. This tool will save you a ton of time and will easily accommodate just about any Log Tenon Cutter you may choose to purchase in the future.
And never under estimate the number of uses you’ll find around the house for anygood quality cordless drill.
Preparing the legs for tenons
Now that we’ve gone over how you get a nice, consistent angle in each of your legs, it’s time to go over one of the oldest and perhaps the strongest woodworking joinery techniques known to man. The Mortise and Tenon Joint is a basic technique of joining two pieces of wood to one another.
You’ve already drilled the mortise holes, let’s dive right into the Tenons. Unlike many other styles of furniture, when making log stools and many other pieces of log furnishings the legs basically becomes the tenon.
So let’s break this down step-by-step and take a close look how to create perfect log furniture tenon joints even without the use of a log furniture tenon cutter.
There’s really no big secret here. Although you do have a few options when cutting your tenons, if you don’t have a tenon cutter, the next easiest option is to get yourself a“hole-saw”.
NOTE: Drill your mortise holes to match the hole-saws inside dimension. (id)
For example: In the video, we are using a 1 1/2″od x 2″ deep, hole saw. That means the inside dimension or id = 1 1/4″ which is the same diameter holes we already drilled in the log.
In this segment we’ll look at your options when it comes time to cutting the tenons.
Cutting the tenons with a hatchet
After pre-cutting the tenons with your hole-saw, follow these steps to form the tenons with a hatchet:
- Using your tape measure and pencil, mark a continuous line 3″ from the end of the leg. Remember, the hole-saw should have cut 2″ deep into the leg. The additional 1″ you are marking will allow for the taper you’ll achieve in the tenon with the hatchet.
- Making sure to set the end of the leg atop an old block or slab of wood, begin chopping along, or close to the pencil mark.
- Continue ‘whittling’ your way around the leg taking just a small portion at a time.
Note: With just a bit of patience and a sharp hatchet you will achieve three legs in no time.
Cutting the tenons with a saw
This one’s even easier. Again, pre-cut the tenons with your hole-saw and then just follow these easy steps to achieve a ‘smooth’, flat tenon or leg joint every time.
- Using youtape measure and a pencil, mark a continuous line 2″ from the end of the leg. This should coincide with how deep the hole-saw cut into the leg.
- Using a standard hand-saw, coping-saw, orcircular-saw, slowly cut around the edge of the line taking time not to penetrate the blade deeper than the hole-saw cut.
- Use asharp chisel to clean up any rough edges.
Okay then, that’s all for now. Be ready the next time we meet to start assembling your 3 – legged stool.