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What advantages do loose tenons have over traditional mortice and tenon joinery?

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

Loose tenons, also known as floating tenons or slip tenons, are an alternative to the traditional mortice and tenon joinery technique. While both methods are used in woodworking to create strong joints, loose tenons offer several advantages over the traditional method. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of loose tenon joinery and why it might be a better choice for your next gate project.

Firstly, what is a loose tenon joint? It is a type of joint that uses two pieces of wood, each with a rectangular slot cut into them, that is then glued together around a third piece of wood, which is the tenon. The tenon is usually made from hardwood such as Oak or a dense softwood such as Douglas Fir, and it fits snugly into the slots of the two pieces of wood, creating a strong bond once glued.

So, what advantages does this method have over the traditional mortice and tenon technique? Firstly, the loose tenon joint is more forgiving when it comes to woodworking accuracy. With a traditional mortice and tenon joint, the mortice (the slot cut into the wood) must be cut accurately to ensure a tight fit with the tenon. Any inaccuracies can lead to a loose joint, which can compromise the strength and durability of the final product. However, with a loose tenon joint, the tenon is usually cut to an exact size, and the slot is then cut to match, making it easier to achieve a tight fit.

Another advantage of loose tenon joinery is that it allows for easier and quicker assembly. Traditional mortice and tenon joints require precise cuts and often need to be dry-fitted before glue is applied, which can be time-consuming. In contrast, loose tenon joints can be quickly assembled and glued, reducing the overall production time.

Finally, loose tenon joints are also more versatile than traditional mortice and tenon joints. With a loose tenon joint, it is possible to create complex angles and curves, which can be difficult to achieve with a traditional joint. This versatility opens up a whole new world of design possibilities and allows for more creativity in gate-making.

While traditional mortice and tenon joinery is a tried and tested technique, loose tenons offer several benefits that make them a viable alternative. If you're looking for a faster, more versatile, and forgiving method of joinery for your gate project, loose tenon joinery may be the way to go. At The Natural Workshop, we use both traditional and modern joinery techniques to ensure our gates are of the highest quality and built to last. Contact us today to discuss your bespoke gate project.

If you would like to watch some of my gate-building videos, click on the below link to head over to the playlist on Youtube!

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Apr 03
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent information! Thanks for sharing.

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