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Woodworking Tips

Make unbreakable joints – with a tapered mortise!

Avoid the possibility of joint failure in your chairs, stools, or log furniture with this clever expanding cutter and wedge-ring system.



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Click on image
to enlarge

The high-speed steel Tenon-Lok™ cutter features spring-action blades that flare out at the base, creating a dovetail-shaped round mortise. The sharpened tapered steel wedge-ring then sits in the flared mortise, expanding the tenon with minimal splitting as it gets driven into place. The resulting joint will never come apart, and is completely immune to weather related expansion and contraction. Ideal for repairs or original construction, the Tenon-Lok system requires both a cutter and a matching wedge ring.

Every Tenon-Lok cutter includes a steel Setter Guide to create an impression on the base of the mortise for the wedge ring to rest in.

Using the Tenon-Lok™ system:

  1. Drill a standard round mortise with a forstner bit or another bit of your choice.

  2. Chuck the same diameter Tenon-Lok; cutting tool in your drill.

  3. Before starting the drill, position the Tenon-Lok cutter all the way at the bottom of the mortise.

  4. Start drilling at a low RPM and push hard enough to extend the cutter's spring-loaded dovetailing blades. Let the drill come to a complete stop before removing the cutter from the mortise.

  5. On a flat surface, place the setter guide over the ring with the sharp edges up. Fit tenon into guide and tap with mallet just enough to start the ring into the end of the tenon. Now you can proceed with installing the tenon into the mortise. Either clamp the joint together or use a mallet, causing the metal ring to seat itself into the tenon, expanding it for a permanent joint.
The Tenon-Lok™ system is sold exclusively through Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, for pricing and availablity, click here.


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