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What is a wedged through tenon and how is it constructed? How is it different than a "standard" mortise and tenon? When should it be used?

  • Note that this a through tenon with a wedge, not a tenon that gets wedged through. – Pete Becker May 11 '15 at 17:17
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This is where you mortise right through the timber, and hammer wedges into the joint from the other side, in order to mechanically wedge the tenon into the joint. You still use glue as you normally would.

See here for examples.

I'll include the images here for future reference:

Outer wedged: outer wedged through tenon

Inner wedged: inner wedged through tenon

They're typically used when making doors, and are good because they form a good strong joint, and they look nice from the front (better than a mitre joint), however they're not all that nice to look at from the edges, and the timber of the mortised piece can shrink or swell around the tenoned end or the wedges and leave them sunken in or sticking proud after some time. You'll also need to play around a bit with the width of the tenon vs the mortise and the taper angle of the wedges etc. the first time you make one, to get it just right.

Note that (as with just about any type of joint) there are many variations for different situations. See here for many more examples. Probably the most important and commonly used variation is the "haunched" joint which is where you cut part of the tenon away, to space it away from a corner (e.g. the top or bottom of a door leaf):

haunched wedged mortise and tenon joint

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Adding to WhatEvil posted, there is another type of wedged through tenon, more precisely referred to as a wedged tusk tenon or a tusk tenon. This one is primarily used for knockdown construction. It has many of the same strengths as other mortise and tenon joinery but doesn't use glue. The "pin" (tusk) length also helps a little to prevent racking.

Sometimes there is a double pin, where the pins are horizontal and you use one from each side to hold the joint in place.

Wedged tusk tenon

  • I've seen these referred to as "tusk" tenions. They can be made fancier by shaping the top of the wedge, if desired. – keshlam May 11 '15 at 14:35
  • This is more precisely called a wedged tusk tenon. Personally I'd call it that or a tusk tenon rather than a wedged tenon, simply because it leaves less room for confusion. Even though Fine Woodworking has published at least one article classifying it as a type of wedged tenon, their article on how to make a wedged tenon doesn't demonstrate how to make a wedged tusk tenon. – rob May 11 '15 at 14:35
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    @rob, well having both in this answer can help those that might be confused between the two. I didn't know there were different names – bowlturner May 11 '15 at 14:37
  • @keshlam added it to my answer – bowlturner May 11 '15 at 14:38
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    @bowlturner I apologize if my comment sounded overly critical. As soon as I saw the question I expected to see answers including both the "end grain" wedged tenon and the tusk tenon. There is a lot of confusion and even disagreement about woodworking terminology, and I think the best thing we can do is to point out and encourage use of a more precise term whenever someone is aware of one. – rob May 11 '15 at 15:01

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