I only have hand tools available to make a mortise and tenon joint, could someone please tell me how to do this? Thank you


1 Answer 1


Have you got a mortise chisel among your hand tools? If not, you'll have a miserable time. If so, you use your marking gauge to scribe a tenon the width of your mortise chisel, and cut that out with your backsaw (or preferably your tenon saw, which is a smallish backsaw of the rip persuasion) and you scribe around the mortise, then chop it out with your mortise chisel, which is a stout and sturdy beast made to take some serious pounding.

old mortise chisel

Some wimpier chisels are (mis-)labeled as mortise chisels in the modern trade. One like this will run rings around them.

If need be you use a plane or paring chisel to make fine adjustments to the tenon for fit.

  • Chopping a mortise with a normal bench chisel works just fine. I've cut dozens of them with no problems whatsoever. They actually make it easier in some ways, as you can use them to crosscut the waste and lever it out more easily. Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 16:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.