Mortice & Tenon

Got to make some new doors for a notice board cabinet. I would like to make using Mortice & Tenon joints but mortice machine are so expensive even good small ones are approx £300+.
Any suggestions?

Drill and chisel or pocket hole jig and screws

  1. Google search for Paul Sellers
  2. Buy a cheap set of chisels and a hammer (<£30 in total)

Tried that a couple of times never got a good enough fit.

Pocket hole jig one of those things I’ve bought and never used now’s the time to try it.
Thank you

Cut the mortice first, the shave the tenon to fit.

Mortice machine only makes the mortice so whatever happens you still have to cut the tenon

The other option is to make bridle joints at the corners. These can be made entirely with hand tools, but the use of a bandsaw speeds up the whole process and may improve the accuracy of the finished joint.

I’ve never heard of a bridle joint, I’ll look it up.

Many Thanks for all the suggestions it been great.

You could also use dowels to make a corner joint, but these are tricky to do without the use of an accurate jig.

Thanks Rob. Yes I’ve tired that way but didn’t work out well.

For me, 2 most important things for the M&T joint by hand is, start with square stock and keep your chisels sharp

A dowel joint appears simple but it’a bit of an illusion. Unless you use dead square material and a really accurate jig, it’s very difficult to make the two parts of the joint come together precisely.

I totally agree. I have attempted this a number of times and never got it right.

No ones mentioned biscuits, double biscuit on a mitred joint would work well or if you have a router table a rail and stile joint.


Agreed, biscuits seem to have fallen out of favour in recent years but in my view, they’re still an essential part of any 'shop. Sometimes it’s the best method to use provided there’s enough width of material to accommodated the slot. It has been known for me to machine a slot, only to find it breaking out of the sides. Doh!

Been there, done that :grin:

1 Like