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Joinery: tusk tenon for trestle table

Greg_Millert's picture

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I need help getting the proportions right on a tusk tenon for a trestle table. Each leg assembly of the table will have two upright legs. The assemblies will be joined by stretchers with tusk tenons and wedges. (There will also be tw stretchers at the top of the leg assemblies, direcly under the table top.) The legs are 2 1/8 inch square. The stretchers are 4 inches high by 5/4 inch wide. The mortise for the tusk will by 7/8 inch thick, or approximately 1/3 of the total width of the leg. Question 1: Can I make the tusk thicker than 7/8 inch thick or would this additional thickness damage the strength of the leg? If thicker, how much?

Because the tusk is 7/8 inch thick, I've designed the mortise for the wedge to be 3/8 inch wide, leaving 1/4 inch of wood on each side of the wedge mortise. Question 2: Is this enough wood on either side of the wedge mortise? If not, and I reduce the wedge to 1/4 inch, will the wedge have enough strength?

BBWOOD_'s picture

(post #117772, reply #1 of 1)

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HI THERE, IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT KIND OF WOOD YOU ARE USING? HOW WELL SEASONED IT IS I USUALLY TRY FOR 4 PERCENT MOISTURE CONTENT USING A GOOD RADIO FREQUENCY METER. YOU SHOULD USE QUARTER SAWN WOOD TO MAKE THE TUSK SO YOU DON'T HAVE MOVEMENT THERE. THE STRETCHER SHOULD BE STRAIGHT GRAIN AND VERY TIGHT ALLOW ENOUGH ON THE END SO IT DOESN'T CRACK. SOMETIMES I ADD DOWELL FROM TOP TO BOTTOM SO IT WILL NOT SPLIT APART. GOOD LUCK!! BB WOOD