I'd like to build a somewhat rough rustic farm table using old hand tools, most of which were my grandfathers and great grandfathers. Almost all of the wood I plan to use is salvaged from old barns and farm houses arond rural N.E. North Carolina where I live. My biggest concern is whether to attemp a mortice/tennon joint for the legs and apron using a drill and chisle, or make the apron go on the outside of the legs and attach with dowels. What are the advantages and or dis advantages of this design over the M/T joint?? I've seen examples of both while researching old tables, and the overlap apron will certainly be alot easier to do. Any thoughts??
Thanks Bill and Dave,
I will probably go ahead with mortise and tennon, but I want to try to use only old hand tools. Heck they used to do it, it's not going to be a fancy table, but I do not want it to wobble either, do you think that just doweling a M /T joint will stand up to use and abuse??
You might want to get hold of some real mortise chisels. They can make your work a lot easier. You can buy them in sets fairly cheaply - good ones. Mortise chisels are built thick instead of wide, so they fit the walls of the mortise without twisting very well. Paring chisels are helpful to trim down the sides of the mortise, but for chopping and trimming the ends nothing really beats good mortise chisels.
A good, properly-sized, snug-fitting mortise will hold up to a whole lot of abuse, especially if it's done in completely dry wood and is cross-pinned or pegged from the rear.
A sloppy-fitting mortise won't hold up to much abuse at all.