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Learning to make mortise/tenon joint worth it?

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17 hours ago, Mark J said:

However, there are some times when a Domino just won't do.  I can't see how you attach a Rubo leg to its top with Dominos.

I havent used the Xl yet, but i dont see how you replicate the tenons i made on my roubo. Suckers were 4-5"x4-5" and 2-3" long.

 

Personally, I find M&T work to be kind of mindless and unrewarding. There are exceptions, like the roubo example above, or through tenons on the morris chairs im making right now, but for the most part i can do without the thrill of making a mortise and fitting a tenon to that mortise. 9/10 this is a structural joint that is invisible to the eye, so I really see no difference. Domino does it fast, well, and it is strong. Doing with a table saw/router/chisel is slower, increases the likelihood of an improper fit, but is probably stronger in most cases. I say this because your integral tenon is typically bigger in any given piece than using multiple dominoes. 

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1 hour ago, Eric. said:

Aside from gluing a panel together, the M&T is the most fundamental technique in woodworking. If you're not interested in learning something so critical to the craft, I would suggest picking a different hobby. It would be like deciding to be a fisherman but refusing to learn knots.

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I obsess about knots a little bit when fishing. It is important, proper wetting and technique directly affect breaking strength. This is for guys who elegantly fishing 5-7x tippet and not chucking bait on 40lb braid...

 

With that said, the domino is like using my orvis nail knot tool. Quick, easy, properly done, and you would never know i used it by looking at the knot. 

4P63L1VF.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Pwk5017 said:

With that said, the domino is like using my orvis nail knot tool. Quick, easy, properly done, and you would never know i used it by looking at the knot. 

 

But if you needed to tie a dropper you'd be SOL.

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7 minutes ago, Eric. said:

Missing the point.

Don't get me wrong, I've only cut a handful of M&T joints by hand.  I've done the vast majority of mine with router and table saw.  I rarely do them now since I own a Domino.

The point was...I LEARNED the joint, I "mastered" it, first by hand, then by machine.  Then, and only then, did I allow myself the luxury of a Domino.  That skill was in the bag and continuing to do it by hand was only a waste of time.  It's the same reason I own a jointer and planer...but you can bet your ass I know how to six-square a board by hand...if we ever lose electricity in America.

You have to EARN your right to take shortcuts.  Otherwise you're just a poser.  There, I said it.

Yeah thats fair. I wasnt arguing for not learning them. Quite the opposite, you cant recreate the through tenons on the morris chairs with a domino. Also, it would be dumb to try and recreate the roubo leg M&T. I think any large/chunky design lends itself to traditional M&T, but a lot of your typical apron to leg connection is domino territory. Regardless of earning shortcuts, you need the skill for the 20% of the times the domino wont cut it. Example, my sets of morris chairs are 40% traditional M&T and 60% domino.I already mentioned the through tenon, but trying to domino that angled one in the rear would be stupid, just stupid and difficult. 

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15 minutes ago, Eric. said:

The point was...I LEARNED the joint, I "mastered" it, first by hand, then by machine.  Then, and only then, did I allow myself the luxury of a Domino.  That skill was in the bag and continuing to do it by hand was only a waste of time.  It's the same reason I own a jointer and planer...but you can bet your ass I know how to six-square a board by hand...if we ever lose electricity in America.

You have to EARN your right to take shortcuts.  Otherwise you're just a poser.  There, I said it.

The True Woodworker has spoken. Follow his path or go get another hobby.

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I want to go to Harvard but the SAT is really hard.  Maybe someone can take it for me, and all hard classes to, but I will go to the graduation ceremony so I can say I went there.  

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1 hour ago, Tom Cancelleri said:

If you don't wanna learn how to make a mortise and tenon, might I suggest hand cutting your dovetails? You'll wanna go and snuggle up with that tenon.

Now there's intimidation.  I'm not even tempted to try dovetails yet.

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33 minutes ago, Pondhockey said:

Now there's intimidation.  I'm not even tempted to try dovetails yet.

What are you waiting for? Just start :D 

 

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I quite enjoy chopping mortises and tenons with a chisel.  Practice, practice, practice.  My first chiseled mortise probably took me an hour.  Now- boom, boom, boom. 

I quite enjoy hand cutting dovetails too.   I get personal satisfaction from a job well done and from using a skill that not many others have. 

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45 minutes ago, CandorLush said:

What are you waiting for? Just start :D 

 

Indeed. You only lose 3/4" of scrap material each time you fail.  A lot cheaper to learn than M&T.

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2 hours ago, Pondhockey said:

Now there's intimidation.  I'm not even tempted to try dovetails yet.

They really aren't that bad.  I bought a David Barron magnetic guide, and practiced using it.  Then I'd practice without it.  On my current project, I cut 12 tails.  I did the majority freehand.  Using the guide really helped me 'get over the hump'.

3 hours ago, Immortan D said:

If you're gonna end up driving a cab, what's the point in going to Harvard?

The goal shouldn't be to drive a cab though. 

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In my minds eye, Domino's don't replace traditional joinery they compliment strength and alignment in an otherwise weak or difficult glue up. 

Traditional joinery keeps the piece...well...traditional. 

Any monkey can slap wood together with epoxy and dowels. Joinery is what makes fine furniture...fine.

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2 hours ago, Bulldog said:

The goal shouldn't be to drive a cab though. 

Eric said you have to learn M&T first, then switch to dominoes. So I rephrase my statement for clarity:

If you're gonna end up using dominoes what's the point of learning M&T?

Honestly I think it's quite the opposite. One can start with the easy joinery and then evolve to classic joinery. And that doesn't make anyone a poser, an ignorant, etc, etc, etc...

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26 minutes ago, Immortan D said:

Eric said you have to learn M&T first, then switch to dominoes. So I rephrase my statement for clarity:

If you're gonna end up using dominoes what's the point of learning M&T?

Honestly I think it's the opposite. One can start with the easy joinery and then evolve to classic joinery. And that doesn't make anyone a poser, an ignorant, etc, etc, etc...

I don't see how my position is controversial or even debatable.  The question was, "Should I learn mortise and tenon?"  And assuming the question was posed by an aspiring woodworker, the answer has to be, "Damn right."

If, on the other hand, he said he needed to build a single thing in a weekend and never intends to build another, and he could borrow a Domino from a friend, then yes that would certainly be a good reason to go the dead-easy route and use the Domino.

But if the ultimate goal in his life is to become a woodworker, then I don't see how anyone who puts any stock in craft and craftsmanship could suggest it's not important to learn the most basic techniques of putting two pieces of wood together.  It's incomprehensible to me that someone would pursue anything in a half-ass way, and mind-boggling that any self-respecting seasoned woodworker would advise a newcomer to do so.

But hey, that's me...the True Woodworker.  Go ahead and pretend I'm wrong so we don't hurt any feelings.  After all, that's what this world is all about these days...put in as little effort as possible, take the easy way out, and get that participation trophy.  If only our grandparents could see how we treat matters of integrity, they'd be rolling in their graves.  Not to get dramatic about it, but only to make the point.  There is a right way and a wrong way to approach craft.  IMHO.

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4 minutes ago, Eric. said:

But if the ultimate goal in his life is to become a woodworker, then I don't see how anyone who puts any stock in craft and craftsmanship could suggest it's not important to learn the most basic techniques of putting two pieces of wood together.  It's incomprehensible to me that someone would pursue anything in a half-ass way, and mind-boggling that any self-respecting seasoned woodworker would advise a newcomer to do so.

Yep, I agree. Using dominoes, dowels, dovetail jigs, etc, IS the half-ass way. It doesn't matter if you made a couple of mortises in the past or not. Still half-assed. 

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57 minutes ago, Immortan D said:

 

Honestly I think it's quite the opposite. One can start with the easy joinery and then evolve to classic joinery. And that doesn't make anyone a poser, an ignorant, etc, etc, etc...

Except that once you have a Domino, you will reach for it every single time you need a m/t that is within it's limitations.  It would take a whole bunch of discipline to spend an afternoon cutting a bunch of mortise and tenons when you have a tool that can do the work so quickly within arms reach.

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7 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

Except that once you have a Domino, you will reach for it every single time you need a m/t that is within it's limitations.  It would take a whole bunch of discipline to spend an afternoon cutting a bunch of mortise and tenons when you have a tool that can do the work so quickly within arms reach.

Of course I would use it. I'm not up against dominoes. And I think anyone is entitled to use them, not just the elite of True Woodworkers who have mortised and tenoned LOL

I don't think anyone needs to justify themselves for using a Domino. Unless you've been judging people like all the time for using similar tools.

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59 minutes ago, Immortan D said:

Yep, I agree. Using dominoes, dowels, dovetail jigs, etc, IS the half-ass way. It doesn't matter if you made a couple of mortises in the past or not. Still half-assed. 

 

 

 

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The Dominos great but it will only take you so far. Learning to cut mortise and tenon joinery can give you limitless options. Especially if you like the open joinery look. Through tenons, housed wedged haunched, etc in whatever size and shape you want.

The domino does loose tenon joinery in a handful of different sizes. Thats it. Theres nothing half-assed about it, its a tool. If traditional joinery doesnt interest you and you just want nice strong easy to produce furniture joints then $900 "earns" you the right to use a Domino. No cool-kids club card required.

If youre serious about woodworking youll probably be doing both eventually like many pragmatic woodworkers. Doesnt matter which comes first, despite the folks who think you have to do it like they did because its the "right way".

I suppose you should resaw some veneers by hand before youre allowed to use plywood, and fell a tree before you can go to the lumber yard.

Its 2017. The domino is a thing. If you want the thing, get it.

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7 hours ago, sheperd80 said:

I suppose you should resaw some veneers by hand before youre allowed to use plywood, and fell a tree before you can go to the lumber yard.

That's an entirely false equivalency, and you know it.  If you're implying that a person who calls himself a woodworker shouldn't know such a basic and fundamental technique as cutting a mortise and tenon, then we just don't share the same definition of "woodworker."

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