Learning to make mortise/tenon joint worth it?


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I think this is why doctors have so many qualification letters behind their title. Woodworking sort of had those roots. A cooper, a wheelright, a cabinet maker...the titles said something about the type of work being done. The huge level of industrial machinery brought to the market has blurred the issue a lot. I tend to be with Eric, but don't look down my nose in any way. If you want to learn the craft, engage the skills necessary to make successful M and T. Like he said, the skills transfer. If like me you are more of a maker, dabble here and there. Just don't expect Eric to call you a woodworker. 

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If you can't make a mortise and tenon, you have no business buying a Domino.  Take your lumps, learn the skills.  This hobby is a journey, not a destination. Fundamentals come first, then conveni

Learning to make a proper M&T joint isn't so much about making the joint... It is more about learning proper layout, sawing straight/square, using chisels in a controlled manner, good stock prepar

Eric, I think Marc needs to add you to the podcast.  You'd be like the Simon Cowell of Woodtalk.

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I'm not so caught up in the label as the mentality.  It's just beyond my comprehension to pursue a craft without putting in effort.  It's not how I approach things.  Guess that's my problem for taking the long way home.  I think ultimately it makes for a better craftsman - and at the risk of sounding smug (too late) - a better person.

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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."

Yeah its a ridiculous example i'll admit. My point is that i dont think there needs to be qualifiers for using certain tools or techniques. If a woodworker never desires to use that type of joinery then why should it matter? Most woodworkers will learn and experiment with all sorts of joinery as part of their journey. I just dont agree that one must come before the other. I did a few small projects with mortise and tenons, wedged through tenons, and some other joints i dont have a names for. It was a huge learning experience and alot of fun. Then i got a domino and it hasnt diminished my desire to learn or experiment at all. I doubt i'll be doing many regular mortise and tenons now, but there is so much that the domino cant replace that i just dont see it as this huge cheating or step-skipping mechanism.

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18 minutes ago, sheperd80 said:

If a woodworker never desires to use that type of joinery then why should it matter?

For the same reason you learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide before you learn algebra.  Yes you could probably solve the equation with a fancy calculator...but you're not gonna be very good at math.

Over and out.

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1 hour ago, Eric. said:

I'm not so caught up in the label as the mentality.  It's just beyond my comprehension to pursue a craft without putting in effort.  It's not how I approach things.  Guess that's my problem for taking the long way home.  I think ultimately it makes for a better craftsman - and at the risk of sounding smug (too late) - a better person.

Not everyone has the same approach to woodworking as you do. I like to make things with wood and  try to learn as much as possible from each project I build. Period. Woodworking is not my religion, I do not meditate with Krenov books or seek salvation through woodworking LOL

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I agree with Eric here in principle.  The m&t is a basic joint that requires skills that will be used in maaaany other areas in furniture making....you know, the type of woodworking 95% of us do.

To muddle the thread a bit more though, do you guys think that having a woodworking hobby makes you a woodworker?  I can't swallow calling myself a woodworker.  My biggest hobby is woodworking...but I am not a woodworker.  Further, my basement is a basement with a bunch of woodworking tools and a workbench, not a shop.

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7 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

To muddle the thread a bit more though, do you guys think that having a woodworking hobby makes you a woodworker?  I can't swallow calling myself a woodworker.  My biggest hobby is woodworking...but I am not a woodworker.  Further, my basement is a basement with a bunch of woodworking tools and a workbench, not a shop.

I agree. I'm not a woodworker, just a hobbyist!

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7 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

I agree with Eric here in principle.  The m&t is a basic joint that requires skills that will be used in maaaany other areas in furniture making....you know, the type of woodworking 95% of us do.

To muddle the thread a bit more though, do you guys think that having a woodworking hobby makes you a woodworker?  I can't swallow calling myself a woodworker.  My biggest hobby is woodworking...but I am not a woodworker.  Further, my basement is a basement with a bunch of woodworking tools and a workbench, not a shop.

This is really a sticky that depends a lot on the level of accomplishment. I know B and C level symphony musicians who hold various day jobs. I don't hesitate to call them musicians. On the flip side, I don't call the evening car repair guy a mechanic unless he has that in his background and training. 

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5 minutes ago, C Shaffer said:

On the flip side, I don't call the evening car repair guy a mechanic unless he has that in his background and training. 

Bah, hogwash.  I'm sure there are plenty of self-taught mechanics who could do circles around formally trained technicians.

A woodworker is only someone who works with wood.  That's why labels don't mean anything.  A guy who nails pallets together is technically a woodworker.  I wouldn't want him to build me a chest of drawers though.

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19 minutes ago, Lester Burnham said:

OP is going to have a nice bit of reading to do if he ever comes back.

Indeed, much bloviaton on the nature of wood and working. Ironically, I do woodworking in part to get away from that stuff. I try to make nice things while improving my skills and keeping things interesting.

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If you don't want to learn the skill, I guess that is up to the person. The thing that irks me is people who own all the fancy hand tools and can't use them properly. Might as well be a professional tool polisher. I've been out of my shop for about 2 years and I guarantee you I can still cut a dovetail that you couldn't squeeze a fart through. :lol:

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