A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (29)

Continuing on with the cabinet build. Where I last left off with the photos, the tenons on the support stand legs had been rough cut in one axis. Well, a few steps later, the stepped tenons were completed:

Another view:

Then 8 legs were finished to the same point:

I used the sliding table saw to execute the tenon cutting, with some slight adjustments and trimming required afterwards with a chisel:

Then the mortises could be laid out for the stretcher tenons:


I figured out a way to peg this connection, and you can see the tiny 5mm square mortises in the photos.

The connection here is a pair of pegged tenons,  which look to be half-lapped but in fact the proportions work out so that the tenon size is actually slightly less than half – those readers familiar with Japanese practice in mortise and tenon joinery with splayed post structures will understand the technical reasons why the tenons are sized as they are, which in fact; given the shouldering on both ends, is the maximum possible size:


For more information on the intricacies of splayed post mortise and tenon work, take a look in any standard Japanese carpentry Layout text, or my own series, The Art of Japanese Carpentry Drawing, Volume 4, where this is explained in great detail.

The layout took a while to complete, and then it was on to punching out the 5x5mm mortises with the hollow chisel mortiser:

Peg mortises done, and, oh yeah, the mortises themselves as well:

The inside faces receive haunched tenons, and here I’m cleaning out an end grain wall to the correct slope:

I am loving these new Kamon chisels.

All eight legs through to the same stage:

Another view:

After that, the legs are fitted to the inverted ‘T’ beams:

The stepped tenon shoulder on each tenon sits slightly below the receiving member’s lap surface, to accommodate seasonal movement:

Another view:

Once all the legs were fitted, the associated peg mortises were scribed through to the tenons, leaving the peg mortising on the tenons for another day. That day would be tomorrow come to think of it.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. On to post 30.

6 thoughts on “A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (29)

  1. Ah, well, I did make some comment about the K chisels in the post, and there is a picture or two. They're great – really happy with them so far.


  2. Intricate and handsome joints. I understand the esthetic and the avoidance of surface ostentation but wonder if you send some of these details to the client for his (her) pleasure. Thanks.
    Bruce Mack

  3. Bruce,

    thanks for the comment. I believe the client reads this blog from time to time, so he does get a good sense of what is going on I think.


  4. for those 5mm peg mortises, how do you mark the tenon thru that hole? The flat face of a chisel, no pencil or marking knife would fit i assume. Just curious, as always great work and one of the best build blogs out there.
    John Gray

  5. John,

    thanks for the question. I mark the peg mortise on the tenon using the 5 mm hollow chisel bit, using it like a chisel in my hand, and without the auger. Push the hollow chisel in the mortise until you meet the tenon surface, and then give the head of the chisel a tap with a plastic faced mallet and it leaves a square pattern of pin pricks on the wood.


Anything to add?