Bespoke table design sketch, handmade in Cornwall using traditional pegged mortice & tenon joints

The most commonly used joint in Dan’s furniture, a mortice & tenon joint consists of a hole (mortice) in one piece of wood and a projecting tongue (tenon) formed on the end of another piece. The tenon is cut to the same dimensions as the mortice, so they fit together precisely. Once assembled, a wooden peg is driven through the joint to secure it, through holes which have been previously bored in both the mortice and the tenon. These holes can be bored slightly out of alignment so that as the peg travels through, the joint is pulled tightly together. This is called a draw-bored mortice & tenon joint.


Bespoke furniture handmade in Cornwall using solid panels and frames secured with traditional pegged mortice & tenon joints

In this type of construction, Dan makes a strong frame from 4 pieces of wood, secured at each corner with a mortice & tenon joint. A solid wooden panel sits in a groove, which is located along the inside faces of the frame. Inside this groove, the panel is free to expand and contract, which prevents it from splitting.


Bespoke furniture handmade in Cornwall featuring dovetailed drawers

Dan’s drawers are constructed using dovetail joints in each corner where the side of the drawer meets the front or back. The drawer sides have tapered pins formed along their ends and the drawer fronts/backs have tapered sockets cut into their ends. These pins and sockets interlock forming a very strong joint.


Bespoke table handmade with traditional pegged mortice & tennon joints, featuring breadboard ends - Design sketch.

These are boards of wood located at each end of some table tops, with the grain running across the width of the table. They help to keep the table top flat, however they must also allow the main part to expand and contract across its width. As wood does not move along its length, the breadboard ends must be secured using sliding pegged mortice & tenon joints. This is achieved by forming the mortice holes slightly wider than their matching tenons and by cutting slots (rather than holes) in the tenons for the pegs. The exception is the central mortice & tenon in each breadboard end, which has a tight fit and is therefore the fixed point.