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The classic mortis and tenon joint can be a challenge if not time consuming to create. Although little is as satisfying as creating a beautiful joint in the old style. But, unfortunately some of us like to save time when a project does not call for the exquisite tooling of a well made Mortis and tenon joint. For times like this there is an alternative, BeadLock If you can run a drill, and scribe a line, then you can create tight, accurate tenon joints over and over again.
BeadLock has devised a system for creating mortises using a sliding drill guide. With their round shaped tenon material, it fits into the holes created by drilling over lapping holes. I started out by creating a set of mortises for a table I am making to go into my daughter's room. The first mortise came out the slightest bit askew, I have no idea how that happened. My best guess is a clamping mistake on my part. The subsequent mortises came out perfect, aligned right where I marked them. The BeadLock system comes with guides to create 3/8" and 1/2" mortises, and they sell the corresponding tenon stock. My next test was to create a frame for a cupboard door. Which will not be used for any projects, because it got to face the hammer test. Once the glue had dried I proceeded to slam, bash, pull, twist and pound the joints. They held solid, the poplar wood gave out and the joints held firm. Like any tool, accuracy is key. The alignment of your tenons will only be as good as your ability to accurately align the witness marks. Even the slightest misalignment will be shown in the finished joint. With a little practice, and some care given in clamping and aligning and you will create well made, sturdy joints time and time again. The complete BeadLock set includes jigs for making 3/8 & 1/2 mortises, along with 4ft of tenon stock sells for around $45.95. For sets to make either 3/8" or 1/2" alone are around $30. The best value here is to simply get the complete set. The tenon stock sells for about $5.99 & $6.99 for 3 one foot pieces of the 3/8" & 1/2". If you are planning on creating a good deal of joinery with the BeadLock system, you might want to invest in their new router bits that allow you to create your own BeadLock tenon stock. You will want to be sure you will be using this system a fair amount, due to the investment in the bits, $82.50 for the 1/2 router bit and $79.99 for the bit to make the 3/8" mortises, both bits have 1/2" shanks. For someone who will use this system for a good many projects the bits would defiantly pay for themselves in savings over buying the stock pre-made. I have never been a woodworking purest, but I do believe you should know how to make the traditional joinery including the classic mortise and tenon, good skills are always best when based on the basics. For many of us, there will always be that project where the making of it outweighs the owning of the work when its complete. I am very pleased with the BeadLock system, I have no doubt it will get used on many projects. You can purchase the BeadLock system, BeadLock Router Bits, and Tenon Stock are exclusively sold by Rockler, See ad below
|Beadlock Pro Joinery Kit
Get incredibly strong, totally concealed joints with just your hand drill and the Beadlock Pro Kit. Beadlock Pro does everything Beadlock Basic does, but adds greater capacity and adjustability, p..
|3/8'' Beadlock Basic Starter Kit
Create rock-solid mortise and tenon joints with just your hand drill and this Beadlock Kit. Patented system overlaps drill bit holes precisely to accept a special Beadlock loose tenon. Ribbed tenon de..