Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Woodworking Methods and Techniques Repair for an out-of-plumb mortise?

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    I am working on the bench stool project, and have finished chopping the sixteen mortises and am now starting to cut and fit the tenons. However, after fitting the first tenon, I noticed that the rail was not perpendicular to the stool leg (not perpendicular left-to-right if I sight down the top of the rail with the leg pointing up and down).

    I am fairly certain that the tenon was properly cut in-line with the rail. I pared the tenon with a chisel to practice that technique, and creeped up to to the final thickness using a router plane. Therefore, I assume that the mortises must not have been chopped perpendicular to the face of the leg. Rather than use the mortise guide which Paul demonstrated in the video, I opted to try and do it freehand because I wanted to train myself to chop straight.

    Is there a good way to repair this? Since I haven’t cut the other fifteen tenons, I was thinking that I could pare down one of the sidewalls of the mortises using Paul’s mortise guide to get one plumb sidewall. Since most of my tenons haven’t been cut yet, I can cut them fat to make sure they aren’t loose. I have enough stock to re-make the rail with the tenon I already fit. I’d prefer to not need to re-make the legs since that would require another trip to the lumberyard and re-dimensioning the leg stock as well as chopping the mortises over again (though I am willing to do so if there’s no good way to fix this).

    Thank you in advance!

    Hugo Notti

    On many old pieces of furniture, you can see small pieces of wood fitted into old mortise holes or even dovetails, to tighten them. And you don’t need to fill every small gap, just on the sides, where you need stability. I think, this is a good way to repair this. And I would adjust the other tenons to size after correcting the mortises where needed.


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