Post details: A Strong Argument for Loose Tenons FAQ


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A Strong Argument for Loose Tenons FAQ

Loose Tenons FAQThe most popular furniture joint just got a whole lot easier. The new beadLOCK™ system is a dream to work with and delivers perfect mortise and tenon joints every time. Aside from their patented jig, the only tool required is a drill — no more chisels, mortising machines, table saw jigs or endless shaving to get that exquisitely cut joint. All you have to do is clamp the jig in place and drill a few holes, then insert a length of the company’s pre-milled tenon stock. It truly is that easy.

Why a Loose Tenon?

I shop tested the beadLOCK™ system and discovered a number of surprises — not the least of which was that the system also makes a wonderful doweling jig for standard 1/2" and 3/8" dowel stock. But its true value lies with its designed function: creating mortises for the company’s premanufactured hardwood loose tenons. All loose tenons floats in the space formed by two opposing mortises, but beadLOCK’s version has a number of advantages over a standard squared tenon. The multiple flutes are, in effect, the equivalent of joining either three 1/2" dowels or five 3/8" dowels together. The innovative shape offers a large amount of side-grain gluing surface, for an extremely strong joint. The design also prevents the joint from wiggling from side to side and working itself loose over the years.
Loose Tenon

Once the beadLOCK is clamped in place it’s a simple matter to switch from position A to position B and drill the holes required for your tenon stock.



Position A holes are shown in blue;
Position B holes are shown in red.



Some Workshop Observations
Back in my shop, I took a long, hard look at the beadLOCK jig and its matching moldings. The kit I tested was the top of the line version, which included everything necessary to construct joints with both 3/8" and 1/2" thick tenon stock. The first thing I discovered was both the plate and the two guide blocks were made in the USA of hardened steel, so they’re as durable as they need to be for years of regular use. Block machining was top quality, and the set screws were big enough to grip and use.

Tools you'll need for this project


Free catalog

Free catalog


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