Joint Variation: Haunched Mortise and Tenon

The haunched mortise and tenon is a variation of the normal mortise and tenon. If you haven’t made a mortise and tenon before we recommend you make one before you make the haunched variation. You can find our guide on making a mortise and tenon here.

This joint is often used on tables because of its strength, not aesthetics as it’s rarely ever seen. The aim is to get the tenon part in as far as possible and in contact on all 4 sides (if you did a normal tenon flush to the top it would only have enclosure on 3 sides) and the small haunched part is to strengthen the junction at the top of the leg (on a table).

For this course, you will need:

  • Wood (The sizes are not critical for practising, but Paul used a 10” (254mm) x 1 ½” (38mm) x 1 ¾“ (44mm) piece and a ¾” (19mm) x 2 ¾” (70mm) x 10″ (254mm) piece
  • Pencil
  • Square
  • Combination Gauge
  • Chisel ⅜ ” (10mm) and a ¾“ (19mm) (Paul uses a 6mm chisel to measure the haunch but you can use a steel rule to measure this if you don’t have that size)
  • Chisel hammer
  • Knife
  • Tenon Saw
  • Router plane (Optional)


  1. rgrifat on 6 March 2019 at 1:11 pm

    What is the advantage of this over a regular mortise and tenon enclosed from four sides?

    • Izzy Berger on 8 March 2019 at 3:45 pm


      Paul says:
      It’s a good place to practise for when you make doors and framed projects where haunches come into their own. The main advantage of this joint is that the full width of the tenon is constrained within the receiving mortise, and the short haunch continues to contribute to the integrity of the joint. It’s also easier to cut the full shoulder line than to cut the top shoulder going across the narrow section.

      Kind Regards,

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