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Tenon scrap yields the perfect material to make fox wedges.  It’s already more or less sized, length-wise and width-wise, to fit right into the tenon.

Since I’ve never done this before, I watched Kari Hultman’s video (explaining the fox wedged tenon) one last time to keep the confidence high. For the past few days, I’ve thought and thought and thought: how the hell am I going to make a small wedge safely?!  Use a saw?  That just strikes me like trying to kill a fly with a club.  Use a plane?  How the hell am I going to secure the wedge blank to plane it to a wedge?  Then it occurred to me: how ’bout the simple chisel?

Cutting the blanks from tenon scrapShaping the Wedges with chiselThe completed wedge

I initially chopped/split the blanks out in the vertical (as shown above), but this got a little precarious as the scrap stock got shorter and shorter. I found that splitting out the blanks from the scrap was far easier in the horizontal, just like the second picture above with how I shaped them.

I deviated from Kari’s video in two ways: my mortises were dovetail-shaped to account for the splayed tenon due to the wedge, and my wedges are slightly shorter than the tenons; I just don’t understand why you would want a wedge that is longer than the tenon? I just foresee this causing problems while trying to knock the tenon into the mortise.

Prepping the tenons went quickly.  No lines; just free-hand saw work where you drill at the stop of your cut:

CutDrillReady to go together

For ease of putting together, I lightly seated each wedge into the tenon cuts with a few gentle taps of the mallet. If I didn’t, the wedges had a tendency to fall out as I was lining the tenon up with the mortise; this was especially true on my final alignment where I was lining up four tenons simultaneously to connect the right side of the table base to the left.

Here you can see that it works… if you look close enough (probably on the expanded picture), you can see the wedges hammered home (I highlighted in green just for below), splaying the tenon and forever (hopefully) locking it into place:

Interior workings of the fox wedge

I have to admit, my original intent was to do this all without glue, but I did have one tenon that seemed slightly loose as I was dry-fitting prior to wedging it all up. I ended up using glue as an added precaution.

After allowing it to dry overnight, I’m left with this:

BGE Table Base

An immoveable fortress… exactly what I set out to build for outdoor use.  I know, it looks a little off from square in the picture, but I think it’s the super-wide lense I used that’s fish-eyeing it a little bit.  It all matches up with about 1/8″ variation from left to right.

Next up: the dilemma of the top.  It’s huge and undimensioned so far…

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  • Ralph J Boumenot

    Hi Snakeye,
    Did you glue the wedges and their slots first? Is the top rough and you will be 4 squaring it?

    • I just dumped a bunch of glue down the walls of the mortise prior to hitting them home; I didn’t put any on the wedges (I figured they’d get it once they dipped into their glue bath as I hammered them in).

      The top is rough – 8/4 30″x60″. I haven’t cut it to that yet… it’s about 75″ long – I’m still pondering the best way to go about this (the saw obviously… but how to ensure straightness the most efficient way).