Mortise & Tenons for the Table Base
8 When you’re laying out mortises on a set of table legs, it’s very easy to mark a mortise on the wrong face of one or more of the legs. To avoid that problem, after I’ve pencil-marked the mortises but before I knife-mark them, I bring the pencil-marked legs together in the alignment they will have in the finished table, and check to see that everything is the way it should be.
9 After struggling for many years to hold a metal rule in exactly the right position for knife-marking mortises, something kicked my brain into gear. I purchased a supply of 6" metal rulers and attached wood fences to them that represented the inside and outside edges of each mortise. This makes mortise layout nearly idiot proof. You simply press the fence against the work and move your marking knife along the edge of the ruler.
10 Mark the outside edge of the apron mortises. Notice the wider fenced ruler on the bench beside me. That will be used to mark the inside edges of those mortises.
11 I completed the knife marking using a tri-square to align the knife for crossgrain marks.
12 Here you can see how clean and accurate the knife marks are.