Fully Housed Mortise and Tenon Joint

Fully Housed Mortise and Tenon Joint X-ray
Fully Housed Mortise and Tenon Joint

While this fully housed mortise and tenon joint does not have the dramatic effect that a diminished housing does, it offers a more straightforward look with a more traditional feel.  It is the style I chose for the construction of my home, and I have no regrets.

Housing a Mortise and Tenon Joint

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8 thoughts on “Fully Housed Mortise and Tenon Joint”

  1. It is sometimes easier to offset all the mortises on a frame a certain distance from the reference face, in this case, it is 2 1/2″. It can help minimize errors.

  2. Is there a certain rule of thumb for mortise depth should it be a little deeper than the length of the tenon for expansion and contraction or the same size as the tenon?
    Does it change between green timbers and dry timbers?


  3. Is there a rule of thumb for the depth of the beam into the post? Here it is 3/4″ across the face of the beam into the post. I am using this joint on a 10×10 post with a 6×12 beam going into the post, housed on one side. If I go into the post 1-1/2″ that will keep the bearing happy to meet “code”, since the tenon can not be seen and inspector has to follow the book. But I am not sure if 1-1/2″ is too deep for the post.

  4. We are framing with green wood. I understand that the mortise and tenon will shrink similarly across the radial plane, but it will be quite different across the height of the housing.
    ( I see that a 12” thick beam could shrink 3/8 or more, but it’s corresponding housing will shrink only .012”)
    Won’t the resulting gap negate the strength advantage of the housing? What are these joints going to look like in five years? Will the load be resting on the shoulder or the housing or on the pegs? Just trying to get the math part of my head around this problem

  5. If you lower the pegs and skew them toward the bottom of the beam that will hold it lower in the mortise as it dries. That will help keep it bearing on the mortise.

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