Cabinet Making Software – Mortise and Tenon

Cabinet Design Software - mortis and tenon

Adding a mortise and tenon joint SketchList 3D – Cabinet Design Software

This week three people have asked about using mortise and tenon joinery in SketchList 3D.   As I thought about the questions, I found it’s not all that clear on how to do this. Because unlike all other joinery in SketchList 3D – mortise and tenon is two different functions.   The tenon is created on the edge of a board through the joinery function and the mortise is cut on a surface as a non-round hole.

Of course that is not clear on first hearing.  So let me try it again.  If this doesn’t work – there’s a video at the end!

First of all  “the basic mortise and tenon comprises two components: the mortise hole and the tenon. The tenon, formed on the end of a member, is inserted into a square or rectangular hole cut into the corresponding member.” (Wikipedia –

Basically it’s the old put this tab into that slot.  It’s strong and exacting – the tenon must fit into the mortise.   And as many a woodworker can tell you, if they’re honest, you really need to pay attention to the length of the tenon and make sure so you do not cut the board short!

Back to SketchList 3D.   Two processes to make the joint.

First the tenon.  Select the board, go to board detail level, and select the edge on which yo want to place the board.   Click the joinery button.

cabinet design software joinery button

The details of the joint are placed into the following form.

cabinet design software joinery form

“Lengthen by”  is the ‘depth’  of the tenon.  You want to center vertically.  Here I used 1/4 for the height.  Centering horizontally on a 22 inch board has a 14 inch tenon with a 4 inch offset on either end.

Next the mortise – which is a non-round hole.  To place this properly you need to know the distance of the tenon board from the bottom of the assembly.  In our sample that is 12 inch.  At the board detail level select the surface on which the mortise will be cut.


Selecting the non-round hole button you will see this form.



The three dimensions that size  the mortise [height, width, and depth] are from the size of the tenon.  The location [a, b] are a mixture.  The B dimension is simply the 4 incSo the hes that the tenon is offset from the foront of the board.  We set this in the tenon form.  The A   dimension is the sum of the value of the bottom of the shelf [distance bottom of shelf is from bottom of assembly] – in this case 12 AND the vertical offset of the tenon – in this case 1/4 inch.

Click OK and you are set.


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