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How to Make a Slip Joint

A slip joint is a variation of the mortise and tenon that can be cut entirely on the table saw.

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easy technique for making a slip joint
  • Time

    2 hours

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Mark the Boards

Stack two boards with the corners flush.

Make a small mark on the bottom board along the edge of the top board, then, use a combination square to complete the mark. Continue the mark all the way around the board.

use combination square to complete mark

Step 2: Cut the Tenon

On the table saw, use a 3/4" dado stack to cut the tenon. The dado stack should be raised 1/4" above the table. Hold the board down on the table so that the dado stack can cut it smoothly. Make the first cut at the edge of the pencil marks, then move the board over slightly and cut again. Repeat until the side is finished, then flip the board over and cut the other side in the same manner to complete the tenon.

cut the tenon

Step 3: Make the Mortise

Use a standard 1/8" blade to make the mortise. The piece the mortise is being made in should be run upright so that the blade cuts away the center in two passes. Set the blade slightly off-center to widen the cut to reach the proper dimension for the mortise. Saddle a tenon jig over the fence to prevent movement away from the blade during the cut. Attach a block to the fence to ensure that the board remains absolutely perpendicular through the cut. For even more stability, use a clamp to hold the board in place (Image 1). Glue the pieces together then place a clamp on the joint while it dries (Image 2).