How do I fix loose tenons?

Use a craft knife and straightedge to trim veneer pieces slightly larger than the tenon cheeks, and glue them in place.

Using tape-covered cauls, lightly clamp the veneer pieces in place on the cheeks of the tenon and wait for the glue to dry.

After the glue dries, trim away the excess veneer and any glue squeeze-out with a sharp chisel or craft knife.


I learned my lesson the hard way: Mortises first, tenons second. But now that the mistake has been made, how can I salvage tenons that fit too loosely in a mortise?
—Wyatt Miller, Nashville


To add wood back to the cheeks, Wyatt, simply follow the steps, above, and check the fit again. If the tenon needs more bulk, repeat the process. Cheeks now too chubby? Thin them equally with a sanding block or shoulder plane until the tenon fits snugly.

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