Pro Woodworking Tips.com
Cutting the Tenon - part two
Cutting the Tenon - part two
There a couple more, (at least), methods to efficiently cutting these common woodworking
joints. The first of which would be the band saw. If you have spent some time practicing using this machine for
accurate cutting results, this machine will cut the tenons rather quickly as well. Do notice that last sentence.
If you have not spent the time to become proficient with a band saw, including tuning it for precise cuts, you
will most likely find less than satisfactory results using this method. Even lesser quality band saws are
capable of some very fine work. It just requires practice, and the understanding of the machine.
A great reference for this and other woodworking machines can be found in Mark Duginski's Book /
Video, Mastering Woodworking machines, published by Taunton Press. I can't recommend this combination enough. He
will take the mystery out of machine tune up for you. (You may even find it's not the machine that's giving you
trouble, it could be your lack of understanding of the machine). Hard to imagine huh? He will also "show off his
skills", not to make you crazy, but to show you what's possible.
The last machine I wish to include in this subject would be my all time favorite, the mighty table
saw. With the help of a few accessories and jigs, cutting them on the table saw will lead to perfect results, as
well. Do Note: Using the table saw for this joint will require the guards and splitter to be
removed from the saw. USE EXTREME CAUTION in using this method.
Again, no marking is required to cut the joint for this method. What is required is a tenon jig.
There are several variations to this jig. One of the main concerns to buying a good unit is the weight of
it. A light weight unit, more than likely will be a waste of money. For this operation, a good heavy unit will
permit accurate results, while a lighter one won't have the heft to it to keep things stable. And in this type
of cutting, stable is important, for both the quality of cut, but more importantly safety. Micro adjustments are
able to be done rather quickly to ensure a perfect fit.
Heavy-Duty Tenoning Jig
Straight, angled or mitered tenons - this jig cuts
click here to order
Using the table saw requires a stop block clamped to the rip fence. This controls the position of
the shoulder, or depth of penetration into the mortise. A BIG SAFETY CONSIDERATION is to keep the stop
block back well behind the blade. If it is up close to the blade, the result will be the work piece binding, and
could end up in a kick back.
With these cautions in mind, setting up the jig is easy and once set, will allow you to cut very
accurate tenons, very quickly. Just be sure to position your hands well out of harms way, and don't force
the tool. A nice steady pace, using even force will lead to the best results and the
safest as well.
As always, use safety glasses, as the small pieces being cut off could
potentially become missiles. Small, but very painful ones!
Return to Mortise and Tenon
Return to home page