Friday, March 17, 2017

A Tenon Using Training Wheels

Just a short post to show an accurate way to cut tenons using two unique jigs.

Warning: Hand saw purists will cringe.

To cut the tenon cheeks, I used my modified Stanley 55 "saw plane" or kerfing plane, followed by the  magnetized miter jack to guide a saw for the shoulders. The older posts will provide much more detail on the two jigs.

Once the Stanley 55 plane's fence is set for the first cheek, the remainder of similar thickness cheek cuts will not need any further setup of the plane.

Saw blade is fashioned with a couple of holes which fit precisely into the two rods.

Fence adjusted to set the saw at the correct distance

Hot off the presses. Will need some clean up at the intersection of the shoulder and cheek.


  1. Frankly, with so many tools involved under this hand-tool approach, I'd go with the tablesaw and tenoning jig.

    It is not just purists who should learn to cut tenons with nothing but a backsaw. Anyone who really wants to do hand-tool work should develop that basic skill. Period.



  2. Certainly, I believe that one should build their hand skills as a foundation to good woodworking. Cutting a one-off or a few of the same tenons with my seemingly Rube Goldbergesque contraptions may not save any significant time. But, if one is cutting numerous tenons, a jig is sometimes helpful. For example, I made a Jefferson bookstand that has over 30 tenons. All of the tenons were in 3's to form haunched tenons to make a breadboard clamp. At the time, I cut those all out the traditional way. It took me 16 hours to make the mortise and tenons. My hands were sore. If I had to do it again, I would use my kerfing saw. If you have a 12" panel with 3 tenons with haunches, are you going to use only a saw for the cheeks and shoulders? I certainly would not. Perhaps you would use a moving filletser (fillister) plane. Setting that plane up is not much different than the kerfing plane, with the latter causing no spelching (we all know that the nickers on planes can be finicky). They are both jigs. For that matter, we should all throw out our miter boxes and shooting boards as well as any plane with a fence since our hand tool skills should be perfect with a saw alone or our fingers as a guide. It is a method, not the only method. I am working on a very complicated chair right now with close to 50 tenons. The kerfing plane and miter jack came in handy for me on some of the cuts, especially when cutting some 4" wide angled 7 degree tenons. I did not show the angling of the fences on this post to provide angled cuts, but it is feasible to do so.