Hinge Mortises on the Tablesaw
How to Sharpen Hollow Chisel Mortising Bits
Smoothing Plane Tips and Techniques
Simple Tape Trick for Tight Fitting Through-Mortises
Workbench Tool Storage Solutions
A Woodworker's Guide to Grain Direction
The Coolest Cutting Board Ever?
Drawbore Your Mortise-and-Tenon Joinery
Speed Up Handplane Honing with Your Ruler
Customize Your Router for Centered Mortises
Finishing Technique for Greene and Greene Furniture
Capture More Dust from Your Router Table
The Essential Tool Chest
How to Sharpen a Spokeshave
Simple Cabinetry with Pocket Hole Joinery
How to Cut Tenons on the Bandsawcomments (24) July 13th, 2011 in blogs
I've cut tenons in all manner of ways. I learned by doing it with a handsaw. Time-consuming, but it worked. Then I tried a tenoning jig, but it was fussy to set up and was too unwieldy for longer workpieces. Finally, I settled on using a dado set, a quick and easy method that allowed me to bang out a bunch of tenons in no time, no matter what the length of the workpiece.
I thought it was the best way. But recently I tried the job with a bandsaw, and I think I'm a convert.
You see, I've been building a trestle table, doing the work here in the FWW shop during my lunch hour. It's not a complicated piece by any means, but with only an hour to spare for woodwork, I needed to be as efficient as possible.
The FWW shop has a SawStop tablesaw. It's a great saw, but installing the dado set on it requires changing out the blade-stopping cartridge and recalibrating the system a bit. Not a big deal if you do the job regularly, but it was a time-waster for the short period I have to work. I soon realized that my preferred method of cutting tenons wasn't going to cut it.
I'd seen people do the job on the bandsaw, and it looked simple, so I decided to give it a whirl. Turns out, the job was easy, quick and precise, and I'm not sure I'll ever use a dado set again to cut tenons. I used our shop's behemoth bandsaw for the job, but the technique will work with any bandsaw, even a benchtop one if your workpieces are small enough. Try it. I think you'll like it.
Here's the process.
First cut the shoulders using the tablesaw.
1. I dialed in the blade height with the help of a test piece. Once that was set, use the fence and a miter gauge to cut the shoulders along the cheeks on all the pieces.
2. Then, with the fence in the same position, adjust the blade height to cut the top and bottom shoulders.
Now it's off to the bandsaw.
You'll need one with a good fence so you don't cut tapered tenons by accident, and it's a good idea to use a test piece to set up the fence. I do the cheek cuts first, but I don't think it matters.
3. Scribe a line from the bottom of the each shoulder to the end of the workpiece and set the fence so that you're cutting a hair outside the line. Cut the first cheek, flip the workpiece and cut the opposite face.
4. When all the cheek cuts are finished, follow the same process to trim the tenons to width.
5. All it takes is some light cleanup work with a shoulder plane and chisels to get a perfect-fitting tenon.
posted in: blogs, how to, Tablesaw, tenons, bandsaw, joinery, mortise and tenon, Fine Woodworking, mckenna, tenon
Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking
Become a Better Woodworker
Gain new insights on how to build the perfect workshop from the pros at Fine Woodworking magazine. ShopTalk aims to cover everything from workshop layout and design, to shop tips, tricks, and techniques.