The Best Way to Fit Tenons
Machines will get you close, but only a handplane will deliver a piston fit
Synopsis: A lot of woodworkers cut tenons with a tablesaw, only to get frustrated when the cheeks don’t fit perfectly and the shoulders are not aligned. It’s pretty tough to cut perfect tenons on a machine, whether you’re using a tablesaw, router, or bandsaw. A better plan is to cut it close and then dial in the fit with hand tools. Seeking the best tool for this job, Chris Gochnour compared shoulder planes, rabbet block planes, fillister planes, and bullnose planes. All are designed to cut into corners, leaving crisp, square edges and removing material methodically in a way that power tools cannot. Here, he shows what to look for in a joinery plane, how to dial in the machine cut to leave less paring to do, and which type of planes are best for trimming shoulders and cheeks.
A lot of woodworkers choose to cut tenons…