Compound-Angle Tenons on the Tablesaw
The angled joinery where the posts and seat rails meet is one of the challenges of making a Chippendale chair. Steve Brown tackles it with the aid of two ingenious jigs that simplify the process
Synopsis: The angled joinery where the rear legs and seat rails meet is one of the challenges of making a Chippendale chair. Steve Brown tackles it with the aid of two jigs, one that helps when laying out the tenons and the other that holds the pieces securely at the tablesaw when making the cuts. With these two jigs in hand, you’ll be knocking out these compound-angle tenons in short order.
Even though the back assembly of the Chippendale chair presents the bulk of the chair’s challenges, the compound-angle tenons where the rear legs meet the side seat rails can be a sizable hurdle, too. Don’t be intimidated. By using two straightforward, effective jigs—one helping with layout and the other to hold the workpieces properly at the tablesaw—you’ll be able to tackle these tenons. All that’s left at the end will be a little cleanup by hand.
Jig for tenon layout
To lay out the tenons, I turn to a bare-bones jig, a piece of 1⁄4-in. plywood cut to the trapezoid angle of the seat frame and glued into a poplar beam. I use the end of the plywood to lay out the shoulders, and its long angled edge to lay out the cheeks. I can lay out both cheeks just by sliding the poplar beam up and down the stock. This jig may sound superfluous, but it isn’t. If you’ve ever laid out angled tenon cheeks with a bevel gauge, you know it can be a balancing act. This jig takes care of that problem. It also comes in handy when making the tenoning jig.
Tenon jig for compound cutting
Once you’ve laid out the tenons, it’s time to make the tenoning jig, which you’ll use to cut the cheeks.…