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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cutting a tenon

Instead of fiddling with tools tonight, I decided it was high time I did some actual furniture building. I've been slogging through a small coffee table. I'd build a larger one, but then I wouldn't be able to get around it in my tiny house. To build the table I need to make several mortise and tenon joints. Being a noob, this is a joint I have never completed before, well, properly anyway. My kitchen utility table has those loose tenon thingies (which I hate, and I'm angry about WHY I ended up using them, but that's a gripe for another day). I've tried practicing a few times but never had much success. But then...
Derek Cohen has a great write up about how to get through the M&T joint here. I tried to follow his method, and did pretty well. So, thanks, Derek! With some practice, I'm sure I'll have this down in no time. Below is my first shot, I've got several more to get through.

The cheek cuts marked on the end grain. I chipped it out a bit on the shooting board...I really need to consider a dedicated mitre plane. The board is 3/4" thick, so the tenon will be 1/4" thick.
To make the cross cut that forms the shoulder, I made a deep knife line. I followed that up with a chisel to widen it (working on the waste side, of course).
Starting the cheek cuts with a Veritas rip filed carcass saw. Setting up at a 45 degree angle and following both lines is a huge help here.
Finishing the cheek cut with the saw straight across the board.
A rough cut cheek, you can see the saw marks from the angled cuts. It is now ready for clean up.
Using the router plane to true up the cheek.
Cheek in progress.
I thought I would try using a Lie-Nielsen joinery float to true the shoulder. My wooden shoulder plane is too large for the size of this board. There are other options though...
...Like a Veritas miniature shoulder plane! This little guy actually did a purdy good job. The blade is the exact height of the cheek, and it took out the remaining waste effectively. (Note to self...consider getting another shoulder plane at some point)
A finished tenon. Mostly, there's just a tiny bit of clean up remaining, and I need to cut the cheek shoulders down. But the hard work is done!
Overall, not an uber-difficult task. Like all things I'm learning about woodwork, it' about method. The next task is chopping the mortises. I've had a bit of practice with that lately since I've been working on the breadboard ends for this table. That process I didn't take pictures of because I was pulling  my beard out (my hair is already beard is next!).

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