Cutting Tenons

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I am a newbie woodworker and am having some trouble cutting tenons on some rails. When I cut the shoulders on my tenons, the cuts sometimes don't line up all the way around the stock. It will be off by a little bit on one end of the stock. I checked my miter gauge to make sure it was at 90o and my rip fence is parallel to miter slot before ripping the stock. What am I doing wrong? It will only be off by a little bit on one end, but I'm thinking that with enough clamping force the gap will not be noticeable. Is this a common problem?
Thanks in advance.
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You can file the shoulders even. I wouldn't count on it being unnoticeable otherwise. The piece is probably slipping a tad as it contacts the blade. Try clamping it to the miter guage or making a mini sled that you can clamp it to.
Brian.

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I do a "no-no" and use the fence with the miter guage to serve as a positive stop. I guess I don't see the safety issue as I am not cutting through the material so no part to "wedge" and become air-borne. Having just finished a rather elaborate deck railing that required about 200 tenons, I had no problems at all but then again I was only making 1/8" or 1/4" inch cuts which were then finished off with the tenon jig (a great tool to have) and band saw.

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On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 02:27:36 GMT, "Tom Kohlman"

Even when you are cutting through, the safer way to do this is with a stop block clamped to the fence. The block should end before the blade. This way, you bump the work up to the block/fence, push forward, and make the cut. Pinching of wood isn't possible.
If you make a precision thickness block, you simply add the block thickness to the fence cursor reading. When I make any device like this, I write something like "ADD 1/2" right on the jig with a Sharpie.
Barry
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If you are cutting the tennons with the tennon pointing towards the fence and using the fence as the eventual positive stop, this is perfectly acceptable as long as you start cutting at the end of the board and work towards the eventual shoulder of the tennon. This method will prevent the tennon shoulder from being between the fence and the "side" of the blade. Use of a sacrificial fence is advisable. Basically this method requires the miter gauge to "Not" be between the blade and the fence.
If you are cutting the tennons with them pointing away from the fence, and your miter gauge is between the blade and the fence, you are setting your self up for a kick back as the shoulder is between the fence and the "side" of the blade. The fact that you are not cutting through the wood does not lessen the possibility of a kick back in this situation.
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Is your blade parallel to the fence and the mitre slot ???

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Yes,
I carpet taped a caliper to my miter gauge and checked the distance form the miter gauge slot to the front on the blade and a second measurement from the back of the blade. The measurements were almost right on. How much error would be tolerated?

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Can't give you a decimal measurement but it should not be very much if it was off a little then that is what more than likely was causing your problem,
Could you not feel the drag on the saw blade? what about when you rip, you claimed that the fence was in alignment to the mitre slot then if the mitre slot is off with the blade then the fence should also be off with the blade.
set your fence for about 6" take a small peice of plywood, slowly run it into the blade and look straight down as the kerf starts thru the back of the blade, if it is off you will then see a wider kerf at the back of the blade than the front and will also be able to see what side it is heeling on
I do this with a peice of melamine board for two reasons, there is no grain to make the board wander and the clean white melamine will show the accuracy or unaccuracy of the cut much better.
What kind of saw do you have ?
George

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A cheapo Delta 10''. Model 36-600.

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I honestly do not know much about little saws, I guess they can be adjusted and fine tuned (Now don't flame me guys)I consider anything under a 5 hp Industrial quality saw a toy.
There are many on the rec here that know quite a but more about these little saws that I Good Luck, George

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stoutman wrote:

I think that's the one that's Delta's version of my Skil 3400. Minimalist saw. No angle wheel, crappy fence, crappy miter gauge, unusually narrow and shallow miter slots... That sound like your animal?
I haven't done a lot of tenons, but what works for me on this saw is to forget about the traditional tenoning jig way of doing things.
What I do is figure out the amount I want to remove from the piece, and I usually try to keep it the same on all four cuts. I set the blade for that height. Then I determine the depth the tenon needs to be, and clamp a stop block to my miter sled.
With everything set like that, I take the piece, put it against the fence on my miter sled, butt it against the stop block, then I make a series of passes to remove the waste. The fence keeps me from cutting past the line, and most of the positioning for the repeat cuts is done without its aid. It takes more time than the two cuts, cut-the-cheeks-then-cut-the-shoulders approach, but it keeps things consistent, which is no easy trick on this saw.
If you want to cut the cheeks, then cut the shoulders, I suggest building a tenoning jig into some kind of sled so you have a solid reference face, and can avoid the problems associated with the impossibility of making a zero-clearance insert for this saw. I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. The method I described works for no more tenons than I cut. Add a dado stack and it would be even easier.
--
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"That sound like your animal?"
Not really. My miter slot is the "standard size". My osborne (EB3) fit perfectly.
"No angle wheel" If you mean the ability to tilt the blade, yes it can do this. Tilts to the right.
"Crappy fence" This sounds like mine. :)

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stoutman wrote:

Well, then I'll thank you to not call that luxurious wood cutting machine a "cheapo." I, sir, have a genuine cheapo. :P
Everything else still stands though, except other posts in the thread have made me consider that making the shoulder cut first is potentially dangerous. I'll start cutting in from the end, and work up to the shoulder.
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I've never had a kickback with my LN dovetail saw. :-)

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Lowell Holmes wrote:

I had one with my Stanley. I detailed that somewhere or other just today, I think. It was pretty ugly. So much for hand tools not being dangerous. :)
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Stoutman,
I cut many tenons with a 36-600 (had it for 4 years before I upgraded). I would scribe a line all the way around the board with an accurate square. Then after you cut the tenons on the table saw, you can clean them up with a sharp chisel.
Montyhp

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I don't know if this is the same problem but when I cut my tenons I had the same problem. What I noticed was with the board on its face all was fine but with it on edge(being wider in that direction)the board contacted higher on the fence and didn't touch the bottom of the fence, fence not square(vertically) with the table. Before anyone screams, I had a board clamped to the fence short of the blade.
-- "Shut up and keep diggen" Jerry

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Sounds like the same problem that I am having now. I thought of that being the cause. What did you do to solve the problem in your case?
If can't get this tenon problem solved, I'm gonna just stick with biscuits for all of my joinery.
Thanks.

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If that is your problem (fence isn't 90 degrees vertical to your table top) you could clamp a short (height-wise) board to your fence. Then when you use that as your gauge you will only be contacting the short board and not the fence. Therefore, whether your board is flat or on edge it will still only make contact at the bottom. Hope that makes sense.
Sandpaper glued to your miter gauge can help too as it provides a little extra grip on your board to keep it from sliding slightly on your miter gauge when making a cut.
--
Larry C in Auburn, WA

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See Larry C's post, thats what I did.
-- "Shut up and keep diggen" Jerry

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