cutting the shoulders on tenons - got my head in a jar..

Folks -
Okay, got the mortises chopped, tenons cut, and the fit is fine... How the hell to I square up the shoulders evenly so that the tenoned piece fits cleanly? I feel like I am starting off with a high chair and uneven legs and have the feeling that I'll end up with a stool by the time I get the legs even..
I had thought about using the tenons as a "stop" but they are of unequal lengths. I could trim them all to the same length, but hate to give up the glue area.
This is all for some screen doors, so it's important that the rails are all the same length for obvious reasons. It's hard enough to keep things square when I *do* know what I'm doing.
I seem to recall a quote from Mark Twain saying that the cause of trouble isn't from people that people that *think* that they know what they're doing, it's from what people that *KNOW* for sure, what just *isn't* so...
Any help, TIA... I'm sure someone here will explain a method shortly that will embarrass me in its' simplicity...
John Moorhead
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It's not obvious to me from the description...are you doing this the neander way or the Normite way?
todd
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In rec.woodworking

Have a crosscut sled? Use it with a stop block. Some like to angle the blade to undercut the tenon a bit so that you're sure the gap will close when you assemble them.
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Ditto
Cut your stock exactly to length, that includes your tenon (tenon doesn't have to be exactly seated to bottom off mortise) length. Use a stop block, with a piece of tape, here's the million dollar tip: cut the all the faces of your tenons with the stop block and tape, then remove the tape from the stop block, before cutting the end cheeks. This minute extra bit of height provides an all around, super tight gapless joint.
A quick paring with a chisel, to ease an inward angle towards your tenon along your cheeks.
Don't forget to score you tenon, if it's a tight fit. Scoring it will prevent any hydraulic pressure, and let excess glue escape (same reason store bought dowels are scored).
Cheers, and good luck
aw
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"John Moorhead" wrote in message

There is at least one way to recover from the situation using a table saw and a crosscut sled, or a miter gauge with a fence attached, but, depending upon how far off you are now from being square and the desired length, you may have to settle for a bit off the final length of your rails to get them all the same size and still square to the stiles:
FIRST: mark one side of each rail (on the tenon) with an "X" so that you always know which side you're going to put up against the stop block in the final step.
Now, carefully using a stop block on your fence, ADJUSTED INDIVIDUALLY FOR EACH RAIL, and with the blade height adjusted for the height of the shoulder, square up shoulders on the rails, ONLY on the side marked "X", and taking as small a cut as possible to get the shoulders square all the way around the rail.
The goal of the first step is to get one end ONLY of your rails with the tenon shoulders perfectly square all the way around.
SECOND: Set a stop block on the fence of the sled/miter gauge, that rides above the cheek of the tenon, and catches the lip of the tenon shoulder that you squared up above (the one marked "X").
Place, and securely fasten, the stop block so that the distance between it and the same side of the saw blade is the same as the desired length of the rail from shoulder to shoulder (without regard to the current tenon length).
Once set, do NOT move this stop block!
With the blade height still set to the shoulder height, and now with the shoulder marked "X" against said stop block, make your squaring shoulder cut on the opposite end of the rail.
Depending upon how much you had to fudge, you may have some cleanup on the tenon cheek to do, but your shoulders on opposite ends will now be parallel to each other, and the rail will be the desired length from tenon shoulder to tenon shoulder.
There are other ways to do this, but the above will keep you from having to cut your tenons to the same length after the fact, which is always a kludge at best and rarely results in all rails being the same length.
In the future, always batch cut the shoulders of the tenons on the rails using a fence and stop block while the tenons are ALL the same length ... you can always go back and trim/bevel individual tenons shorter if need be, but you will still have that sacred, and square, distance between the stiles set into your rails as gospel that you can take to the bank ... along with your mixed metaphors.
Hope this was clear enough.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 5/15/04
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Can be routed to max precision. See picture link for sample:
http://www.patwarner.com/images/tenoner3.jpg
*************************************************************

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Have I got a deal for you John!
Your post regarding your trials and tribulations with the mortise and tenon joints on your screen door project got me off my butt and make the Loose Tenon Jig that was in the April 2004 issue of popular woodworking. And of course I had to come up with some additions for it - for doing mortises in mitered corners (I'm doing a jewelry box with wrap around grain and didn't want to biscuit it together. (no, the jig is not made of rosewood with ebony stops and there are no wooden threads either.)
After figuring out how to make it and then playing with it enough to understand how to use it I put up three web pages that might a) get you to make this jig and b) solve your mortise and tenon problem. You do have a router and an edge guide for it I trust?
Here's the url (no pop ups, no adds - just some hopefully useful information. All one line so watch the line wrap.
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/LooseTenonJig/LooseTenonJig1.html
charlie b
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charlie b wrote:

Thanks. Nicely done and well-presented. I think I'll have to build this for my shop.
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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Forgot to mention chamfering the ends of the tenon and if you're anal retentive, the mortise as well. Makes getting parts together a little easier and gives a little space for glue squeeze out inside the joint where it won't show.
charlie b
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