Web site update

People might like to know that to my web site I have just added:
Projects - Carving A Tawny Owl
Mortising and Tenoning - Sawing a Tenon.
All being well, that is!
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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Excellent, as usual. In reading the new material and re-reading the other advice you give on doing m&t joints by hand, I had an observation and question or two. I'm in the midst of a project that requires a lot of m&ts, and as I'm writing this, I just came in from the shop from laying out and cutting a half-dozen tenons, so things are fresh on my mind.
First, on laying out the tenon shoulders, this is the first project where I've used a marking knife. I used to simply lay them out with pencil, cut slightly short of the lines and clean up the best I could. The knife really does simplify things; as long as you can keep your saw right on the waste side of the mark, you are almost guaranteed a clean shoulder.
I tried to keep as close to the knife mark as possible, and noticed that when the waste has been sawn off, you get a small burnished area where the knife mark was that contrasts clearly with the saw marks, and it's easy to see if you need to pare a bit to get everything even. (I'll never go back to pencil marks for tenon shoulders.)
You mentioned that some folks like to use a chisel as a "crutch" to give a better point of reference; I've done that before for cutting the waste on the outside pins for dovetails, and never really been satisfied with it. I always seemed to be left with a small "hump" at the transition from the mark to the saw cut. But I found that relying on the knife worked nicely.
Another point you made was that the cheeks should be cut before the shoulders, and that's the way I used to do them, but on this project I cut the shoulders first and was very pleased with the results. Could you share your reasoning for doing the cheeks first? (FWIW, my current project is a frame and panel construction, and I cut the grooves first, so they give a good reference point for the depth of the tenon shoulders.)
As for beginning to saw on the near of far side of the piece; for the shoulder cuts I naturally fell into beginning the cut on the far edge and bringing it towards me. (That's the way I do all my crosscutting.) But for cutting the cheeks, I am more comfortable angling the piece away from me and starting the cut on the close side, and sawing at an angle until I reach the far side (and then reversing the piece and repeating the process).
Again, could you offer me some insight into why you prefer starting the tenon at the far edge and bringing it back? I know you mentioned that the saw could skip if started on the near edge, but with the angle I'm cutting (roughly 30-40 degrees from vertical), it doesn't seem to be a problem. Is it possibly uniformity, since with dovetails you can't angle the piece to get the favorable angle of attack?
Anyhow, thanks for your insight and thanks for your continued work on your website. It's a great source of information.
Chuck Vance
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: : > People might like to know that to my web site I have just added: : > : > Projects - Carving A Tawny Owl : > : > Mortising and Tenoning - Sawing a Tenon. : : Excellent, as usual.
Thanks for these kind words. Feedback encourages further effort!
: I tried to keep as close to the knife mark as possible, and noticed : that when the waste has been sawn off, you get a small burnished area : where the knife mark was that contrasts clearly with the saw marks, : and it's easy to see if you need to pare a bit to get everything even. : (I'll never go back to pencil marks for tenon shoulders.)
I call them 'witness marks' - there's something about them in the Marking Out Notes under Why Use A Knife. : : You mentioned that some folks like to use a chisel as a "crutch" to : give a better point of reference; I've done that before for cutting : the waste on the outside pins for dovetails, and never really been : satisfied with it. I always seemed to be left with a small "hump" at : the transition from the mark to the saw cut.
The difficulty with using a chisel to pre-cut the shoulder, as it were, is that it seems that one has to put the entire length of the edge into the groove and proceed from there. It can be quite difficult to start the saw in this fashion.
: Another point you made was that the cheeks should be cut before the : shoulders, and that's the way I used to do them, but on this project I : cut the shoulders first and was very pleased with the results. Could : you share your reasoning for doing the cheeks first?
I prefer to saw the long shoulders first because one still has a line to watch when steering the saw downwards. One would have a less positive mark to work to if the short shoulder was sawn first.
: As for beginning to saw on the near of far side of the piece; for : the shoulder cuts I naturally fell into beginning the cut on the far : edge and bringing it towards me. (That's the way I do all my : crosscutting.) But for cutting the cheeks, I am more comfortable : angling the piece away from me and starting the cut on the close side, : and sawing at an angle until I reach the far side (and then reversing : the piece and repeating the process).
The principle behing starting on the far shoulder is that one has only one point to watch as you proceed. The problem with starting on the front corner (very frequently mentioned in books and articles) is that one has to orient the saw in two planes and get it right from the very begining. Experts do it without difficulty, of course, but not everyone (including myself these days) is in practice. An important point is that the far end of the saw should always pivot (as it were) around the far end of the kerf. This really needs a couple of drawings to clarify the point. : : Again, could you offer me some insight into why you prefer starting : the tenon at the far edge and bringing it back?
Please see above.
Regards to all,
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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Jeff Gorman wrote:

All I can say is if anyone else is reading this thread and has not yet gone to Jeff's website, he/she should proceed there immediately. There's a tremendous amount of useful info there.

Just out of curiosity, do you try to saw right on the waste side of the line? I was cutting more tenons last night and found that I got great results by really trying to "split the line on the waste side" (i.e., not leaving the line intact). This still leaves the *slightest* bit of a witness mark (burnishing), but no visible line.

More prone to skipping?

I'm not sure I follow this. If you have precut the shoulders (short shoulders), you have a sawcut to aim for when sawing the cheeks.

Strangely enough, I find that this *helps* me to orient the saw. I know that if I am cutting straight as the saw passes the two planes at the near edge, then it will naturally be straight as it moves further up and down along the tenon's end. Then I can concentrate on sighting along the bottom of the cut. (It's hard to put into words, but I can visualize this.)

Understanding what you meant by this was a "light bulb" moment for me on cutting tenons, re-sawing and to some extent, dovetails. Combined with strict adherence to the rule that you never want to be making a new sawcut that you cannot see (i.e., don't let your saw get below a pre-existing kerf on the far side of the board), my sawing has improved greatly.
It was enlightening when I finally realized that you can really feel a pivot point on the far side of the board if you are using a light touch. Let the saw rock on that point at the end of each stroke and you will naturally be in position for the next stroke.
Again, thanks for your help, and this discussion. Even if we're the only ones reading this, I don't care. :-)
Chuck Vance
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: > : > I call them 'witness marks' - there's something about them in the Marking : > Out Notes under Why Use A Knife. : : Just out of curiosity, do you try to saw right on the waste side of : the line? I was cutting more tenons last night and found that I got : great results by really trying to "split the line on the waste side" : (i.e., not leaving the line intact). This still leaves the *slightest* : bit of a witness mark (burnishing), but no visible line.
If you have the witness mark bordering the sawn surface, you've got it right. When a right-hander saws a tenon he/she'll be working to the left-hand side of the knife mark. : : > The difficulty with using a chisel to pre-cut the shoulder, as it were, is : > that it seems that one has to put the entire length of the edge into the : > groove and proceed from there. It can be quite difficult to start the saw in : > this fashion. : : More prone to skipping?
That's about it. : : > I prefer to saw the long shoulders first because one still has a line to : > watch when steering the saw downwards. One would have a less positive mark : > to work to if the short shoulder was sawn first. : : I'm not sure I follow this. If you have precut the shoulders (short : shoulders), you have a sawcut to aim for when sawing the cheeks.
A fine point really, provided you have correctly sawn the short shoulder. : : Again, thanks for your help, and this discussion. Even if we're the : only ones reading this, I don't care. :-)
You're welcome. Since Conan started this in the forum, I've left it this way.
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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Well, I made a filter to highlight the response when it came, so I can assure you that you are not the only ones reading it. I greatly appreciate Mr. Gorman's work on his website and the information.
I have to say, of all the woodworking skills I am trying to learn, sawing and chiseling remain the toughest for me. A little while back I just sat down, marked and cut about 8 tenons for a specific mortise. I have to admit, the last one was considerably better then the first, but still, it is incredibly tough to saw to a line, particularly something like a dovetail line. And people rarely address chisel technique. I know it looks and sounds simple, but I think a lot is left out; in reality, chopping a good chunk of wood out takes some practice and technique. Every once in a while I come across some times which help. For example, a recent one using your thumbnail to start the saw helped greatly. I seem to be own my own for the most part for the chisels. Today I chopped out a couple of large dovetails (on top of table legs for upper drawer divider) Second one went far faster then the first, but still, I must be missing something.
Anyway, Mr. Gormans site has been very handy in these types of handskills. Next, I want to build a shooting board (mostly for picture frame miters, but maybe for small box miters as well), but not too sure that Mr. Gormans might be overkill :)
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