Why Not???

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Nowhere have I seen anyone advise cutting tenons on a table saw by laying the stock flat and first cutting the shoulders and then nibbling away to cut the length of the tenons. Most 'experts' use a tenoning jig where the stock is perpendicular to the table.
A instructor in my son's school suggests using the former method, i.e. where the stock lays flat on the table. Why not use this method? He says it is a safer way to cut the tenons and gives just as exact result.
Thanks...
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The vertical way makes cleaner cuts and takes less time. Most blades don't cut perfectly flat, so by using the "nibbing away" method, you get little ruffles......
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Takes longer, and the tenon cheeks are not as smooth.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) writes:

Perhaps not longer for all cases, when one considers the additional setup time to cut the cheeks (i.e. setup and adjust the tenoning jig, fence etc.)
And the cheeks can be easily cleaned up with a couple passes of the handy-dandy shoulder plane, which one is probably already going to use to fit the joint.
scott
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Your instructor is correct in that laying the stock flat on the table saw is safer. I use this method or a (home made) tenoning jig. The tenoning jig method gives a smoother (and faster) cut, and for that reason it is my personal preference. You can win the argument in that laying the stock flat on the table is "better" due to improved safety.
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Phisherman wrote:

Well - yes and no. Using the "flat on the table method" you're using the miter fence. To get repeat cuts (shoulders) you need a fence long enough for the part plus a stop for repeatability - you will be doing more than one tenon and you will be making at least two of the tenoned parts typically. So you've got a 36+" miter fence - with stops. Now you need to hold the stock in place while making the cut cause friction with the table top is going to want to rotate the stock as you slide it along the table top. That means hands somewhere close to the blade. Of course you could be using the miter with the built in hold down - that'd be safer.
But then you're going to be nibbling the cheeks of the tenon and that means hand held - again close to the blade. And if the cheeks are long say 3/4", that can take a lot of passes for each face - more exposure of hand to blade.
Ah but what about using a dado blade? OK - but 1/2" wide carbide teeth are a little scarier, especially with your hand holding the part, down by the sharp spinning things.
Personally, a thin kerf blade and a tenon jig seems a lot safer - it has clamps and supports AND your hand is way above the blade and the other behind a bit of cast iron.
just my 2 cents.
charlie b
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Just a slight correction here Charlie - having made cuts this way (though it is not how I typically make tennons), the 36" fence isn't necessary, and your hands really are not any closer to the blade than the miter slot. Unless the piece is small, and does not protrude out beyond the miter guage a decent amount, you really don't have friction/rotation problems with a straight cut. It's really pretty easy to hold stock against the face of the miter and get a good smooth push.

Your hand is typically right at the miter, so it never gets close to the blade. Though... as has been mentioned, the nibbling technique does leave a rough surface, so cleanup is necessary.

Hey - whaddaya mean dado? That's what routers are for!

Aside from the difference in safety, (either technique is equally safe), the jig certainly is a preferred technique. Cleaner, faster, more better.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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charlie b wrote:

Much easier to key off the end of the tenon; use a stop on the fence, before the blade of course to prevent trapped pieces. I just clamp a short board to the fence. This has the added benefit that if your tenons are all the same length, you can use the same setup for all cuts regardless of length of the piece.

Funny you should say that; I gave up on thin-kerf blades specifically because they gave me trouble in a tenon jig. If I did a second trim pass with the blad unsuppored on one side (i.e. wood on only one side of the blade), the blade flexed badly enough to cause serious trouble with the joint. I found a full kerf blade works great in a tenon jig. Of course, it needs to be sharp.
PK
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says...

If you're nibbling it away, there are no trapped pieces :-).
--
Homo sapiens is a goal, not a description

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I do that when I've just got a few to cut. For more than 5 or 6, it's quicker to set up the temoning jig.
Of course there's always the occasional piece that's too long to do vertically.
--
Homo sapiens is a goal, not a description

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lgb wrote:

In my experience you have quite a bit less control over dimensions this way. I used to do this, and then bought a very cheap tenoning jig. The jig definitely produces more consistent and controllable results; I imagine a good jig would be terrific. It is more dangerous, though--I visualize my fingers hitting the sawblade the whole time I am doing it.
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I don't know what kind of tenoning jig you're using, but on mine (Powermatic), the operator's hands don't come close to the blade at all. If you keep your hands on the handles of the jig, the probability of coming into contact with the blade is essentially zero.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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donald girod wrote:

Another one of those areas where a RAS shines. Just flip the blade to the horizontal position and use the aux table.
--
--John
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orland wrote:

laying
to cut

stock
i.e. where

is a

There is one guy who teaches the flat-on-the-table method, Norm on New Yankee Workshop.
If you want machined tennons that are smooth, let's not forget the router table. As fast or faster than the table saw, and no tearout if you back up your cut. Easier to use a square of material to push, which automatically backs up your cut. And if you have a lift, easier to set exact depth of cut, so you can sneak up on the fit.
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Works even better with a dado blade. I have a tenon jig and it is accurate, repeatable, makes a good cut. But since buying a dado blade, I probably do have my tenons that way instead.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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the cheeks of the tennon will be rougher. it's easier to adjust the position of the fence accurately than the depth of the blade.
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orland wrote:

I'm no expert, but I do this all the time. Usually, I install a dado set to reduce the nibble count.
If I'm only doing one or two, I'll do it with the blade that's in the saw, and give the cheeks a quickie cleanup with a hand plane. Other times, I'll cut the shoulders as you describe and trim the cheeks on a bandsaw or with a hand saw.
In wooddorking, there's usually six hundred different ways to do something, and almost any of them can be right, at any given time, given the current alignment of the planets, polarity if energy emissions from the wood, and signs of the zodiac.
Barry
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cut
stock
where
Hmmm. Wonder what he thinks are the saftey risks of using a stout cast iron tenon jig such as a Powermatic? Joey
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orland says...

That method works, but it leaves ridges, effectively making the tenon bigger than you intended, causing more work to get it to the correct size. Removing the ridges and keeping a flat surface isn't as easy as it looks. I have resorted to passing the them over a straight bit in the router to shave off the ridges. It is also difficult to get the blade height on a table saw exact. Even if you make a test cut and measure the depth with a good caliper, the ridge rears its ugly head again and you will be measuring to the top of the ridge and not the the bottom of the cut. I've also done them with a router and with a tenon jig on the table saw. So far, I got the best results with a tenon jig. It is more tedious to set up, but once it's done, it's done. I just finished setting up a new band saw with the help of Duginske, and I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of tenons with it.
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More common in the UK. I don't think I've ever seen one of those USA vertical tenoning jigs here.
How do commercial US workshops cut tenons ? Do they uses sleds and saws, shapers, or dedicated tenoning machines as we do ? Not cheap, and they're a dedicated machine that only does that one task, but they're surprisingly popular.
--
Smert' spamionam

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