Short of buying a $3 zillion CNC milling machine, is there a jig or some
other mechanized way to round the sides of a tenon to make it a good fit
in a routed mortice or am I hooked into squaring off the mortise?
I have both a horizontal and a vertical router table available as well as
"the usual suspects" in a decently equipped shop.
Why worry about it? You're not "hooked" into anything. Use a hand saw
and a utility knife, chisel or shoulder plane to knock the corners off
of your tenons. It doesn't have to be a perfect fit. You'll never see
it, and neither will your customers. Tom
If I trim too much off the rounded parts, won't the joint be weak?
For a stopped tenon, obviously, appearance doesn't matter, but for a
through tenon, appearance would be half the battle. In either case, I want
the joint to be strong enough to outlast me.
I am enough older than my wife that I am planning cabinets that will, by
design, outlast me by a wide margin.
Not really - since the ends of the tenons would be gluing to end grain
(inside the mortise), which is very weak in comparison. The long-grain
to long-grain glue surfaces on the longer cheeks of the tenon are where
they get almost all their strength. Of course, for through tenons, it
would have to be much tighter - I've avoided those so far. If I made
them, I'd probably square off the mortises instead, as I think that
would look better for most furniture styles (or stiles...). I'd also
think about tapering the mortise very slightly, so the outer (visible)
side presses tighter against the tenon.
Oh, and for rounding off tenons, I usually use a fine hand saw to cut
into the tenon corners flush with the shoulder, and then a chisel to
split off the corners. Then pare down the remaining corners a little
more until they fit.
Ahhh, a through tenon is a different animal. Never mind! The through
tenons I've made I took my time on (actually, I'm slow at just about
everything), using a morticing machine and then a block plane to bevel
and fit the showy portion of the tenon. Tom
With through tenons, I'll usually square up the routed mortise by
hand. I've never liked the look of rounded-end through tenons, as
much as I use them when they're hidden.
At one time or another, I've used most of the methods previously
mentioned, rasps, chisels, even sanding blocks to knock the corners
off the tenons. I care about the fit on the sides and ends of the
tenon, and don't spend many seconds on the radius.
Simple solution. Route mortices in both parts and make loose tennons.
Rounded tennons for, say a 1/2" mortice, are made by cutting tennon stock
to 1/2" thick to whatever width needed then rounding over the edges with a
1/4" roundover bit. --dave
Try FWW #172. Jeff Miller has a method that is so foolproof, you can use it
for through tenons.
Here's a link to online, but you need an online subscription to view the
whole thing (or the paper copy)
On Sat, 11 Nov 2006 07:11:44 +0000, Bill wrote:
Just posting to thank the group for giving me fresh perspective. Sometimes
I get so focused on a problem that I kick the solution to the side so I
Here I was trying to figure out how I was going to get a router to
(safely) round off the corners and the answer is to turn the router off
and take a few swipes with just about any other tool ... rasps, sanders,
The matter of rounded v squared tenon would seem to be an aesthetic
judgement call. If I make the tenon a wedged tenon a little slop in the
rounding process might actually work to my favor. Indeed, if I were to
slit the tenon and drill an undersized hole, the wedging could be
done with a dowel.
There seems to be some design potential here.
Thanks, guys. I think I'll go downstairs and play for a while.
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