A better way to cut wide tenons



I had trouble cutting the tenons on the paneled frame for the Chiffonier. Then I realized I needed to treat those tenons like bread-board ends…

The cut is far to wide to cut straight and square with a saw. These rails are about 12″ wide at this point in the project. I was researching this issue on line, when I came across a thread on some woodworking forum. Then it hit me…duh.

The best way to keep the cuts straight and square is to treat them like bread-board ends. Basically, remove the waste down to the cut line to get your tenon thickness. Hence, replacing the tenon saw part of the operation with a plane.

I don’t have a rebate plane…not yet anyways. Therefore, I had to start my cuts with my plow plane on my scribe line.

Here you can see the result of the first few passes.



I continued until I reached the desired depth.



Then I removed the rest of the waste with a block plane.



I checked for square and adjusted where needed. Then I showed the newly formed tenon to the stile and marked out the waste areas. It was business as usual after that…removing the waste in between tenons, and shaving them until I was happy with the fit.

This will be my plan of attack for future wide rails…hopefully next time will just be with a rebate plane.



Something’s gotta give

I was chopping some mortises tonight…

The new edge I put on my recently repaired English mortise chisel held up great. However, something else gave way.

Check it out….




– JR

Chiffonier – fitting the panel

…starting to look like something now…

The first thing I did was trim the panel to it’s final size. After that, I had to decide how I would go about raising the panel.

After some research, I decided to follow the technique demonstrated at ‘in the woodshop‘. **aside [This guy is awesome.]** Basically, you cut a tongue around the panel to fit in the grooves…no problem. Then raise the panel by creating a bevel from the tongue to your reference line.

I started on the end grain cutting the tongue. I first set my marking gauge to the groove width, then scribed a line all around the panel to mark out the tongue. I also set a second gauge to mark out the face for the tongue and the bevel. As you can see there was some tear-out here. I had to make sure and re-establish my knife line with the gauge periodically. The resulting tear-out is negligible, as it will be cleaned up when I cut the bevel and do a final cleanup with the smoothing plane.


Then I continued to use my plow plane to cut the tongue on the long grain. As you can see there was a small amount of wood left that I had to break off and clean up with the chisel.


Once I made it to the right depth, I flipped the panel over and began the process over again. I made small adjustments to the depth stop on the plow plane until I had a perfect fit.


Then it was onto a test fit…


…not to shabby.

Next up…I’ll try and raise that panel.

– JR

Chiffonier mortise and tenons

The bones are coming together…

I spent some more time grooving the rails and the other stiles.


Next, I set my marking gauge to the width of the groove, and marked out for the tenons on the rails.┬áCutting the tenon on the smaller rail was fairly easy…just a little bit of cleanup to get a good fit.


The larger rails were a different story. They are a little more complicated. This rail consists of two tenons with a stub tenon in between, and a haunch at each end. Getting all this to line up and fit took more cleanup than I had wanted. The hardest part was cutting the shoulders of this larger rail. At this point in the project, the rails are 12″ wide. Cutting a straight and square 12″ shoulder is quite difficult. A couple of times, the saw jumped out of my cut line and scarred the face…but a little clean up later will fix that. In addition, I don’t have a shoulder plane to correct an off-square cut…so it took me a while with the chisel.


In the end though, I had good fitting tenons.


Next up is the panel for this frame…

– JR

A break for chisel repair

While chopping mortises for my latest project the unthinkable happened. My English mortise chisel, that is specifically designed for this type of abuse, fractured at the tip.



At first I was experiencing many different emotions. Then, I did some searching on the net. Apparently this is fairly common when the chisel is new and hasn’t been through a full sharpening session. Ok, so I will give it a shot before I decide to return it. Here you can see my repair. I had to square up the tip first, rework the primary bevel at 20*, and create the new secondary bevel at 35*. Why is there no degrees symbol in WordPress? Sigh. I have six more mortises to cut after I finish the panel I am working on. Hopefully the resharpen will hold up.


A couple days after I fractured the tip on the mortise chisel, I damaged one of my bench chisels. Poop.

I have socket chisels that should always be picked up by the socket. Never by the handle. Well, I forgot. Down to the concrete floor went my 1″ chisel. I instinctively put out my boot to soften the fall. Luckily I wasn’t wearing my slippers that night. Yes I do woodwork in slippers sometimes.

The chisel did hit my boot, but it wasn’t enough to soften the blow. After I fetched it from underneath my car I held it up to the light and surveyed the damage.



The corner took the brunt of the blow. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it was bad enough to require some serious regrinding. I quickly put it back into working order.

Now it’s back to work…

– JR

A little grooving

My new plow plane arrived…after a quick cleanup, I put it right to work.

I clamped all four rails together to mark out the mortises before plowing the grooves for the panel. I wanted to plow the grooves first to help guide the chisel later when I chop the mortises.



I set the plow against the reference and put it to work. You can see from the mound of shavings just how much work it was. A couple of times I had to put the plane down to cool off, as it was too hot to touch.



…next up chopping

– JR