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Thread: what is the best way to make this cut

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    columbia, sc
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    552

    what is the best way to make this cut

    i need to make a very clean cut for the top of these bench legs -- big tenons. The wood is 4x5 oak. i'm thinking bandsaw but i'd really like them to be as clean as possible and try not to have any gaps when i cut a mortise for the top. I don't have a shoulder plane to clean tighly in the corners. I do have some nice chisels though. leg.png
    Bob C

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Manassas, VA
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    675
    On table saw - place your leg flat and start cutting.
    Ed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Falls Church, VA
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    There are so many different ways to cut those big tenons, and you will probably get a lot of different answers. My suggestion, if you want the cheeks and shoulders to be as clean as possible with little or no hand-tool clean up required ... is to use a plunge router, preferably with a spiral carbide bit. You can clamp a stop to the board that the router base will ride against to set the length of tenon, and then the plunge depth sets the thickness.

  4. #4
    As suggested above, leg flat on the tablesaw, plunge router, or a dado blade.

    I would cut the mortises first, however.

    Simon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    For large tenon shoulders on those bench legs, the tablesaw with a crosscut blade, a crosscut sled (assuming you do not have a slider), and depth stop is the way to go. Make sure that the legs are parallel all round before you do this.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Tasmania
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    Tom's idea is good. Make sure your stock is accurately thicknessed. Do the whole lot with the router. This way you are moving a light machine and the heavy leg and top are stationary on the bench. Doing it on the table saw is heavy work. Cheers

  7. #7
    You can make a simple tenon jig out of plywood. Cut the sides standing up and shoulders lying down. Glen Huey uses a jig regularly, should be able to google it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    columbia, sc
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    Plunge router sounds perfect...I hadnít even thought of that. I though about the crosscut sled and table saw but saw concerned about dealing with something so heavy and depth of cut

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    5,440
    Hi Bob

    I would not use a router for the shoulder cut. You are cutting into end grain, and it will be more difficult to control the cut with a router than with a table saw. You can remove the cheek waste with the router, but do the shoulders first with the tablesaw.

    You could even do the cheeks on the tablesaw. They do not need to be ultra smooth. They just need to fit firmly.

    These were the Jarrah legs on my bench. The shoulders were cut with a tablesaw. The cheeks were removed on a bandsaw.



    Here is another way. The example is the end of the bench (3 1/2" thick European Oak, where a tenon is made for a breadboard end ...

    Shoulders cut on a table saw ..



    Then used a wide chisel to split the waste off ...





    Then used my old Stanley #93 (perfect for a 1" deep tenon).





    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. Use a sharp marking knife and chisel to define the finished cut line. Then cut the rest away to that line using any means you like..
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  11. #11
    I like to cut shoulders on the table saw and cheeks on the bandsaw. Many ways to skin that cat though, use whichever you're most comfortable with

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    columbia, sc
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    552
    ok...so if i'm going to cut the shoulders on the table saw i assume i'd just use my normal cross cut sled. Hard for me to see how you could cut the cheeks on a tall leg on a tablesaw. Seem like cutting the cheeks on the bandsaw would be easy but since the joint will be visible as seen from the end of the bench i want to try and do this w/o any gaps showing...which will be a first attempt for a guy that typically just builds cabinets. i guess the correct way would be to cut it close and then clean it up/make it fit perfectly via a plane/shoulder plane...which i don't have. But i do have chisels...recently bought never used.
    Bob C

  13. #13
    If your bandsaw is tuned up with a good blade I donít know why you think thereíd be any gaps. If itís not then spend some time tuning it up and setting the fence to the drift angle then go to town.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cooper View Post
    ok...so if i'm going to cut the shoulders on the table saw i assume i'd just use my normal cross cut sled. Hard for me to see how you could cut the cheeks on a tall leg on a tablesaw. Seem like cutting the cheeks on the bandsaw would be easy but since the joint will be visible as seen from the end of the bench i want to try and do this w/o any gaps showing...which will be a first attempt for a guy that typically just builds cabinets. i guess the correct way would be to cut it close and then clean it up/make it fit perfectly via a plane/shoulder plane...which i don't have. But i do have chisels...recently bought never used.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Tasmania
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    1,723
    Doing it with a router is simple. The jig you make to set the length of the tenon just needs zero clearance stops on either side so that there is no break out. This is how you do random angled tenon for stair hand rails where the rail might be 10 or 12 feet long. Comes out perfect every time and you don't have to steady a heavy timber. Cheers

  15. #15
    Am I the only one who thinks expansion and contraction are bound to be a problem here.

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