Cleaner tenons with a tenon jig

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Blog entry by clhnsn posted 07-06-2014 07:49 AM 1435 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As a new owner of a table saw I have spent the last weeks making jigs and learning what these machines (or at least mine) are capable of. Among that repertoire is tenons. Specifically the jig that runs the board on end to cut the tenon. The jig was easy to make and the operation is straight forward. Adjust the jig to set the width, set the blade height, and cut a tenon. Unfortunately as sure as my blade turns, there will be tear out. This type of jig is especially prone to tear out because of the vulnerable position of the work piece.

I made one tenon – tear out; two tenons – tear out; three tenons… Ok I can hide two blemishes but not three. Something has to be done to fix this. So here is what I did.

using a straight edge, pencil, and razor I marked the depth that the saw blade would cut the tenon. I then scored that line with the razor.

Next I turned to the vulnerable corner (the last corner to run through the saw on the jig) and cut the last bit of grain along the line I had marked.

IT WORKED!!! When I ran it through it left a clean edge with no tear out on the back side. I’m sure I’m not the first to do this but I thought I would share anyway.

5 comments so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2241 days

#1 posted 07-06-2014 02:03 PM

” I’m sure I’m not the first to do this but I thought I would share anyway.”

Although you are correct in your assumption, your ‘AH-HA’ moment is one worth sharing with our fellow LJs, the newbies and those who have experienced tear out and have yet to find the cure.

Your ‘Pay it Forward’ attitude is a quality that makes the LumberJocks Site such a great place to turn to for answers.
Welcome to LumberJocks and thanks for sharing your Tips.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2593 days

#2 posted 07-06-2014 02:45 PM

Lots of people know this trick. Lots didn’t. YOU took the time, to share it. Thanks!

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2659 days

#3 posted 07-06-2014 02:53 PM

I knew this trick but I forgot it! Thanks for the reminder.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3303 days

#4 posted 07-06-2014 04:28 PM

That works great, but I usually just cut the shoulders with the table saw before mounting the workpiece on to my tenon jig. Same result, or did I miss something? I do score other cuts with a knife to prevent tear-out though and it is a good method.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View clhnsn's profile


5 posts in 1391 days

#5 posted 07-06-2014 07:46 PM

Stefang you are correct and anything were the shoulder will be wider than the 1/8” or the width of the blade that would be a better method. But with a very narrow shoulder that is very close to the width of the blade this method is much faster.

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