Tapered Tenon Cutter

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Project by galooticus posted 08-20-2016 09:49 PM 990 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First, all credit for this design goes to mafe:

I tried making up a design on my own based on my earlier dowel cutter, but I wasn’t happy with it. A search turn up mafe’s design, which is excellent. This is an attempt to save money by making my own tenon cutter that matches the reamer I bought for making staked joints as described in the Anarchist’s Design Book by Chris Schwarz. I’m making the saw benches now (cutting a leg tenon in the first picture), and this little cutter is working well. The clamp holding the blade makes a nice handle. I clamp the leg vertically to my bench (no vises here) and spin the cutter on the end of the leg.

After a quick protype, I laminated a block from some ash scraps then bored and reamed a hole. I drew a vertical line from one edge to the block to the hole on each side. With a bevel gauge, I then drew a line that angles about 20* intersecting the vertical line and the edge of each hole. Then, saw to the line. I took the resulting wedge and glued it to the opposite edge of the block, making a second parallel face for clamping a blade.

I used the blade from my stanley #5, 2” wide. For my particular block, a wider blade would allow longer tenons to be cut. I’m finding 2” is fine—if I want bigger/longer, it’s easy to use a chisel with the back flat on the tenon to pare further all the way around.

This time I used two coats of orange shellac. Still too yellow for ash. I like working with shellac though, so maybe I’ll order some platina and some dyes for color. The reamed hole is unfinished, though I put some paste wax in for lubrication.

-- Andy in CA

3 comments so far

View JPJ's profile


819 posts in 2641 days

#1 posted 08-21-2016 12:53 AM

Nice job!

View kohalabeeman's profile


24 posts in 1537 days

#2 posted 08-21-2016 03:34 AM

Aloha Andy,
This looks so much as a welsh rounder plane , used for round tenons for chair parts . Good and straight forward lay out . Looks as though its red oak , it may tend to ware down so with long use . But good for median usage . What part of the forest you working ? Local (home depot or local sawmill)?

View galooticus's profile


50 posts in 923 days

#3 posted 08-23-2016 01:45 PM

Thanks! Hi kohalabeeman, I made this tenon cutter from ash bought from a lumber yard. The leg tenon I’m cutting in the first picture is from a 4×10 beam I found in my yard, a gift from the previous owners. No idea what it is, it’s red in color and very soft… Redwood?

-- Andy in CA

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