Quick set tenon jig

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Project by Junado posted 03-05-2014 09:21 PM 3394 views 26 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I’m about to dive into a coffee table project for my brother. He just bought his first house and could use a home warming gift. The thing is, I’ve made mortise the normal way (miter gauge and dado stack), but I was dying for more accuracy and repeatability. My (small) table saw is finnicky with heigh adjustment, there is a bit of backlash in the adjustment screw and it made it hard to get accurate tenons. Plus, with stock of various width, I kept having to readjust my blade.

No more ! I bought these quick set tenon jig plans from Matthias Wandel (I have bought and built the 16” bandsaw as well, but this project is for another day) at and let me say this thing is fabulous. I’m a mechanical engineer by trade and I like accuracy and being able to work with machines that give accurate readouts. This jig does one thing, but it does it well and quickly.

Basically, you use the dial indicator as a measure of the displacement of the jig/piece of wood, which allows accuracy to the thousandths of an inch for the width of the shoulders and the width of the tenon. You use the lever upfront to move the carriage that holds the piece of wood and setup stops for each cut. I’ve used the jig to make a few test cuts so far and usually end up within 0.001-0.003” of the target value, so I am very pleased. It has a movement range of about 2 1/2”, so it should be plenty for any regular sized stock.

I’ve painted the plywood parts and the rest of the jig is made with scraps of cherry, finished with water based polyurethane and wax on the moving parts.

-- Julien

23 comments so far

View Northwest29's profile


1038 posts in 1336 days

#1 posted 03-05-2014 09:48 PM

Now that is one fine device you’ve created. Looks like one might need an engineering degree to use it. (-:

I think I need to put that on my shop jigs to build list. Thanks for sharing.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View luv2learn's profile


1988 posts in 1149 days

#2 posted 03-05-2014 09:56 PM

Julien, that is a mighty fine build. I too have built Matthias bandsaw and several other of his inventions. I have had my eye on this build for some time now. You have given me a nudge now to do it. Thanks for sharing!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View cyclops4069's profile


62 posts in 423 days

#3 posted 03-05-2014 11:00 PM

nice build!!

-- regards, cyclops4069

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1015 posts in 2653 days

#4 posted 03-05-2014 11:09 PM

Nice work. Matthias is a gift to this forum! He has a fantastic gear design software program that I use for my clock making and it has saved me countless hours of calculations. I’m sure you’ll get lots of great usage from that jig. Incidentally, I plan on purchasing those plans soon and build one of these myself. I’m all but done using my 1000 pound delta tenon jig!!!!!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View a1Jim's profile


113161 posts in 2423 days

#5 posted 03-06-2014 01:09 AM

Very cool ,great job.

-- Custom furniture

View iminmyshop's profile


179 posts in 840 days

#6 posted 03-06-2014 01:30 AM

That looks like a terrific idea to put on the list of need to make jigs. Thanks for posting and thanks for the link to Woodgears.

View HuckD's profile


206 posts in 560 days

#7 posted 03-06-2014 01:34 AM

Nicely done! That’ll serve you well for years to come.

-- Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once.

View OldWolfsWoodShop's profile


166 posts in 794 days

#8 posted 03-06-2014 01:56 AM

Very nice, I have purchased the same plan, as my next project. Good job

-- Making Sawdust is great stress relief...

View Jeff82780's profile


190 posts in 1840 days

#9 posted 03-06-2014 03:18 AM

Great job! I also just purchased the project. hopefully mine will be good as your. did you have a hard time getting the steel rod into the bushing?

View Junado's profile


37 posts in 775 days

#10 posted 03-06-2014 03:41 AM

I encourage anyone who has the plan to go ahead and build it. It takes a minimum amount of material and can be done in about 3 days (I milled all my stock to size on a sunday morning, then did everything else over the following weekend).

@Jeff82780 I strongly suggest self aligning bushings. The ones I got were marketed as “vibration damping”, but they’re basically regular bushings held in a rubber sleeve. Even then, aligning everything was a bit fiddly; the play in the bushings really helped.

-- Julien

View Rick M.'s profile (online now)

Rick M.

4965 posts in 1226 days

#11 posted 03-06-2014 03:57 AM

Nice work. I’ve been debating buying the plans, you may have sold me.


View jmartel's profile


3663 posts in 996 days

#12 posted 03-06-2014 05:15 AM

I built the same one that I just finished up yesterday, actually.

View MakingCurls's profile


41 posts in 425 days

#13 posted 03-06-2014 01:57 PM

seems very intricate, but if you are getting the results you want then that’s definitely a winner :)

-- Out in the shed making curls

View kjwoodworking's profile


256 posts in 2733 days

#14 posted 03-06-2014 02:11 PM

Wow! You did great with some precise woodworking.

I appreciate what you built and also introducing me to Matthias Wandel’s site.

-- Kirk H. --

View ADHDan's profile


728 posts in 955 days

#15 posted 03-06-2014 03:11 PM

I have no idea what the hell is going on here, but that’s a pretty rad rocketship or whatever.

(Your tenoning jig has way more moving parts than mine; I bet it actually works great.)

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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