Tenoning Jig For My TS

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Blog entry by scamp238 posted 09-20-2012 05:57 PM 2104 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have decided to make a tenoning jig for my table saw. I had a coworker give me an old plywood entertainment center to use however I wanted to. I try to ask friends to give me their throwaway wood so that I can repurpose it. I have used this entertainment center for many small projects.

I had a couple of larger pieces left, so I decided to make a simple tenoning jig out of what I had. I started out by finding some rough dimensions on the web. I found this plan:

I started out by cutting the plywood to size. I then had to measure my fence (because this jig will ride on the fence). I got the measurements and started to cut dadoes.

The plan calls for a set of dadoes cut at 90 degrees to the first set, so I cut those as well.

I used my Avenger 6” dado set that I purchased a couple of months ago. It cut well enough for what I needed to do. I am actually surprised that such a low cost set cut that good. I used my zero clearance inserts that I made here:

I thought that the process went pretty good. Anyway, I put the pieces together for a dry fit.

I now need to cut the handle and make sure it fits before I glue and screw everything together. I will then cut the support for the stock and work on some kind of clamp to hold the stock in place. I hope to post updates as I make progress.

If anyone has patterns for shop made hold downs, I would appreciate if you would share with me. I would like to use things I have to build this to keep costs down and to recycle more wood into something useful.

By the way, here is a pic of part of my small shop in my basement. I have a few other tools in the next room like a bandsaw, drill press and a planer. There isn’t enough room to have them all in the same area.

Thanks for looking.

-- Brian, North Georgia

5 comments so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2297 days

#1 posted 09-20-2012 07:03 PM


Very safe and sturdy looking jig, a verticle stop attached to the face will, as you plan to do, help your clamps maintain your work piece perpendicular to the TS.

Pictures and instructions, nicely executed blog.

A ‘wink’ and a ‘nod’ from Mother Nature for repurposing the plywood. ;-)

Thanks for sharing. – Grandpa Len

-- 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 scamp238's profile


106 posts in 2525 days

#2 posted 09-20-2012 09:18 PM

Thank you.

-- Brian, North Georgia

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3268 days

#3 posted 09-20-2012 10:59 PM

I made one of those a while ago. I will post a pic later since I will need to go out and shoot it first.
BUT, I found it a little difficult to use as I have used it several times. BTW, you have the same Delta fence I do. Which is funny but it will be easier to relate.
AND, I’m not trying to scare you but here is what I find are a couple of the drawbacks/shortcomings of the jig.

1. Setting the fence to cut the tenons accurately is one of the most difficult things with this jig. Especially if you need to make really small adjustments. It is really difficult to move the whole fence assembly say, 1/64th and have it accurate. I think this is where those $100 cast iron jigs are better, they have that adjustability built in and they use the miter grooves as reference for jig movement.
2. Because you are now referencing off the face of the jig for the tenon cuts, using the fence measurement gauge is useless in my opinion. At least with mine, if I put the jig up against the blade to get a reference ‘zero measurement’, it does not correspond to a even measurement of any kind on the measurement tape on the rail and the veneer guide on the fence. I’m still trying to figure out how I can remedy that one to make measurements easier.
3. Even though the jig is a friction fit onto the fence, and I am pressing down on the jig to ensure it is flat on the table, I have found that I still get some unwanted movement of the jig causing slight variations of the cuts. I also had to hand ‘tune’ the base of the jig so that it was perfectly flat on both runners that slide on the table. Mine had a little rock to it.
4. I found with my Delta fence it is not the same width along the whole fence so the jig has loose areas and tight areas so getting a consistent feed rate is difficult. Now this is my fence, yours may be better. Remember, mine has a friction fit to it to prevent side to side motion perpendicular to the blade/fence.
4. make sure you do a test cut or two first. I do that and I still get a slight mismatch of the parts. Maybe this one takes more practice with the setup but I still have issues.
5. Granted, this is in the setup but when cutting the other side of the tenon by flipping the piece of wood over (side to side, not end to end), it is difficult to get the tenon width and the tenon centered to the faces of the piece. Again, this is most likely in the setup but it goes back to the earlier note of really difficult minor adjustments of the fence as a whole.

A couple of recommendations.
Make sure you make a sacrificial block/fence for the rear of the jig to prevent tear out and wood support. It gets eaten up fast after multiple tenons of different measurements. I made blocks of 3/4 MDF and attached the blocks to the jig with waxed wood screws. The screws are at a height above the maximum height of the blade when fully raised.
I adhered a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on the jig where the wood pieces are clamped to the jig. It helps prevent wood movement in the jig when you clamp it to the jig.

It is a fun jig to build and I have improvements I want to make for better adjustability but that would be version 2 of the jig.
Have fun.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View scamp238's profile


106 posts in 2525 days

#4 posted 09-21-2012 11:16 AM

Thank you for the tips. I will be using a replaceable block at the bottom of the vertical stop. As far as referencing goes, I guess I will just lay out the lines and adjust the fence so that the blade aligns with my layout lines. If I have to remove a really small amount after the initial cut, I was planning on using some plastic playing cards as shims or possibly some masking tape to get a good fit.

I really appreciate you going through all that with your experience with this type of jig.

Thanks again!

-- Brian, North Georgia

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3268 days

#5 posted 09-21-2012 11:27 PM

Not a problem, Hopefully it helped. BTW, here are shots of mine. I modified some of the dimensions slightly but overall it is really similar to the original plans. I think I did make it wider and added the pieces that slide along the fence.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

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