The diagnonal tenons can be shaped on the table saw almost identically to the way a 90 degree tenon would be made. I cut the inside cheek cut very carefully and then quickly nibble out to the tenon’s tip.
Because the shoulder will hide where the tenon actually enters the mortise, i can cut the tenons to width with the bandsaw. The tenons can slightly narrower than the mortises as they will match up to end grain which gives little glue strength, and they are covered in any case. after cutting, I trimmed the entire shoulder with a chisel to get a nice line that does show.
One joint at a time I tried each tenon into it’s mortise. They had a way to go, so it was time to break out the shoulder plane.
An old trick to fit dovetails (and dental work), is to color one surface with something that will rub off onto it’s mating piece when fit together. A pencil blackens the mortise here and the joint is pushed together as tightly as it will go.
Pulling the joint apart shows the black transferred to the high spots on the tenon. These tight areas are holding the joint apart and need to be shaved down.
A few light cuts with the shoulder plane readies the joint for another trial fitting. I repeated it until the joint seated all the way.
The joint is not perfect yet but very close which is good enough until the next step.
After each joint is fitted and compared to the plan it is time to assemble all the joints for a first fitting together with it’s neighboring pieces. The geometry of the assembly requires all of the joints be assembled at the same time with not a lot of clearance.
Some of the junctions actually fit worse than they did when the joints were fitted alone. A final tuning of all the joints will be the topic of the next blog entry.