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Forum topic by Carpintero posted 02-03-2013 04:42 PM 824 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 2398 days

02-03-2013 04:42 PM

I’m building a chair (using hand tools only, of course) that has square lower spreaders with round tenons. Being inexperienced at all this, I hadn’t thought ahead to how I would make these pieces. On the previous chair (my first) the spreaders themselves were round, so it was easy enough to whittle them down to tenon size. This type seemed harder, and the only thing I could think of to do was

1) cut a shallow shoulder with a saw at the point where square ends and round begins
2) chisel from tip to shoulder, going round and round
3) rasp/file it smooth

To my great surprise, this resulted in the most perfect round tenons I could have hoped for. They are the prettiest thing I’ve ever done with wood, and they are going to be hidden inside the legs.

So that’s how I did it. I suspect there are better ways, or other ways. How would YOU have done this? Or did I haphazardly stumble on the best way? (not likely, considering my history)

4 replies so far

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3592 days

#1 posted 02-03-2013 05:48 PM


-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2309 days

#2 posted 02-03-2013 06:09 PM

I agree with Francisco, we need more details to provide accurate advice.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2892 days

#3 posted 02-03-2013 06:43 PM

There are many diverse ways to to many things in woodworking and you have found but one of them. Now research tennon tools or hollow auger. Another way would be to turn the tennons on a lathe.Hope this sparkes your interest in doing some further research.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Carpintero's profile


16 posts in 2398 days

#4 posted 02-04-2013 04:23 AM

Ah yes pictures, lol…I should have known that was coming. Well if I showed you the first chair
I would then have to kill you, and you might be glad I did. It looks like a 6 year old built it. I am on dialup and loading pictures is a pain-that’s my other excuse. I will post pics of the second one when I’m finished, probably, because I think it will come out a bit better.

But this is what my first one is modeled after:

As you can see that one has round spreaders at the bottom. The one I’m working on now
has round through-tenons on the lower spreaders just like that, but the spreaders are square or rectangular. But I have 3 of 4 made now, and they came out great so I’m happy with my system. I was just curious how others would do it. I’m not looking for a fine, modern finished look because the stuff I’m trying to semi-replicate is 100-200 years old and some is on the rough side.

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