Tenons on a router table

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Forum topic by Tarheel posted 10-02-2008 05:38 PM 13505 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 3705 days

10-02-2008 05:38 PM

I am doing my first project with mortise and tenons. I have been trying different methods of making my tenons with what I currently own (no tenoning jig, no dado blades). I have read up on many different methods and I have tried a few with decent success. One thing I haven’t read about too much is cutting the tenons on a router table. My tenons are 1/2 inch; I figured I could use a 1/2inch bit set at the correct height and make the tenons and then cut the ends off with my band saw. I figure something must be wrong with this approach, since it is not widely discussed. Or perhaps the other methods make more sense.

Is this method ok or will I run into some problems if I continue down this path?


7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3824 days

#1 posted 10-02-2008 07:52 PM

It works well in fact. Gary Rogowski covers this a lot in his
book Router Joinery.

Normally if I were doing tenons on the router table I would
cut the shoulder with a tablesaw or hand saw, waste off
most of the cheeks on the bandsaw, and then use the
router table with a fence to get the thickness of the
tenons uniform and correct the shoulders if necessary.

A combination of paper shims and hand pressure allows
you to control the cut depth precisely.

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3886 days

#2 posted 10-03-2008 01:56 AM

Loren, Do you set the bit high and use shims under the work?????

(Practically neighbors if you are still in Amherst, your profile wasn’t clear)

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View bbqking's profile


328 posts in 3899 days

#3 posted 10-03-2008 02:41 AM

You can purchase a tenoning jig from Grizzly for 60 bucks that works great. I should know because I have 2 of them. One I keep set for 1/4” tenons on 3/4” stock for rails and the other for 1/2” tenons on 1” stock for stretchers. That’s just me, though. I could get by with one if I had the patience to take the 2 minutes to make the adjustment. I should do a review on this product. Excuse me while I fire up my saw….

-- bbqKing, Lawrenceville

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3920 days

#4 posted 10-03-2008 02:53 AM

Do you own a jointer?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3824 days

#5 posted 10-03-2008 07:21 AM

When I have cut tenon shoulders on a router table I have usually
done it by putting a 1/2” bit in the router and setting it to “plane”
off the shoulders.

By flipping the work this produces a perfectly centered tenon. Mark
out the tenon on your stock and set the router bit at the line
or a little less. Then put a piece of paper folded in half under the
piece and rout the cheeks and see what you have. If it’s too thick
(it should be) try it with one thickness of paper… and so on. After
you take the paper away then you can get a little more removal
by pushing down harder on the piece.

Your stock will vary in thickness so that is why the paper comes
in handy. When you do it this way you stand a good chance of
getting your tenons of uniform thickness, even if the stock
varies by 1/64th or more.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3824 days

#6 posted 10-03-2008 07:26 AM

And yeah, I am in Amherst – just moved here. Look me up sometime.

View bbqking's profile


328 posts in 3899 days

#7 posted 10-04-2008 02:34 AM

BeechPilotBarry- Sorry I offended you by mentioning the tool which will remain unnamed. bbqKing.

-- bbqKing, Lawrenceville

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