Fixing loose cabinet door tenons

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Forum topic by Tony1212 posted 08-27-2013 06:13 AM 868 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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108 posts in 1151 days

08-27-2013 06:13 AM

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I’m making some cabinet doors on my tablesaw. I used feather boards to cut the center dado on all stiles and rails, then used my dado blades and miter fence to make the tenons on the ends of the rails. My setups never changed once I started cutting.

Still, I somehow ended up with the whole range of joints. Some were too tight, some were too loose and some were just right.

My main issue is the loose joints. Since my tenons are all 3/4” from the shoulder to the end (would that be 3/4” wide or long?), I figured I’d get some edge banding veneer to widen the tenon and sand down to fit. However, most readily available (and cheap) edge veneer comes pre-glued with some kind of heat activated glue on the back. Would using the heat activated glue on the tenon hold it tight enough once I glue it into the stile with some Titebond 3?

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

3 replies so far

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


930 posts in 1771 days

#1 posted 08-27-2013 07:11 AM

Well if your table saw was accurate enough, you could make some slivers with your table saw, the thicknesses you needed, then glue them in. However, unless some of your pieces have been sitting a while, we’d need to figure out why your joints are sloppy. What kind of table saw are you using? and ummm are your blades ballanced and not warped?

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1768 days

#2 posted 08-27-2013 12:42 PM

I like to cut tenons slightly over sized then bring them to final fit with a shoulder plane. To fix your loose tenons, slice some thin veneers on the bandsaw and glue them to your tenons and rework them.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Tony1212's profile


108 posts in 1151 days

#3 posted 08-27-2013 01:28 PM

I don’t have a planer. I’m thinking that the variances in thickness of the stock (probably less than 1/16”) probably was the main issue. A thicker piece would have both a thicker tenon and a wider center dado.

My table saw is an OLD Craftsman that I inherited from my grandfather. Made sometime in the 1950’s. I think I could cut some thin pieces on it. I have 15 cabinet doors to make, so that means 60 joints. That is a lot of fine cutting that I would have to do.

That is why I was asking about the edging veneer. It would be a lot easier just to cut off a strip and use the iron to glue it on to the tenon. Plus I could do that in my air conditioned house. But I don’t know if that glue is strong enough.

Some of my tenons are oversized, but not purposely. I have to sand those since I don’t have a shoulder plane and my wife is starting to complain about the cost already. So buying one is out of the question.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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