Planing Tenons - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Planing Tenons

I'm making a dinner table for some friends and I really want to do this one right. They want breadboards approx 8" wide on the table ends. I used dowels for similar breadboards on my first table at home but I'd like to get familiar with M&T joints for this one in case I start building these more often.

First question-using 8/4 stock and 3 boards each 12" wide for the tabletop, and with an 8" wide breadboard, I'm thinking 3 1" thick, 6" wide, and 4" long for my joints, does this sound about right?

Second, obviously using boards this big is going to prohibit some techniques for making a tenon. Can I just cut out the shoulders for each one with a band saw and then plane down the tenon to the desired thickness? Better to use a hand saw? I'm thinking I'm going to use a mortising machine for my mortises.

I've tried to attach my sketch of the top view for reference. Thanks!
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post #2 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 10:31 AM
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I'd use a hand saw and chisel.

... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:
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post #3 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 11:03 AM
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are the three 12" boards being joined together?


if so, does the customer realize that expansion and contraction will happen on the width of the table top, leaving the breadboard short or proud of the table edge? the less acclimated the table top boards are, the worse the alignment.


not a breadboard fan........
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post #4 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 11:06 AM
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Breadboards are fine, just hard to do right. I don't think mortise and tenon are the right way.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #5 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 12:21 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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A bandsaw!

You can make all the necessary cuts for tenons on the bandsaw... I've done it that way myself. I used it on every tenon on this Mission Quilt rack:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/membe...on-quilt-rack/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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TimPa, I've discussed that with them and they're ok with a little expansion/contraction. FWIW, I did my home table this way using poplar boards and 1/2" dowel joinery for the breadboards and a year later it's still going strong here in Denver. I compensated some for potential movement in the way I joined the boards and drilled my dowel holes. There hasn't been any noticeable expansion/shrinkage anywhere on the piece. I've advised them they may see some shrinkage/expansion of about 1/4" on each side at the most but they don't care and besides the table will be in a humidity controlled environment so they're not worried.

TerryQ, how would you recommend joining it? Everything I've read seems to treat M&T as gospel and I want to make sure I don't cut corners, these folks are my friends.
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post #7 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Woodnthings, are there band saws out there that would have the necessary clearance for a 12" wide board set on its side? I can't seem to find any. In the alternative I have a jigsaw, if I could find a blade long enough and got it set up right, think that'd do the trick?
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post #8 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 03:09 PM
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Do you have a router?

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #9 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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I sure do. Thought about using that but wasn't sure how to properly keep it flush to make sure the cuts are uniform. Suggestions welcome
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post #10 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 05:28 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Yes, but no...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tebluth View Post
Woodnthings, are there band saws out there that would have the necessary clearance for a 12" wide board set on its side? I can't seem to find any. In the alternative I have a jigsaw, if I could find a blade long enough and got it set up right, think that'd do the trick?
There are some very large capacity bandsaws, but they wouldn't not be your 1st choice in this case. Sorry, didn't realize your large size boards until after rereading the replies. A router is your best bet at this point. A jig saw will get your shoulders to the right size, or a hand saw will also as suggested. You may be able to cut the tenons using a Japanese pull saw on the 12" wide boards into the end grain ... I donno? but you could certainly come close and remove the waste using a router with a planing or dado bit.

I have used a RAS with the blade parallel with the table to make cuts like tenons on other projects. That would probably be the easiest and fastest IF you own one.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #11 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 07:26 PM
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Tebluth, I typically would do it with a spline, but you can certainly do mortise and tenon. The mortises are going to have to be a little wider then the tenons to allow for wood movement. The middle mortise will be a little easier, since you only have to accommodate the wood movement of the 6 inch tenon. The mortises in the outer boards will have to be even wider, to accommodate the movement of the relatively wide 6 inch tenon, as well as the movement of wood from the center of the table to the outside edge of the tenon.
You can glue the middle couple inches of the middle mortise and tenon, but the outer mortise and tenons will have to be held on with pegs and slots cut width wise in the tenon to allow the wood to move


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post #12 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tebluth View Post
I sure do. Thought about using that but wasn't sure how to properly keep it flush to make sure the cuts are uniform. Suggestions welcome
Use a router table so you can set up stops to get the tenon lengths.

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post #13 of 22 Old 09-26-2017, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the replies! I actually found a stupid-simple DIY jig that I can use with my router to cut down my tenons and I think a jigsaw will do for cutting the shoulders so long as I go slow with it. Terry, I had planned on making my mortises slightly wider and securing the joint with a dowel, but how much wider do you think the mortises should be? I was thinking maybe 1/8" on each side for the middle mortise and 1/4" on each side for the outer mortises. Too much? Too little?
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post #14 of 22 Old 09-28-2017, 12:06 PM
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You can have as much sideway clearance as you want, 1/4" would be more than adequate, it is the face surfaces that are supporting the end so it must be a good fit, just elongate the outer holes for any fastener as well.

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post #15 of 22 Old 09-28-2017, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tebluth View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies! I actually found a stupid-simple DIY jig that I can use with my router to cut down my tenons and I think a jigsaw will do for cutting the shoulders so long as I go slow with it. Terry, I had planned on making my mortises slightly wider and securing the joint with a dowel, but how much wider do you think the mortises should be? I was thinking maybe 1/8" on each side for the middle mortise and 1/4" on each side for the outer mortises. Too much? Too little?

If your wood is dry, acclimated to your workroom, and workroom will be similar to humidity to the tables final home, then I would think you could get by with less.


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post #16 of 22 Old 10-05-2017, 12:21 AM
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If you've used dowels in the past I see no reason to decide to make this overly complicated with tenons although you certainly can.
The thing with dowels is if you have a decent dowel jig it becomes zip zap zowey quick, easy and sturdy. Like Tim I'm not a big fan of breadboards either, but to each their own.
Tenons are far easier to screw up while dowels are a piece of cake. My last project was with 2" 1/2" dowel an inch on both ends. It ain't falling apart any time soon. 48 overall dowels and they all lined up right the first time..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #17 of 22 Old 10-05-2017, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
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If you've used dowels in the past I see no reason to decide to make this overly complicated with tenons although you certainly can.
The thing with dowels is if you have a decent dowel jig it becomes zip zap zowey quick, easy and sturdy. Like Tim I'm not a big fan of breadboards either, but to each their own.
Tenons are far easier to screw up while dowels are a piece of cake. My last project was with 2" 1/2" dowel an inch on both ends. It ain't falling apart any time soon. 48 overall dowels and they all lined up right the first time..
I agree that big broom handled sized dowels would be easier but for breadboards I prefer the Tenon because of the wood movement we all talk about. A wide tenon fitted into a mortise that is actually 1/8Ē sloppy widthwise but snug tight up and down. Pin with 3 dowels or square pegs through the Tenon holes that's been elongated slightly side to side to allow for movement but still tight end to end.
When you move a big heavy table built on a heavy base, we all grab it by the ends. The breadboard ends in this case. So these ends have to be made stout but still allow for wood movement without the use of glue. Thatís the trick and another reason many donít like breadboard table tops.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #18 of 22 Old 10-05-2017, 11:58 AM
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If you'd like to see how a master of design did this very thing, look up Greene & Greene's design of the table for the Gamble house. The design compensates for the movement and keeps the movment form looking like a mistake. Can be found online. If any of you get to CA go to Pasadena and tour the house. Great woodworking though out.
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post #19 of 22 Old 10-05-2017, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Schweitzer View Post
If any of you get to CA go to Pasadena and tour the house. Great woodworking though out.
While in California you can also tour the Winchester House for an example of crazy woodworking. Crazy as in nuts.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #20 of 22 Old 10-06-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm... maybe I should just go with dowels. If the dowel in the middle is snug tight and the holes are snug in the breadboard side, maybe if I widen the end holes in the table ends about an eighth of an inch that should compensate for any movement and still be sturdy, yes?
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