Stepped Shoulders On Tenons

M I'm having trouble cutting four-shouldered tenons usinga dado blade on my table saw. The face cuts are OK, but when 1 place the workpiece on edge and make the 3rd and Jfth shoulder cuts, the shoulders come out uneven. What gives?

Bert Allaire Zeela nd, M ich iga n I experienced the same problem when making the legs for the Patio Table in this issue.

the i'roblem. A "Stepped" shoulder is created when the four shoulders of a tenon don't align. This can be caused by several situations: the way you're using the table saw, the condition of the workpiece. and the way the table saw is set up.

technique. There are two things to remember when you cut tenons on the table saw. Keep the workpiece butted against the rip fence as you make a cut. And make sure sawdust doesn't build up along the fence between cuts.

the workpiec e. The work-piece may also be part of the problem. If the ends aren't square, it won't butt flush to the fence. So each cut you make will be a different distance from the end. This causes stepped shoulders.

set up. If your technique and workpiece check out, but you're still getting stepped shoulders, your rip fence is most likely the problem (as it was in my case).

The face of the fence is probably leaning toivard the blade — it's not 90' to the table. (It's shown exaggerated in Fig.l.) But you won't notice this problem until you cut a tenon with four shoulders. Here's why.

When you cut the (wide) shoulders on the faces of the piece, the piece contacts the fence near the bottom, see Fig. 1.

But when you flip the piece on edge to cut the (narrow) shoulders, it contacts the fence higher up. This pushes the piece away from the saw blade creating a stepped shoulder, see Fig. 2.

soutions. We temporarily solved the problem by clamping a block to the fence, see Fig. 3. This method doesn't completely eliminate the problem, but it does minimize it.

For a more permanent solution. you may be able to correct the problem by adjusting the rip fence or the rails on your saw.

If they're not adjustable, you can attach an auxiliary fence to the rip fence, see Fig. 4. Then by placing shims between the fences, you can bring the auxiliary fence 90s to the table top.

NOTE: MAKE BLOCK SUGHTLY HIGHER THAN DEPTH Of CUT

AUXILIARY FENCE AND SHIMS BRING FENCE 90* TO TABU

SCRAP BLOCK

MINIMIZES FENCE ERROR i

FENCE IS NOT 90* TO TABLE

FIRST CUTS ARE MADE ON FACE OF WORKPIECE

WORKPIECE IS ON EDGE FOR 3RD

CONTACTS FENCE AT HIGHER POINT

STEPPED SHOULDER

WORKPIECE IS ON EDGE FOR 3RD

CONTACTS FENCE AT HIGHER POINT

STEPPED SHOULDER

NOTE: MAKE BLOCK SUGHTLY HIGHER THAN DEPTH Of CUT

AUXILIARY FENCE AND SHIMS BRING FENCE 90* TO TABU

SCRAP BLOCK

MINIMIZES FENCE ERROR i

FENCE IS NOT 90* TO TABLE

FIRST CUTS ARE MADE ON FACE OF WORKPIECE

PROJECT SUPPLIES

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Responses

  • folcard
    When shoukd a tenon with a stepped shoulder be used?
    7 months ago

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