Cut the Tenons

Chuck a 1/2 in. or 3/4 in.-dia. bit in your router. Set the depth of cut equal to the distance between the face of the end piece and the groove. Place the router on the top of the test piece (not on its edge), and rout a tongue (Photo 5). Check the tongue's thickness-it should be equal to the width of the groove and mortises. If you readjust the router's depth of cut, be sure to rout from both faces of the test piece.

Rout the ends of the table top (Photo 6). This requires a series of overlapping cuts, on both sides of the top. Start with the outermost cut, then flip the top to repeat the same cut on the opposite side. Reset the edge guide and work your way in. The last cut, which creates the tenons' shoulders, must be absolutely straight. Shift the router's edge guide only 1/16 in. or so to make this cut-that should do the trick. Saw off the support piece (Photo 7). The resulting tenon should be 1/16 in. shorter than the depth of the mortises.

Lay out the individual tenons (Photo 8). Mark the center tenon the exact width of its corresponding mortise. Mark the next tenons about 1/16-in. narrower, on hoth sides, than their mortises. This offset should get larger as you go, depending on how wide your top is, how much your species of wood moves, the humidity range in your area, etc. As a general rule, an 1/8-in. offset on both sides of the tenon should be sufficient for most tops.

6Rout wide dados across both sides of the top to start forming the tenons. Leave a strip of wood uncut to support the router.

/Saw off the support piece by hand or use a jigsaw. It doesn't matter if the sawn edge is a bit uneven or out of square.

T center of table offset marks aligned marks ks \

8 Place an end piece next to the top. Mark the center tenon exactly in line with its mortise. Mark the other tenons narrower than their mortises.

T center of table offset marks aligned marks ks \

shoulder

shoulder

9 Cut the tenons. Stop most of the cuts at the haunch line. At the outer ends, saw full depth, then saw near the shoulder to remove the end waste piece.

1 < ) Use a router plane or rabbet plane to pare the tenons 1 < thinner, if necessary. Support the router plane with the test piece you made that's the same thickness as the top.

Cut the waste between the tenons using a coping saw. Twist the blade so it's at a right angle to the saw's frame.

Draw a line across the top to lay out the haunches (the short segments between the tenons). Make the haunches 1/16-in. shorter than the depth of the grooves in the end pieces to ensure that the joint's shoulders fit tight. Saw the tenons (Photos 9 and 10). After removing the end waste pieces, pare the shoulders even using'a chisel or a trim router and a flush-trim bit.

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