Tenons on a Table


•se auxiliary fence on

Side Tenons. After setting the dado blade to the correct height, i After the side piece is cut to rough size, you can use a turn the workpiece on edge. Then use the miter gauge and an auxil- template and your router with a flush trim bit to trim the iary fence to keep the workpiece aligned for the cut. piece to a smooth final shape, woodworkin chamfering with a

Block Pia

When it comes to chamfering an edge, a block plane does the job quickly and easily.

Block Pia

Whether it's to soften a hard edge or to add a decorative detail, rarely does a piece of furniture leave my shop without chamfers on at least some of its edges. Most of the time, I use a router for chamfering. But if 1 only have a few chamfers to make, 1 find it faster and easier to grab my block plane.

In the same amount of time it takes to install a chamfering bit in a router, 1 can quietly put a small chamfer on the edge of a board with just a few swipes from my block plane. And instead of blowing chips everywhere (like a router does), the block plane leaves just a few curly shavings to sweep up.

Clamp backer board to workpiece

Clamp backer board to workpiece

You'll learn that chamfering an edge with a block plane doesn't take a whole lot of skill. The main idea is to hold the plane at a 45° angle to the board as you plane the edge. With a little practice, this becomes second nature. But there are a few other things to know in order to get the best results.

selecting a plane. Although you can use any kind of block plane for chamfering, if you happen to own a low-angle block plane, now is the time to use it. The lower blade angle of these planes allows them to cut through the wood fibers with less effort. This gives you a little more control over the plane,

Plane toward center of board from both directions

Plane toward center of board from both directions

Coming and Going. Another way to deal with end grain is to plane in toward the center of the board from both directions.

Backer Board. A scrap board clamped against the edge of the workpiece will help prevent tearout when chamfering end grain.

Coming and Going. Another way to deal with end grain is to plane in toward the center of the board from both directions.

especially when working with end grain. So if you have the choice, go with the low-angle plane.

But regardless of the plane you use, you'll want to make sure the blade is sharp. A dull blade will tear the wood fibers instead of slicing them cleanly, taking out large chunks of wood along the way.


If you're going to be chamfering all the edges of a workpiece, you'll want to start with the end grain, and here's why. When you cut a chamfer across the grain (end grain) there's a tendency for the wood to chip out as the plane exits the cut. By chamfering the end grain first, any chipout that you may get will be cleaned up when you chamfer the long edges of the workpiece.

prevent tearout. Of course, it's still best to try and avoid creating any tearout in the first place. And when you're working with end grain, there are a couple of ways to do this. One method is to clamp a scrap piece to your workpiece to serve as a backer board (far left drawing). This backs up the wood fibers as the plane exits the cut.

Sometimes, it's not possible or convenient to clamp a backer board to your workpiece. In these

Hold plane at 45° angle

Chamfer " comers with a downward -slicing motion

Planing . with the grain yields continuous shavings cases, you can chamfer the end grain by coming in from both directions (lower right drawing on opposite page). Start at one edge and work toward the center of the board. Then go to the other edge to complete the chamfer.

corners. When it comes to chamfering the "corners" of a work-piece — where the end grain and long grain meet across the thickness of the workpiece — I use a different technique. Here, I simply pare away the wood in a slicing motion, starting on the long edge of the workpiece and pushing the plane forward toward the end of the workpiece (drawing below). Skewing the plane at a slight angle can make this a little easier.


Compared to planing the end grain, chamfering the edges (long grain) of a workpiece is easy. Simply hold the plane at a 45° angle to the workpiece as you run it along

Hold plane at 45° angle

Planing against grain causes tea rout

NOTE: Gram direction the edge. If you need help steadying the plane, try wrapping the fingers of your free hand under the sole of the plane so they ride against the workpiece like a fence.

grain direction. The one thing that may give you a problem when chamfering the long edges of a workpiece is grain direction. If you take a close look at your workpiece, you'll usually notice that the grain runs at a slight angle to the edge of the board. And the grain runs off the edge of the board in one direc tion. The goal here is to plane in the same direction that the grain is running (drawing above).

If you plane against the grain, it's very likely for the plane iron to catch on the grain and tear out a sliver of wood. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell which direction the grain is running. But you'll be able to tell once you start planing. If the wood chips out, try going in the opposite direction.

difficult grain. Every once in a white, you'll come across a work-piece with grain that shifts direction midstream. When you run up against something like this, try planing from both directions, stopping when you get to the place where the grain shifts. Here again, a sharp blade is very important.

One last thing. A block plane works great for small, narrow chamfers. But it can also be used for wider chamfers. For more information on how to make even and consistent wide chamfers, see the box shown below. K9

Chamfer " comers with a downward -slicing motion

Draw layout lines on both edges to determine chamfer size

Continue planing until you reach layout lines

Try to keep chamfer centered between layout lines during initial passes

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