In Shop Blog, Techniques

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A few weeks ago I posted a blog entry about using a flush-cut saw to slice tenon shoulders. I must have written it poorly because several readers requested a video of the process. So here you go.

A couple details and thoughts:

1. You can use a chisel to help position the saw’s guide on the work. This is especially helpful when dealing with angled shoulders. Here’s how you do it: Drop the chisel into the knife line for your shoulder with the tool’s bevel facing the waste. Slide the guide up to the chisel and secure it with a clamp or hold-down.

2. Be sure to use a flush-cut saw that has no set to the teeth. A saw with set will mangle the guide.

3. Take light strokes with your saw and use light finger pressure against the wooden guide.

The results speak for themselves. The shoulder above is straight from the saw with no cleaning up. This technique allows me to split my knife line, or obliterate it if I so desire (and I do desire it , on the shoulder that will face the inside of the work.)

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 10 comments

    How About A Little 120 Grit Sandpaper On The Guide
    Should Keep It From Slipping
    TOM M

  • Steve Branam

    Ok, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I tried out cutting the tenon cheeks with a ryoba and simple jib. It worked pretty well.
    See this blog page for photos:

  • Steve Branam

    For that matter, you could take your little bench hook-style guide and adapt it for making the cheek cut as well. Make the hook thickness the thickness of the piece minus one cheek.

    Clamp it over the end so the hook face is actually the guide block, and cut the cheek with a stiffer saw against the guide, say a dozuki or ryoba. Flip the work with the hook on the other side, and cut the other cheek, leaving a smooth, perfectly-centered tenon.

    Now the next question is whether your mortise would match up to that tenon, so this might not give the same results as matching tenon cheeks to an existing mortise (that might be off-center).

  • Steve Branam

    The next thing to try is cutting angled shoulders. Skew the guide block for angled across the face, or use an angled guide (or a miter block) for angled from the vertical. And skew an angled guide block for a compound cut. These ought to work great with the flush cut saw.

    As an initial step, you could use a skewed block to carefeully cut an angled face on a guide block, which you could then use to cut the angled vertical cut on your workpiece (the jig to make the jig).

  • Adrian Baird Ba Than

    I’m with Jonathan,it’s not cheating at all.It would only be cheating if you claimed to have cut it freehand after using a guide/gizmo/doo-da & even then,who gives a rats-acceptable-variant-of-hindquarters?

  • Jonathan

    Very nice. But I wouldn’t call it "cheating". Aren’t the results what really count? At least in my shop it is.

  • Nice Chris! I used the same technique to cut stopped sliding dovetails in the dresser carcass I’m working on. My guide was very similar, too. It was just angled a bit.

    I used a western saw for this and had good luck, but finished it off with a Japanese saw. Also, I had better luck keeping my guide hand stationary, holding light pressure against the guide, while sawing. Seemed less awkward for me.
    Thanks for posting this. I cut shoulders like that before but I felt like I was cheating. (Then I got a LN crosscut and forgot about the guide.)

    Take Care!

  • David Gendron

    better a cold than "Bellspalsi".
    Realy like the clean cut you get with this saw(I have the sameone). I have to give it a try!
    Thank you!

  • Christopher Schwarz

    Indeed. A nasty cold. I blame Typhoid Megan.

  • naomi weiss

    Cool! I like how you reversed the bench hook idea and took it to the work. Sounds like you have a cold–feel better!

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