Tapered tenon cutter & mortise reamer #2: Thoughts, testing, drawing...

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Blog entry by mafe posted 02-23-2015 11:09 PM 6883 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Cutter body from a piece of firewood Part 2 of Tapered tenon cutter & mortise reamer series Part 3: Tapered reamer - making one. »

Cutter and Reamer
Thoughts, testing, drawing…

Ok, the show goes on and in mysterious ways.
This one is most about thoughts, thinking and listening to yours.

So this is what it is all about – cutting some wood to shape.
Since I am a architect I think better with a pen than a chisel and also I love to give myself the impression of solving a unsolved problem, while I am fully aware it has been done a million times before…

First step is thinking and study, thinking makes me think of a pencil sharpener and those sexy shaves they make.
Then looking at pictures online, vintage cutters on E-bay, new from Veritas, other people’s projects and all that jazz, thanks. I can see a lot of people have problems making them cut; many end up with a fixed scraper…
That’s nothing more than cutting angle. My guess is that we need to think no more advanced than making normal shavings with a hand plane and so I’ll aim for a bevel op blade, in this way I can hone the blade after the type of wood and go from 20 and up, so this will be what we aim for. Also the shaves need to be able to get out through a mouth and it will be nice to be able to adjust the cutting deepness a wee bit.
Ok – professor, make some shavings…

First a hole in a piece of wood, wooooooohoooo I make shaves.

Then the hole are tapered with my taper tool.
(will show how to make one in next blog).

Kind of fine.
Even it’s a scraping action, not a cutting action.

Now some marking up.
The bed need to be almost on top of the hole and have size so the iron can be mounted.
I choose 20 degrees.
The trick is to follow the tapered hole.

And transfer this 20 degrees to the back side, from the center top and out.
Then you can connect the lines from front to back and see where to saw.
(Is that understandable?

Then saw down for the mouth opening.

And down the line.

Like this.

Close enough.

So the Siavosh C-clamp setup.
I use the cut off on the back to give the clamp a good grip.
Since the hole was a little low, I use the bevel down here and it works strikingly well.
Guess I could end the blog here and put the firewood in the fireplace…
Naaaaa I set out to make that tool.

I just have to keep my focus…

And correct a few details a wee bit…

But for now we got a pair.

Less is more, but here also too much.
So I will go on with the project.
First some thinking and drawing again.

This is what I am planning, what do you guys think?
What is your thoughts on iron placement, angle, bevel up or down?

In next part I will be making a new reamer, using the old reamers blade.

Hope it can inspire others to make their own tools.

The best of my thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

10 comments so far

View lew's profile


13385 posts in 4916 days

#1 posted 02-24-2015 12:03 AM

Looking good!

I’m no tool expert and I don’t even play one on TV but I would guess the bevel should be up to carry away the shavings more efficiently.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3965 days

#2 posted 02-24-2015 12:06 AM

Very interesting Mads

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2790 days

#3 posted 02-24-2015 12:54 AM

Hi Mads,

Some interesting thoughts on the subject from Matthias Wandel …

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3700 days

#4 posted 02-24-2015 01:42 AM

Great project Mads, this is on my to do list this year…

-- I never finish anyth

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4313 days

#5 posted 02-24-2015 01:50 AM

very cool. I want a set of these.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 3032 days

#6 posted 02-24-2015 03:37 AM

Mads, this is very scientific! I’m ashamed to say it never occurred to me to play with the angles, I just picked the first one I cut. Looking forward to what you discover :)

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1363 posts in 2875 days

#7 posted 02-24-2015 09:41 AM

Looking good!
Bevel up for sure. Adjust with shims. Bevel down wil be difficult to adjust and the position of the iron could easily change the angle of the taper.
Looking forward to part “3

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4495 days

#8 posted 02-24-2015 10:01 AM

A steeper bevel angle might work better Mads as there is a lot of stress on the edge because half of the hole is end grain. I also agree with the bevel up as Lew said. Pencil sharpeners and commercial taper tools are also bevel up. I like that you are experimenting as a lot can be learned from that, and it is very interesting to see your thinking on this. Another point made by Matthias Wandel is that a close grained hardwood would be a better choice for the tenon cutter as the rough pine/fir grain is rough and creates a lot of friction. I do think pencil sharpeners are a great model for taper cutting as they work so well as long as the blade is sharp.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CFrye's profile


11329 posts in 3001 days

#9 posted 02-24-2015 03:13 PM

Good thinking to practice on the pine, Mads. Often, I forget this step and get frustrated when I mess up a ‘good’ piece of firewood!

-- God bless, Candy

View mafe's profile


13204 posts in 4250 days

#10 posted 02-26-2015 11:34 PM

Hi there,
So it seems to be going in a good direction here.
Candy, yes this time I feel not sure where I’m going, so I enjoy playing on practice pieces.
Stefang, with the bevel up I can choose what ever angel I want so I agree. The final cutter will be beech wood, so I will have a strong tool, with minimum friction.
Kærlighedsbamsen, yes good idea, I can shim it up if needed, thanks.
siavosh, you also gave me that impression, and then I started thinking, why it went good for some and bad for others… So as I said, you were my inspiration to figure out what was happening. Thanks.
Mauricio, yes next will be different sizes…
johnhutchinson, thanks I have seen his wonderful videos on the subject and as always he is wonderful. Actually I am thinking I might make some dowel makers later…
Roger, smiles.
Lew, good point also.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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