Homemade Tapered Tenon Cutters

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Blog entry by siavosh posted 02-07-2015 11:49 PM 6947 reads 4 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After making my compass saw reamer, I realized it would be tough to make the matching mortises without a whole lot of effort with the spokeshave. I ran into some other bloggers who made tenon cutters from plane blades. This is my effort, and although not much for looks, it seems to get the job done. The reamer and this tenon cutter should hold me over for a while, sometimes crude tools can make ok results :)

I made the tapered mortise with the reamer itself after using a hand drill to make the pilot hole. The “plane body” (which is a generous term) is a block of poplar offcut, and the blade is from an old Stanley block plane. Here’s how it all comes together, resulting in my very first wedged tapered mortise and tenon joinery, joy!

Overall, very satisfying little tools that I hope to use on a real project soon, thanks for reading!

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3 comments so far

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2573 days

#1 posted 02-08-2015 12:02 AM

That’s really cool. If it works well, then you can go on to make a fancier version if you choose to, or not. But I’m curious about your reamer. I thought the point was to have a scraping type cut but I see you’ve left saw teeth on. Does that work well?

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2483 days

#2 posted 02-08-2015 12:07 AM

Hi Tim, thanks. Yeah I was surprised too. On Jennie Alexander’s site, she actually points out that leaving the teeth in place is not a drawback and saves time on grinding/sharpening the blade. I did grind/sharpen the other side to a rough 45-degree angle. I haven’t tried it without the saw teeth, but I imagine both work although the individual teeth sometimes cling and make the reaming not super smooth.

This is from her blog:

_”Now comes the startling part. You can leave the saw teeth on one edge of the tapered blade! While the fastidious may be offended, I have found no effective difference between blades with one edge toothed and blades with raised burrs on both edges. Leaving existing teeth on the blade is quicker and aids in reaming. Make sure the profile of the teeth is straight. View the blade from the heel, and chamfer so that the blade will ream when rotated clockwise. Drawfile the burr edge (or edges) to a 45° chamfer. It is helpful to chamfer the outside board clamping the blade in the vise. While the 45° arris can be cleaned up with a stone, that is not really necessary. Remember that your blade will be scraping end grain—not a pretty task. Thus the presence of saw teeth and a less than exquisite scraping burr do not adversely affect the reamed mortise. Put a drop of oil on the arris and lay it over by progressively burnishing until the burnisher is 10° below horizontal (1). Test the burr.”+

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View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2573 days

#3 posted 02-10-2015 12:20 AM

Interesting stuff, thank you.

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