Very Simple Tenon cutting jig

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by stefang posted 03-19-2014 05:47 PM 2243 reads 0 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been making the saw frame for my Chevalet project. The joinery calls for some tenon like finger joints that are fairly thin. I felt I needed a table saw tenoning jig for this work to get an acceptable result, so I made a simple one that took about and hour working at my usual snail pace.

Many of you will think this is woodworking 101 stuff, and you would be right, but I think it worth sharing anyway since it is easy to build out of scrap and requires nothing more than some flat panel, a little glue and a few screws plus a regular clamp. This jig is as accurate as your eye is to line up the cut with your saw blade and it requires you to adjust the fence for each cut.

The good news is that you need mark up for only one joint. You just make the first cut and then if you have multiples it is just to clamp the other pieces in for the first cut. The work pieces are then rotated 180 degrees and clamped in for the 2nd cut and so on. The finger cut requires more cuts, but the same principle applies, you just have to be careful to cut on the correct side of the line.

I made the jig so it could slide on top of my fence. The fence itself is a thin cheap aluminum rail that I beefed up with some MDF. Here are some photos. You can see the saw frame with the joints I cut sitting on top of the table saw fence.

Loaded up with a workpiece ready to go. There is no gap between the fence and the workpiece it is a black line on the fence which just happened to be there. It has nothing to do with the jig!

Side view to show how the clamp works

Showing the fence without the clamp or a workpiece

Another view just to show how it’s screwed together

If you decide to make this jig I would suggest you make it out of solid wood if you have some shelf panels or something like that. Solid wood will hold the screws a lot better than composite materials or even plywood on the edges.

One other item before I finish this blog. I have a fairly inexpensive 5 function combination machine made in Belgium that I’ve had for about 18 years. I just want to show my buddies the mortising attachment just for fun, since I used it today to put some mortises in my almost finished Chevalet saw frame. I rarely use this machine except for the times when precision is necessary, and I only have one 8mm mortising bit which can also be a limiting factor for smaller mortises, but larger ones are no problem as the table holding the workpiece can move up and down to make wider mortises. I have to admit that the cut was a little rough on the hard maple, so I guess my bit needs sharpening.

Here it is hooked up to the side of my combo machine

Here is the result.

I had an interesting day today. I got laser treatment for the glaucoma on my right eye, went food shopping and got an hour in woodworking. It is wonderful to have clear vision again. Maybe I will have fewer measuring errors now. If I were living in the ‘good old days’ I would not be able to read or more importantly continue woodworking. So in spite of the negative things about the current state of affairs, I still prefer the times we are living in, at least as long as Russia does not decide to annex Norway.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

26 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117655 posts in 3999 days

#1 posted 03-19-2014 06:07 PM

Simple but effective.very impessive combo machine Mike.

View kiefer's profile


5658 posts in 3089 days

#2 posted 03-19-2014 06:34 PM

Hi Mike
Nice to see you in the shop .
Good plain and simple jig producing nice tight joints and having the mortising attachment just is a great bonus .
Looks like you are getting that Chevalet close to done .
Great news about your eye that is such a relive .

Take care Klaus

-- Kiefer

View shipwright's profile


8320 posts in 3220 days

#3 posted 03-19-2014 06:51 PM

The “eyes” have it Mike, especially for the fine work when the chevy revs up. Glad to hear you’re getting yours back. Looks a lot like one of my “use and chuck” jigs. I love quick, easy things like this because if you don’t have room to store them and they aren’t often needed …... chuck.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Dutchy's profile


3392 posts in 2590 days

#4 posted 03-19-2014 06:55 PM

Stefang it is good to hear that you have clear vision again! I do still a lot without glasses, but when its important to be preciese I use a factor 3 glasses with light.

Did you know that the Krim is near Oslo? So Poetin is next to you door :)

I like your 5in1. Is it a Scheppach?



View SPalm's profile


5333 posts in 4304 days

#5 posted 03-19-2014 07:12 PM

Hey Mike,
Jig looks good, results are fantastic.

Yippee with the eyes. I don’t know how the early people dealt with life and all its turns. Of course my kids don’t know how we got along without microwaves, the internet and GPS either.

Take care,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3278 days

#6 posted 03-19-2014 07:40 PM

Mike I like simple and that one is a user.
The metal ones are a pig for small pieces.
The laser is great I had both eyes done for glaucoma now
I have cataracts. :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3756 days

#7 posted 03-19-2014 08:14 PM

Thanks guys. It is wonderful to see clearly again. I had the other eye done last year. It’s amazing how quickly that gray stuff grows back, so I will probably be doing this again in another year or so.

Dutchy My combination machine is made by Kitty in Belgium. It has been a great machine except for it’s biggest weakness, which is the throat plate. I have made wooden zero clearance inserts for it, but it hasn’t got much support on the fence side, and now it is broken off. This is mainly due to the way too long slit needed to accommodate both the blade and the reeving knife, which leaves less than 1/4” extra length at each end and the piece on the fence side can only be about 1/4” wide. It also has to be pretty thin which adds to it’s fragility. I need to make a new one (it will be the 4th one).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1889 posts in 3883 days

#8 posted 03-19-2014 09:05 PM

Glad to hear you’re doing better with the vision problems. Those lasers are really amazing in competent hands. I like how you think. I’ve made a very similar jig for finger joints. I’ve always been intrigued by how people solve similar problems and what they come up with. Looking forward to seeing that Chevy rumble. I think you should put a Corvette 427 in it. LOL

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3756 days

#9 posted 03-19-2014 09:49 PM

Thanks Ken. It may be a long while before I get a chance to do anything with it. My only hope is a rainy summer. As much as I could like that, it will leave me surrounded by a lot of depressed people, especially my wife who is itching to get outside to work in the garden.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3520 days

#10 posted 03-19-2014 10:42 PM

Congrats on a fine jig!
Cool on the laser thing too.
I had laser surgery about 10 years ago to correct nearsightedness.
Went from 20/220+ to 20/20 in 5 minutes.
Only problem now is you can’t blame bad vision for any measuring or cutting errors.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View Mean_Dean's profile


6971 posts in 3569 days

#11 posted 03-20-2014 12:35 AM

Quick and easy jig gets the job done—can’t beat that!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2961 days

#12 posted 03-20-2014 01:25 AM

Very nice Mike! If you ever win the lottery you can send me that nice combo machine you are using ;-)

-- I never finish anyth

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2051 days

#13 posted 03-20-2014 01:29 AM

Like your jig. LOVE your shop !!! Would you consider an apprentice? :)

I’m with you in spirit on the eye issue, Mike. I had a cataract removed last summer and a new lens installed. I might be a bit bionic now, but it was worth it.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117655 posts in 3999 days

#14 posted 03-20-2014 04:21 AM

Sorry I missed the fact you had successful laser surgery ,That’s fantastic. I’m glad you can enjoy your woodworking again.

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3756 days

#15 posted 03-20-2014 08:49 AM

Thanks for the positive comments everyone. Like John, I had an eye operation to get new lenses a couple of years ago for both eyes . I was surprised that I needed the laser treatment on my left eye after only about 1-1/2 years and the right eye a year after that. I guess this will become a regular maintenance routine in the future. I feel very lucky to have that option.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

showing 1 through 15 of 26 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics