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Shed Doors 3: Fitting Tenons


Last summer, I added a small shed to my old garage. I hung some temporary plywood doors, and built the real doors in the shop here at American Woodworker. Here are links to the first two parts of the story: Shed Doors 1 and Shed Doors 2.

OK, the last step was to check the thickness of the tenons, to make sure they're theoretically correct. They're too big to insert into the mortises, so I can't yet be sure if they fit right.

Next stop, the bandsaw, to rip and crosscut the tenons to fit the mortises. Guided by a fence, a bandsaw can make a very straight and smooth cut. The walnut block on the right is a stop block clamped to the bandsaw's table.

This fence is made by Kreg Tools, and it's one of the best I've used. It's particularly easy to adjust side to side, to hit those pencil lines right on the money. In this picture, the fence is in the Low position. Turn it 90 degrees, and it sits about 3" tall.

Once the straight cuts were done, I just moved the fence out of the way and cut the waste between the tenons. I drew the layout lines on both sides of the tenons so I could flip the workpiece when making these crosscuts from both directions. For once, I was thinking ahead!

Here's some hard-learned experience. In making the crosscuts at the haunches, I cut off a waste piece before making the final cut, using the fence as a guide. If you don't do that, and cut right to the line, the waste can get trapped between the fence and the blade. It's not like a tablesaw kickback, and the waste piece won't go flying, but it could cause a nasty kink in the bandsaw blade.

With the tenons fully cut, it's time to test their thickness (and the accuracy of the bandsaw cuts). Well, of course some were too tight. What do you expect? I could have gone back to the tablesaw to shave them off usign the dado set, but I prefer to use a rabbet plane for this final fitting.

This plane is from Lee Valley, and it's a beaut. It's heavy, wide, and has lateral adjust (unlike the Lie-Nielsen, which is also a fine rabbet plane). A few strokes, and I'm in business.

One last step, and that's beveling the ends to make the tenons easier to insert into the mortises. That's a big advantage when the glue goes on and the blood pressure rises.

I often use a block plane or chisel for this, but I didn't have to worry about grain direction with a 10" mill *** file. That's the best tool for this job, on this wood.

In the next post, I'll be making the panels. See you there!

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