Trimming Tenons to Fit Mortises

by Dale on May 13, 2013

The Easy and Inexpensive Way

Making tenons on a table saw with a dado blade and sled is the way I make them fix exact. However, occasionally they end up a bit too tight.

Recently I read an article that said you have to have a shoulder plane for this task. A shoulder plane costs over 100 dollars. I do have a shoulder plane, tuned and sharpened and a shoulder block plane as well. They are quick and accurate and I used them many times for this task.

Nevertheless, it’s a bit tough to take an exact amount off the entire tenon equally and you usually end up with a slightly irregular tenon. In addition, this method takes some experience to master, even to get acceptable result.

Well, when I started teaching, this problem comes up all the time. I didn’t want to spend one full day teaching the shoulder plane and having students practice for hours so I came up with a solution that is fills the need so well that I don’t use my shoulder plane now.Dale two

That is unless the tenons are excessively thick. I make accurate sanding blocks and a few passes with the block on one or both sides quickly bring the tenon to fit perfectly.

Here is How I Make the Blocks:

Dale one
First, purchase a roll of 80-grit 4.5″ wide self-adhesive sandpaper.

Then make blocks out of plywood, 2.5″ wide x 4 5/8″. These measures are the exact width of the self-adhesive sandpaper, so be sure and measure it. Then stick the blocks to the paper like the photo above.

Trim the sides exactly on the edge and do both sides. Now, use the block on your tenons. With no sandpaper on edges to mess up the shoulders of the Dale threetenons and the paper sands right up to the corner you’ll have success.

This is easy and accurate and a problem no more.

I love it and I think you will as well. Please leave me your comments or questions.

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