Tips on Tenon Cutters

If you use a tenon cutter on the sticks (or spindles) of a chair, it can be a challenge to cut the tenon so it is perfectly centered on the stick and inline with the axis of the stick. This can be a problem no matter how you drive the tenon cutter – with a brace or with a drill.

This short video shows how I teach students to cut tenons. If you take these steps, your tenons will start to improve immediately. Practice will get you the rest of the way.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Note that there is a way to get perfect tenons every time with a tenon cutter. It involves a lathe and a jig. It’s ideal for making 200 tenons at a time. I’ll show that process some other day.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Shameless plug: This tip is straight from the pages of “The Stick Chair Book.” There are lots of little tricks like this in the book.

An offset and off-axis tenon. A common fault when using tenon cutters.


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