Using band saw to make tenon cuts

A well-tuned band saw is a versatile tool for cutting tenons, whether they are single tenons, double tenons. This video will run through set up of the band saw, band saw blade and fence, as well as a few ways to make tenons on the band saw.

This video was produced for its free video library by The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. The Center is a nonprofit, international woodworking school dedicated to providing the best possible education in wood craftsmanship and design.

How to Make Tenons on a Band Saw with Tim Rousseau

In this video, Tim Rousseau, an instructor at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, demonstrates how to use a band saw. As with most mortise and tenoning operations, the mortises are cut first, and then cut the tenons to fit the mortise.

Before using a band saw check to see the blade is square to the table and fence by making test cuts. Even so, band saws are not great at cutting shoulders; it is great at cutting with the grain but makes fuzzy cuts across the grain. It is easy to pre-cut the shoulders on a table saw with a miter gauge and a rip fence. To transfer the measurements of the mortise on to the tenon stock, set the mortise gauge to the mortise width, and score the tenon lines.

Another safety tip; as with all saws (table saw, band saw etc.), it is safest to have the waste of the cut on the outside of the blade versus getting trapped between the blade and the fence. Hence, position the blade to fence so it is cutting on the outside tenon line. Bandsaw fences have more movement than most table saw fences, so adding a clamp can help, and again, make test cuts first!

Once the fence is properly set, cut all the cheeks, but another safety tip; cut 95% to the shoulder and break off the cheek waste by hand so it doesn't get caught in the throat plate. If it is an off centered or double tenon, use a spacer that is the width of the mortise plus the kerf of the blade. To make a spacer for the tenon use a thickness planer with a dial indicator to get to the precise measurement.

Check out the video above for a step-by-step walk through of how we make tenons on a band saw at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship.

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