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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone please advise the best way to make 1 1/2" tenons in length x 1/2'"in width on longer boards for a headboard. My material is 1 1/2" thick and the boards(rails) are 63" long x 7" wide. Too long for my little shop to do on the tenons on the table saw. And with the longer boards too hard to handle on a table, so I figure the best way is to make a jig to hold my material and cut a bit off each side to nibble it down to fit a 1/2" mortise. Any other ideas. Thanks
 

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Have you considered a router with an edge guide, freehand, 1/2" down spiral bit...? Add a long piece of wood on the edge guide so you can route straight past the edge of the board...

Nibble away at it until you hit the desired depth...cut a line with a knife so you don't get tear out at the board end of the tenon...

Then flip it over and repeat. When done with the faces, chisel the edges to your dimension...

Start nibbling at the end of the board and work your way in so the router always has support...complete the cut to depth then move in some more til you get to your shoulder line...

I've also used a radial arm saw to nibble then dress it with a block plane and chisel...if you don't have a shoulder plane or router plane...
 

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Just like Nick suggested...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hadn't even thought about using a edge guide. Would that be with a plunge router? Plunging 1/4" and working to the end of the board. Then readjusting the fence in? The board is 7" wide. How long of a guide would you suggest? thanks
 

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If you clamp a short straightedge on the top of your board to let the base of the router cut square to your board. Set the bit to the correct depth and proceed to take small cuts til the base of the router makes contact with the straight edge and make the final pass. Something like the first video but he doesn't use a straight edge to make his final cut.
Then tun the board over and repeat.


HErb
 

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I hadn't even thought about using a edge guide. Would that be with a plunge router? Plunging 1/4" and working to the end of the board. Then readjusting the fence in? The board is 7" wide. How long of a guide would you suggest? thanks
You want to start at the edge of the board to depth then move inward, again to depth, then inward, etc... This will keep the router supported until you come to the shoulder line. The longer piece of wood attached to the edge guide will allow the cut to start and end cleanly (square). The extra piece of wood should be long enough to allow the router to start and end squarely...probably long enough to allow about 6" on each end plus the base width of the router. That should be enough.

Whether you use a plunge or fixed is up to you...I would think both would be comfortable but I prefer a fixed so I don't jockey the router too much when starting and stopping.

As you can see from Tom's and Herb's responses there are various ways to use a router to do this...
 
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I have a Leigh FMT Pro jig, and once borrowed use of my neighbor's deck railing. I clamped the FMT backwards to the railing so the long board could hang down past the edge of the deck. I have also used the edge of my shop attic pull-down stairs for shorter work that was still too long to mount the FMT to the bench.

Without an FMT jig, I would probably do the same for positioning and clamping my long work, but would use a template and guide bushing with the router. I've also come to appreciate "Floating Tenons" when using templates, guide bushings, and a router, since you can get great results using the same template to cut both matching mortises. Making floating tenon stock is easy with a table saw and then a planer to get the desired thickness, but it can be done with just the table saw. Make pieces the desired thickness, and then cut tenons from it as needed, keeping in mind that the tenon needs to be about 1/8" shorter than 2X the tenon depth. The 1/2 round ends of the routered mortises can be left open. It isn't necessary to round the tenons to fit. Leave them with square ends long enough to fit the flat sides of the mortise. The 1/2 round end spaces will take the excess glue. It's the flat side surfaces of the mortise and tenon that provide the joint strength. They should slide together when being dry fit, with enough friction to keep them from falling apart, but should not require pounding with fist or hammer to dry fit them together. When sized this way and the glue is added, they will be very strong.

Charley
 

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Are floating tenons strong enough to support the rails on a bed headboard? Not the sides as I have hardware to help with that. thanks, Tom
yes it they are large enough...
 

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Are floating tenons strong enough to support the rails on a bed headboard? Not the sides as I have hardware to help with that. thanks, Tom
It’s no different than a single mortise and fixed tenon. You’re just depending on glue to hold both ends to the tenon instead of just one. Like Charley said it can be easy to make a mortise where making a tenon would be very difficult.

Using a router to make a tenon that’s centred on a board with a straight edge has one potential problem and that’s getting the shoulders on each side dead even with each other. If they aren’t there will be a gap under one. The floating tenon eliminates that potential problem. However, on something like a bed frame rail you only need a shoulder on one side because the other side is only visible if you’re taking the bed apart.
 

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Do you have a shoulder plane? If so you can get down close, then use the plane to get the thickness exactly right. Another thing I would consider doing is using a japanese pull saw to do the crosscut pretty much to depth, then use the router. That should eliminate any tearout since the bit won't have to touch the shoulder. I'd use that shoulder plane to creep up on the fit. If you're going to use glue, that's one thing, but if you want to break down or move the bedframe, you should consider a couple of pegs that you can push out to move the thing. Eventually, it will have to be broken down, so I just wouldn't use glue. My take on this anyhow.
 

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I like all those suggestions but I want to add the old school in case you are interested. Hand saws, chisels, planes. If only a couple of joints there is no time involved to make jigs and I like Japanese pull saws they cut clean and fast. It really doesn't take as long as some might think and it's relaxing. Don't get me wrong I like my routers also !
 

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Using a shoulder plane makes it pretty easy to get a nice fit. Get it close with the saw and router, then take a stroke or two with the plane, then repeat the exact same number of strokes on the other side. The setting on the blade determines how much you shave off on each stroke and that can be very thin, so it is easy to shave, trial fit, shave until it's just right. See pix.

The japanese saw cuts on the pull stroke and is razor sharp so you cut down to your mark, route the bulk as described, then use the plane. A shoulder plane cuts the full width of the plane. A Japanese plane cuts on the pull stroke, which is easier, but can not cut all the way to the shoulder, you will have to go back and use a chisel for that. Note the stiffener on the back edge of the saw in pix.

Theoretically, you could use a wide chisel to fit the tenon, but it requires very careful work and is much easier to overdo than with a shoulder plane. Just FIY, I added a pix of a wooden Japanese pull type plane.
 

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I found a cheap shoulder plane on Amazon and happily, it wasn't too far off. Using sandpaper of various grits, I flattened the base and made sure it was 90 to the sides, then carefully sharpened the blade. I spent maybe $40 for it. I use it fairly often. It is 3/4 inches wide so it is perfect for perfecting rabbets and tennons, and I have salvaged a couple of $50 picture frames where I made an error on the front profile. The front of the cheap plane comes off which turns it into a chisel plane, which is far easier to control than a straight chisel. I must add that using a hand plane is very addictive. You quickly come to understand how such wonderful work was done in wood before the advent of power tools.
 

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Hi tom.
Exactly six years ago I had the same problem while I was doing a craddle for Sabrina, my granddaugther.
Please check out my post "A very simple jig" posted at 04/05/2014 to see how I solved that.
 

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Hi tom.
Exactly six years ago I had the same problem while I was doing a craddle for Sabrina, my granddaugther.
Please check out my post "A very simple jig" posted at 04/05/2014 to see how I solved that.
couldn't find the post...
search won't go back that far on posts you have made...
do you have a link to it...
 

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I like all those suggestions but I want to add the old school in case you are interested. Hand saws, chisels, planes. If only a couple of joints there is no time involved to make jigs and I like Japanese pull saws they cut clean and fast. It really doesn't take as long as some might think and it's relaxing. Don't get me wrong I like my routers also !
Then I think you have it...handsaw(pull saw), chisel, router plane (see Lee Valley or DIY - Youtube). Quite a few videos for a DIY router plane...
 
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