Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Tenon cutters are a great tool for the rustic woodworker. Yes you can make nice tenons by hand using a draw knife but the cutters can be very handy and fast, and make a nice looking, consistent tenon for your rustic projects. I purchased a set from Lee Valley and Veritas that included six tenon cutters ranging in size from 5/8" to 2". They are light weight and fit into a standard drill or drill press. I typically use mine in my 18 volt cordless Dewalt driver and they work quite nicely. On many occasions you may need to bring down the wood's end diameter to get it closer to the tenon size which you can do using a draw knife. These hand held cutters can get to be more challenging and a bit more work when you get up into the 2" range because of the wood size but they still are quicker and give you a nice even tenon. The cutters also feature a built in level so that you can get your tenon going the proper direction. There is always some "eye balling" that goes on when doing it free hand without a guide, but you can usually get them close enough that you can make small adjustments when it is in the mortise hole, by turning the wood to the spot where it fits best for your project. There are several other companies that make this type of tenon cutter, such as Bosworth, Blue Ox, and Northwest. At Lee Valley the cost of these cutters ranges from $87 for the 5/8 up to $109 for the 2", but they do offer sets that can save you a bit of money. I found them well worth the cost and I have had mine for about 8 years, with no problems. So, have fun making your rustic furniture and try out some tenon cutters for a beautiful and secure log/stick connection.