LEGS AND ARM STUMPS
These tenon cutters cut a six-degree tapered tenon to match the taper of my reamers.
My legs and arm stumps are turned green and oversized. I dry them in a kiln. Then there are a couple of methods to cut a tenon. The tenons can be cut on the lathe and this is probably the most accurate method, assuming you have good turning skills. The tenon is automatically aligned with the centerline of the turning, and it is easy to make a tenon without a shoulder.
WHY USE A TENON CUTTER?
Tenon cutters automatically make a tenon of the correct taper, however they leave a shoulder which must be removed to ensure a good joint. This can be done with a chisel or on the lathe. I usually use the lathe.
A little care is required to ensure the tenon is straight on the leg. The less wood the tenon cutter has to remove, the less chance it has to get off course. The Arm Stump Tenon Cutter is 1/2″ at the small end and the Leg Tenon Cutter is 11/16″ diameter at the small end.
1/2″ Arm Stump Tenon Cutter — $65 each
11/16″ Leg Tenon Cutters — $65 each
Custom tenon cutters are available in eight and eleven degree tapers, as well as custom sizes. They are $90 each. Contact me to order.
BOTTOM OF SPINDLES
Getting round, perfectly-sized tenons on the ends of a spindle can be time consuming. Spindle Tenon Cutters cut a cylindrical tenon of any length, then cut a shallow taper which can later be removed with a spokeshave or drawknife. Diameters are adjustable to roughly .015″ over the stated size. The less wood the tool has to take off, the cleaner the cut will be.
Spindle Tenon Cutters are available in 1/2″ diameter for the bottom of the spindle.
1/2″ Spindle Tenon Cutter — $65 each
Custom sizes are available at $90 each. Contact me to order.
TOP OF SPINDLES
I have switched to using dowel plates to cut the upper tenon on the spindles. I find that the cut is often cleaner than a tenon cutter’s cut, the dowel plates never need re-adjusting, and almost never need sharpening. They are also self limiting: if the tenon is too big, you simply can’t drive it through the hole. Made of 1/4″ thick O1 tool steel, soft enough that the holes can be enlarged with a file to make a larger diameter tenon. See video on sidebar for more info.
Dowel Plates are available in two sizes:
3/10″ (.3000″) matches the diameter of a Kreg Jig Micro Bit (my preference for boring holes in bows)
5/16″ (.3125″) matches a 5/16 bradpoint, and possibly a 5/16 auger bit (auger bits may vary up to .020″ oversized)
3/10″ Dowel Plate – $25 (free shipping to USA)
5/16″ Dowel Plate – $25 (free shipping to USA)
SET OF REAMER AND TENON CUTTERS
This Set of Four Tools includes a leg tenon cutter, an arm-stump tenon cutter, and a 1/2″ spindle tenon cutter, plus one six-degree reamer. Dowel plates for the tops of the spindles are available separately, so you can pick the size(s) you need.
Set of Four Tools — $235
3/10″ Dowel Plate – $25
5/16″ Dowel Plate – $25