The Veritas Power Tenon Cutters make round tenon cutting for rustic furniture quick, accurate and easy. Each has been balanced to minimize vibration while being driven with an electric drill, and an integral level vial helps you keep the tenon cutter level. The blade is adjustable to cut the exact size of tenon required. It is easy to sharpen the blade with the integral sharpening jig that holds the blade at the optimum angle.
Veritas Tenon Cutters are for use in a hand electric drill. They are not to be used in a drill press for several reasons.
Firmly tighten the tenon cutter in the chuck of an electric drill. For the large-size tenon cutters (1-1/4 in. to 2 in. dia.) a minimum 1/2 in. (13 mm) chuck is required, and a high-torque, low-speed (~500rpm) drill is recommended.
Clamp a piece of wood horizontally in a vise at about waist height. Use a piece no larger than the diameter specified in Table 1 for the tenon cutter to be used. Ensure the end is cut square. Putting a substantial chamfer on the end of a piece of wood that is at or close to the upper limit of the tenon cutter's capacity will make starting the cut much easier.
|Maximum Wood Diameter for Tenon Cutter Diameter.|
|Tenon Dia.||Max. Stock Dia.|
|5/8 in. to 1 in. (15.9 to 25.4 mm)||Tenon Dia. + 1-1/8 in. (+ 28 mm)|
|1-1/4 in. to 2 in. (31.8 to 50.8 mm)||Tenon Dia. + 1-1/2 in. (+ 38 mm)|
Hint: If you do not have a vise, you can improvise with a piece of 2x4 with various sizes of V-shaped notches cut in it and two C-clamps. Place the piece of wood in a notch slightly smaller than its diameter, and clamp the 2x4 to a bench or any large stable surface.
Place the tenon cutter on the end of the piece of wood and rotate the tenon cutter by hand until the level vial is at the top. Raise or lower the drill until the bubble is centered in the vial. Adjust the drill left or right by eye so that it is in line with the piece of wood.
It is important to realize that the tenon cutter will cut tenons in line with the axis of the drill. If you wish to have a tenon come off the end of the piece of wood at an angle, clamp the piece in a vise at the desired angle (using an inclinometer if necessary). Cut the tenon while holding the tenon cutter straight and level, using the level vial as an indicator.
Note: Whether you are cutting in-line or angled tenons, the secret to cutting a uniform tenon is to keep the drill very steady while cutting.
While leaning into the wood, switch on the drill at a moderate speed (500 to 700 rpm for 5/8 in. to 1 in. dia. tenons, 100 to 200 rpm for 1-1/4 in. to 2 in. dia. tenons). Turning too fast may cause you to wander from a straight cut. If the blade is properly set, a long continuous shaving of wood will curl out of the tenon cutter as it rotates. If the tenon cutter stops cutting or does not cut at all, you will need to adjust the blade.
There are two adjustments that can be made to the tenon cutter. The one you will use most often is the blade advance to obtain the desired tenon diameter. The second adjustment allows you to reduce the thickness of cut.
The body of the tenon cutter has a side flute for use as a sharpening jig. Move the blade from the cutting position to the sharpening position (as shown) and fix it in position with the blade clamping screw placed in the central slot in the blade.
Note: The 1-1/4 in. to 2 in. dia. tenon cutters contain a 3/8 in. long screw in the side flute. This may be used to fix the blade in position for sharpening. Its primary purpose, however, is to allow a blade that has been shortened from repeated sharpenings to be sufficiently advanced. This will become evident when the 1/2 in. long blade advance screw bottoms out in its counterbored hole before the blade is sufficiently advanced. This is the time to switch the two screws.
You can now sharpen the blade on a 1-1/2 in. sanding drum mounted in a drill press. We recommend a silicon carbide sleeve (80x if you have a nick to remove followed by 120x for regular honing). Set the drill-press spindle speed between 1000 and 2400 rpm. Coat the entire bevel of the blade with an indelible marker. Using the tenon cutter body as the sharpening jig (see Figure 6), firmly but gently slide the tenon cutter body and blade into the drum. Do not hold the blade in contact with the drum for extended periods of time (more than a few seconds) or you may overheat the blade.
Observe where the marker coating has worn off. Continue sharpening until the entire blade edge is clear of marker coating (at least 1/32 in. wide) and all nicks have been removed (see Figure 7). Vary the height of the drill-press table from time to time as you sharpen to distribute the wear on the sleeve.
Remove the blade from the sharpening jig cut-out. To remove the wire burr from the edge of the blade, simultaneously swipe and roll the outside radius of the blade across a fine grit (1000x or higher) sharpening stone or piece of silicon carbide abrasive paper on a flat surface (see Figure 8).
Because the blade has been sharpened and is now slightly shorter, it will require an adjustment. Re-install the blade and adjust it as previously described until you are able to cut continuous shavings and the tenon is the correct size.
Uneven Tenons: This is usually caused by an unsteady drill position while cutting. Reduce your drill speed and concentrate on holding the drill steady while cutting.
Undersized Tenons: These usually indicate a blade that has been advanced too far. Back off the blade and try another cut.
Scalloped Tenons: Applying excessive force while cutting the tenon can result in the cutter advancing at a rate fast enough to make the tenon look like a coarse thread. Reduce the inward force applied to the drill or add shims to reduce the shaving thickness.
Continuing to rotate the tenon cutter clockwise while withdrawing it from the tenon can also cause the blade to cut on its return pass, leaving similar scallops. This is especially so on green wood, where some compression may have taken place as the tenon was being cut. Instead, pull the tenon cutter off the tenon with the drill switched off, either without rotating it, or by slowly rotating it counterclockwise.
Off-Center Tenons: Nothing can be done about the most common cause of off-center tenons natural variations in wood density and growth patterns.
The other cause, when the tenon wanders off-center during the initial shoulder cut, can be controlled to a degree. Smaller pieces have less tendency to exhibit this because the initial square-cut ends contact the bell-mouth at a fairly steep angle. Wood pieces that are near the upper limit of the tenon cutter's capacity contact the bell-mouth where that contact angle is much shallower, thus not as easily guided into the main bore. Press the drill hard into the wood piece, only until the tenon shoulder is formed. At that point, reduce the inward pressure; otherwise, a scalloped tenon may result. Putting a substantial chamfer on the end of a piece of wood that is at or close to the upper limit of the tenon cutter's capacity will make starting the cut much easier.
Partial Tenons: If the tenon cutter starts cutting, then fades and eventually stops cutting, this indicates that a minor blade adjustment is required. Advance the blade a half turn or less and retest.
If the blade adjustment does not solve the problem, another cause might be an off-center tenon. With large pieces of wood, the tenon may wander off-center, producing uneven shoulders and causing the tenon cutter to stop cutting. Remove some of the excess material to even out the shoulders, then continue to cut the tenon.
Uneven Grind When Resharpening: This usually happens when the drill-press table on which the tenon cutter is resting is not square to the quill. Adjust the table using a straight pin chucked in the drill press and a square on the table.
The other cause may be due to slight variation in diameter between individual sanding sleeves. The bevel on your blade may change slightly as a result, but this will not affect the performance of the tenon cutter.
© Veritas Tools Inc