How to Turn a Perfect Tenon

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Duration: 3:21

Mortise-and-tenon joinery is one of the most reliable we have, but if your tenons are not sized properly or they are inconsistent, it can be difficult to assemble your projects. Master woodworker George Vondriska reveals a shop trick that you can use to turn a perfect tenon for your woodworking projects.

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6 Responses to “How to Turn a Perfect Tenon”

  1. Ian

    We, in England (UK) use the correct size open mouth spanner to do these types of jobs they work exactly like your wooden template but with out the work of making a wooden test piece.
    We check the exact size of the drill bit we would be using by placing it into the jars of the spanner that way we know the hole and tenon will fit exactly.
    This way it’s less work and a lot faster.
    Ps it is possible to use a adjustable spanner providing you can lock of the adjustable mechanism. By engineering a thumb screw.
    The easiest way is to use duck tape.
    The safest way is just to use a solid open mouth spanner.


    Ian M Chadwick

  2. Jay

    IMHO, a digital caliper should work better (up to a diameter of about 3″). It would allow you to see how far you need to go and would check the diameter along the tenon’s entire length. A slightly tapered shape for the tenon might also work better when the hole isn’t perfect. And remember that you can’t fit a 1″ dowel into a 1″ hole – either the dowel needs to be slightly smaller or the hole slightly larger.

    • Customer Service

      Hi John. Comfortable lathe height is subjective, depending both on operator preference and the type of work being done. That said, a good starting point is to position the lathe so that the centers are positioned approximately at the height of your elbow, or just an inch or two below. Just as a reference point, I’m primarily a bowl turner with an elbow height of 45″, and my lathe centers sit at 43″ which works well for me.

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