Although there are three different sizes of tenon in this project, the mortises were all cut with the same chisel, so they all have similarites. With careful planning setups can be reduced and accuracy and speed gained.
I start with the faces of the tenon, as I find it easier to test fit the width than the height. The outside face of the tenon is first, as it's shoulder is already dictated by the leg layout. The majority of the waste is removed with the dado stack in the tablesaw.
The last 1/8" is climb cut by slowly pulling the stock backwards through the blade, resulting in a nice clean shoulder free of tearout.
The sides, front and back, and the drawer supports are all cut at this setting.
Then the inside, non-critical face is cut. I creep up on the perfect fit, cutting the cheek short of the shoulder until the tenon fits.
Next are the drawer supports. These are normally made of 4/4 stock but the design of this desk dictated that the drawers not go all the way across the front. These 8/4 supports act as a standoff.
Next up are the edges of the tenon, the top first as it's dimension is dictated by the distance from the top of the mortise to the top of the leg. I sneak up on the correct fit, taking shallow test passes until it's perfect.
The bottom edge is last, again I take shallow cuts until I like the fit. The tenon is upside down in the photo.
It's time to start assembly, beginning with the ends.
Before it goes completely together, I cut a stopped dado with a router in the middle of the back rail. The end gets squared up by chisel.
Once the framework is clamped up and I can get an accurate measurment, a center divider is made.
The back is glued and hung in the stopped dado, the front is glued and screwed to the front rail.
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