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February 11, 2010

Cutting Large Tenons for the Holtzapffel Workbench: Part II

There are a lot of good information in print and on the Internet about building the Holtzapffel workbench. Because of that, I don't want to duplicate the work of others that have done a great job in explaining overall how to build this awesome bench.

But as I was building mine, I came across obstacles I had to overcome just because of the sear size of the parts I was dealing with. So I thought I'd share some of the trickier parts in building this bench.

This is the second part of a two part video on methods of cutting tenons on our large 3" x 5 1/2" tree trunk legs.

Comments (2)


Thank-you for the video, your timing could not be better as I'm just starting to build a new bench for myself (another one). And I find I would be doing it as you have shown but with one exception. Instead of relying on the stop block on the miter gauge, I think it might be easier to use the saw fence as the limiting stop. By doing so it would not be necessary to change the blade height to finish the shoulder cut, but rather cut all the way across all 8 tenons at the fist height setting and then raise the dado blade one time, or more if needed, to reach the final depth on all 8 tenons.

What do you think?

Woodworkers Resource:


I'm surprised that I've not gotten more emails about how I cut the finished depth of the tenon on each leg and then went back and lowered the dado blade and cut the rest of the tenon. This isn't normally how I cut tenons.

The stop on the Osbourne Miter Gauge fence is designed to flip up out of the way so that once your first cut is made at the base of the tenon, you can then move the leg down and make the same depth cut all the way to the end of the tenon. This is a much more efficient way of cutting the tenons than I showed because you don't have to move the height of the blade back and forth, you make all the cuts at the same height before you have to move it.

The reason I did mine the way I did was I couldn't get the fence stop to flip up completely out of the way of the stock. It would flip up, but would hit the stock if I tried to slide it past. I soon discovered (after it was too late) that the stop was simply tighten too much and once I loosen it, worked properly.

I hope to do a review of the Osbourne Miter Gauge in an episode soon, which will show what I mean if none of what I just wrote makes any sense, (which is likely!).

Now to address your specific question. Your way of using the table saw fence as the stop will work, with one added safety step. Clamp a piece of wood to the fence end closest to you and use this as your distance stop. Once the stock moves past this piece of wood and before in enters the blade there will be an open space gap between the stock and the table saw fence. This prevents the stock from binding between the fence and blade which could cause kick back.

With that extra safety feature your way will work beautifully.

Let me know if you have any more questions and good luck on that bench!


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