Tip 1 – Converting plans to tapered leg tenons

There are advantages to using tapered tenons over the simpler parallel sided joints. The best feature is that they tighten up every time the chair is sat on.

The diagram shows the layout and dimensions for rough-turning tenons from green wood. Using the dimensions shown, there will be sufficient wood to make the tenon when the wood has dried/shrunk.

The plans on this site are shown with straight tenons. To produce tapered tenons using the Veritas tapered tenon cutter (see Tip 2 below) make the tenon as shown here. The maximum diameter is 1 1/8″ at 2 5/8″ from the end of the leg. The smaller diameter must be greater than 5/8″.

Tip 2 – Making tapered tenons

I use the Veritas tapered tenon cutter and Axminster’s tapered reamer to make the joints. For the mortice, drill a hole 5/8″ in diameter and then ream it out as a separate operation. This can be done very successfully with a pillar drill set at a moderate speed. Drill a test mortice at the correct angle in a scrap piece of wood and use this to set the depth of reaming when you mortice the seat. You can do this with a hand drill, but the angles that you achieve will not be so consistent.

This joint is used in some of the chairs on this site between the arm post and the arm. In this case drill a 3/8″ diameter hole and ream it. A cordless drill is excellent for this job as so much less wood needs to be removed and maintaining the correct angle is easier.