Now that the stock was dimensioned, the easy part was over – it was time for the joinery.
As I mentioned previously, I had thicknessed my stock to 7/8″. The reason for this was to have a 1/4″ groove 1/4″ in from the back (inside) face of the frame, leaving 3/8″ on the front (outside) face. Since I was planning on using applied 1/4″ x 1/4″ moldings to dress up the frame/panel joint, this would yield an extra 1/8″ “step” at the top of the molding for more visual interest. After plowing a groove in a piece of test stock with the plow plane, I carefully transferred this spacing to my marking gauge in preparation for cutting the tenons.
I have a confession to make: I’m terrible at sawing tenon shoulders by hand. Cheeks are no problem, but my shoulders are hit or miss. Yes, I know I need more practice – I’m a bad galoot. But, for now, with 24 tenons to cut, I didn’t need to be making mistakes. So, with my tenons marked, I dropped my crosscut sled into place and set up to cut the shoulders on the tablesaw. This is still a tricky business. Remember, the tenons are offset towards the inside surface of the frame members. That means two separate setups, two series of cuts, and 12 chances to cut the shoulder on the wrong side, since each component has a tenon on each end. Never has good parts-marking and workflow organization been more crucial.
Ah! Success! Some of the shoulders are cut on all four sides, and some are cut on only three. The four-sided ones are for the internal stiles that separate the panels on the long sides, while the three-sided ones are the rails. Since these will go into through-grooves in the stiles, they will have a haunched tenon to fill the gap. The rough-cut version of one of these is shown below:
The haunch will be cut later during the fitting process.
As I said, I planned to cut the tenons by hand. So, it was time to get to sawing. 24 tenons later, I had a pile of rough-cut joinery all ready for final fitting. Surprisingly, though, I wasn’t that tired, as my Bad Axe large tenon saw makes short and easy work of such things.