With the corners doweled and the sides drilled for the big spindles, we are ready to make tenons on those spindles. But how to do that without owning a lathe? There is a super-easy way, using any small router, mounted upside down under a piece of plywood or MDF. I had never tried it before, so I was happy to see how well it worked!
Tenon, by the way, is just a traditional word for any narrowing of a board or round piece so it will fit into a square or round hole in another piece, called a mortise. This creates a hard shoulder on the tenoned piece, which bumps up against the side of the mortised piece and makes this interlocking joint even stronger.
That little shoulder is important here. If you just drilled 1 in. holes in the sides of this table, and stuck the 1-in.-dia. dowels through, there would be nothing to stop those sides from collapsing inward. Hence the 7/8 in. holes and the need to make 7/8 in. tenons on those 1 in. dowels.
There is no way the sides will slip by those little shoulders. And as you’ll see later, when we pound wedges into the ends of those tenons, there will be no way the sides can pull off the tenons either.
Traditional joinery at its simplest! You can do it!
So let’s make those tenons. Here’s a great method anyone can handle.