What Size Tenon Cutter Should You Choose?

At Lumberjack Tools, we have nine assorted sizes of tenon cutters, ranging from 1/2″ to 3″. After you have chosen which series you want, the next step is to choose which size tenon cutter you should use. There are several factors to consider when choosing your cutter size.

1. Project
Depending on what project you will be making, size can be a significant factor. With the large variance in sizes, it is important to choose based on the types of projects you plan on making and what detail you plan to include in them.

Detailed Projects – Use the 1/2″ and 3/4″ Tenon Cutters

If you want to include detail in your projects, the smaller 1/2″ or 3/4″ tenon cutters are necessary to add to your collection. These cutters are perfect for chair spindles, detail on headboards, or hooks on a coat rack or tree. While you can use a larger tenon cutter for these projects, the smaller detail adds more character to the project. It helps create a more intricate design, taking your project to the next level when it comes to professional-looking furniture.

Standard Projects – Use the 1″, 1 1/2″ and 2″ Tenon Cutters
If you can only afford one tenon cutter, the 1 1/2″ tenon cutters are the most popular tools because they allow you to build most projects with a single size. In fact, all the plans in the 20-piece plan booklet included in each kit are based around the 1 1/2″ size tenon cutter.

One great benefit of ordering a 1 1/2″ cutter is that all our beginner’s kits come with a 1 1/2″ tenon cutter, 1 1/2″ forstner bit, and 20-piece plan booklet, and are the same price as the individual cutter itself. So, you get everything you need to get started for the same price as just buying the cutter itself. Awesome deal? We think so!

The 1″, 1 1/2″ and 2″ cutters are used in conjunction to work on most projects. The 1″ provides a more detailed look without going into as much intricate or fine detail as the 1/2″ or 3/4″ and is also a little more structural for a better overall “hold.” The 2″ is better for more structural projects such as swings and bunk beds. Ideally, a kit with all three sizes (1″, 1 1/2″, and 2″) would allow you to do virtually any project.

Big Projects – Use the 2 1/2″, 3″, 2″ XL and 3″ XL Tenon Cutters
Occasionally, you will run into a project that will require BIG tenon cutters. Some people like the look of large logs for railings or fences. In these cases, the 2 1/2″, 3″, 2″ XL, and 3″ XL cutters come in handy. They accept the largest size logs and create bigger tenons for a strong, structural hold for those BIG projects.

2. Log Size
Another key factor in choosing the correct tenon cutter size is ensuring that the cutter you choose has a large enough log capacity to accept the available logs.

Click HERE to see the max log capacities for each size tenon cutter.

A couple of notes to help when choosing:

  • The Industrial and Commercial Series Tenon Cutters have a larger log capacity than the Home and Pro. This is due to the mouth of the tool being wider because of the 60° tapered shoulder profile.
  • All logs are not perfectly round. If you measure the end and it is 2″, there may be parts of the log that may be smaller or larger throughout the log.
  • If ever in doubt, choose the tenon cutter that is slightly larger than the log you are using. This gives you a little bit of leeway when it comes to the max log capacity.
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