Despite all the advances in joinery methods and
technology these days, the good old mortise and tenon joint still remains
one of the more popular joints for cabinet and furniture builders around
the world. It offers a solid, strong joint, that when combined with
today's quality glues, is hard to break!
Constructing mortise and tenon joints is a time consuming
process. Originally hand crafted with chisels and saws, the joint could
take a good hour or more to construct and perfect. These days, however,
the process is somewhat easier and faster with new chisel mortising
machines and table saws and routers that can create tenons very quickly
The table saw, combined with a bandsaw, can make tenons
relatively quickly, but to make the process safer and more accurate, the
table saw owner requires a tenoning jig. Today we will look at the Delta
34-184 Universal Tenoning jig to see how it stacks up.
Packaging and Assembly
The Delta 34-184 tenoning jig is packaged well in formed styrofoam and
coated in copious amounts of grease/oil. It's always a great feeling
to have your hands coated in grease from a new tool package, isn't it? At
least you know its probably brand new! Anyway, after using half a bottle
of mineral turpentine to clean up all the parts, assembly could begin. The
grease had successfully inhibited all rust from the parts, which is a good
Instructions for assembly are supplied, and these are easy
to follow. Assembly takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on how fast you
are with Allen wrenches. I recall some woodworkers who had purchased
similar tenoning jigs (not necessarily the Delta brand) having issues with
burrs on the base of the jig, which leaves nice scratches and marks on the
table saw surface. As a result, I quickly checked mine over and am happy
to report that it looked and felt clean and smooth. The manual recommends
coating all unpainted surfaces with a rust-inhibiting protectant, so I
applied a non-silicon paste wax to these areas, and to the base which
helps it glide across the table saw surface easier as well.
The last step is adjusting the miter guide bar to the slots
in your table saw. The adjustable bar means this jig can accommodate small
variances in table saw miter slots that you might find across various
manufacturers. Getting a snug fit in the miter slot is important, but you
don't want it so snug that it becomes difficult to slide along. After an
additional 15 minutes of guide bar adjustment and checking the tenoning
jig was square with the table etc, we were ready to go!
- Adjustable Guide Bar for snug fit into miter slots
- Can be used on both left tilt and right tilt table
- Rapid and fine position adjustment
- 2 jig handles for improved user safety
- 2 Year Limited Warranty
Before using the 34-184 tenoning jig, we made sure we had it fine tuned to
our saw for best accuracy. The function of the tenoning jig
is quite simple. Basically, the tenoning jig allows you to hold lengths of
material upright safely while you pass it through the blade. You could
also use it to cut a slot in the end of timber if you had a need to do so,
for spline or key-type joints if you had no other easier method of
achieving this. The thickness of the slot is initially determined by your
blade width, but with fine adjustments, you can widen the slot to your
needs. Attempting this by hand would be quite fool hardy, particularly
with long, narrow stock.
The clamping arm on the 34-184 is adjustable to accommodate
various sizes, and thicknesses of material, and provides a solid grip on
the workpiece, achieved by winding the clamping handle in and out. The
design of this handle makes the clamping task quick and easy, and most
importantly, comfortable as well. We we able to clamp and unclamp pieces
very fast with this jig, which saves time and improves productivity if
working in a commercial setting.
Setting up the piece to cut tenons can take time as a new
user of such a jig. After you have made shoulder cuts for the tenon, you
can set the workpiece in the tenoning jig to make the cheek cuts.
Adjusting the workpiece to achieve the correct position to cut the cheeks
can be achieved via rapid, or fine jig adjustments. To move the work
support plate quickly, you must loosen the triangular (delta) locking
knob, press down on the quick release button just behind it, then slide
the jig in macro movement in or out as necessary. Fine adjustments are
made by keeping the lock knob loosened, then turning the fine adjustment
knob on the far left of the tenoning jig. Each full turn will equate to
roughly 1/16" of movement. A graduated measure is cut into the adjustment
bar to allow some accuracy when fine-tuning the position of the jig. Once
you have the workpiece positioned for the cheek cut, remember to
re-tighten the lock knob to keep it in place, check the piece is secured
firmly in the jig, check your saw blade height, then switch on the machine
ready for the cut. Note that you have to remove your saw blade guard and
splitter to make the cuts, so extra caution is needed.
The guide bar does feature two round washer-type plates
that will fit some T-shaped miter slots to eliminate the possibility of
the jig raising up out of the miter slot during the cut. these can be
removed for those miter slots that do not have the T-slot feature.
Ok so with everything ready to go, and saw blade spinning,
grasp the two handles on the left side of the jig and move the jig
forward, running the workpiece through the blade to make the cut. You can
bring the jig back past the spinning blade relatively safely because the
workpiece should be clamped firmly in the jig, although do note that Delta
recommends that you turn the saw off before bringing the jig and workpiece
back past the blade. You may find the offcut sometimes comes whizzing back
at you, but generally it is a small piece, plus you should always stand
out of the line of the blade anyway for any table saw cut. Keeping your
hands on the handles ensures your precious body parts stay well away from
the spinning blade during the cut, a good safety feature. After one side
is cut, you can unclamp, turn the workpiece around, reclamp, and cut the
other cheek of the tenon. Alternatively you could make multiple passes to
remove material, eliminating the need to make shoulder cuts to begin with,
although we found this took much longer, particularly if you have multiple
tenons to create.
If you need to make angled tenons, the Delta 34-184
Tenoning Jig will suit this operation. It features an adjustable backstop,
which can be tilted backward to accommodate angled cheek cuts. What it
does not have is an angle gauge to aid in setting the stop, although this
is not really necessary as you can set it with the end of your angled
workpiece resting flat on the table.
Fit, finish, and accuracy are all there, as is sturdiness of
construction. The Delta 34-184 Universal Tenoning jig is a heavy piece of
equipment, but this assures safe and accurate woodworking practice. It
performs the tasks it is designed to perform extremely well. Best of all,
there is little or no maintenance to be carried out on such a product,
except to check occasionally that everything is still square to your table
and blade. For the furniture/cabinet makers, and table saw owners among
us, the Delta 34-184 is certainly one piece of equipment that no workshop
should be without. Highly recommended!
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Universal Tenoning Jig
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Delta 34-184 components unpackaged and ready for assembly.
Graduated scale makes positioning for cuts a little easier.
Quick release clamping arm/handle
Coarse and fine adjustment is achieved by loosening the l
Angular backrest support allows you to cut angled tenons
Hands safely out of harm's way.
Blade height set and ready to go!
Making the first cut to complete
A completed tenon. Looks good doesn't it?