I want to make whirligigs for an upcoming fall craft show. The problem I have is with the joint where I want to mount to a 3/4″ aluminum post. It calls for a (1 x 1 x 2) wooden plug attached to the end of the post. I need to cut some kind of round tenon on the plug so it can be inserted inside the post. Can your experts tell me an economical way of making this joint? I have most of your standard woodworking tools. I’ve seen tenon cutters for the drill press; that seems to be reasonable, but I’m not sure if it will cut deeply enough. Here’s an illustration of what I need to make. Thank you for any advice or tips. – Kenneth Clark
Chris Marshall: Kenneth, the easiest tool I can think of for making a round tenon is a lathe. It’s a simple spindle-turning operation to create a round tenon, and a lathe will allow you to make tenons of any length or diameter with great precision. Or, see our April 2013 print issue article for building “A Basic Ladderback Chair” (page 68). We developed a simple scrap-made jig for cutting round tenons on the router table in that article. The jig appears on April’s cover and in a sidebar on page 72. Rob Johnstone also demonstrates its use in a “More on the Web” video for April.