270 – Powermatic PM-TJ Tenoning Jig
Video - September 23, 2016
There’s no shortage of methods for making mortise and tenon joints. Many of them rely on the tablesaw but the results are not always perfect. The classic table saw tenoning jig improves on this by holding the workpiece vertically allowing the cheek cuts to become “rip” cuts resulting in a nice smooth repeatable cut. Tenoning jigs haven’t changed in decades and most of them look like they came out of the exact same factory. While they are serviceable, there certainly was room for improvement. No one bothered until now. Enter the Powermatic PM-TJ Tenoning Jig. It’s lighter, it’s more accurate, it’s easier to adjust, and it just looks cool!
Setup & Performance
After unboxing, I went through the calibration process outlined in the manual. This only takes a few minutes and once you do a test cut, you have an opportunity to use the micro-adjustment dial to fine-tune the jig. I assumed that from that point on I’d likely have to use the micro-adjustment dial to fine tune all future cuts, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t true. Once calibrated, the jig seemed to work flawlessly no matter the size of the tenon or the size of the workpiece. As long as you’re consistent about the amount of pressure you apply to your stop blocks when doing the setup, you will likely never need the micro-adjust. I thought this was pretty remarkable and that’s why I chose the two tenon setup as part of this demonstration.
Should You Buy One?
Obviously this is a difficult question for me to answer because it depends on your personal situation. But if you make a lot of classic mortise and tenon joints where the mortises are cut with either a router or a hollow chisel mortiser, this is a jig you should probably consider. Just note that if you do angled tenons, you might have to build an add-on that screws to the face plate. While the jig does allow angled cuts from front to back, it does not pivot from side to side. The older tenoning jigs DO adjust in both directions. In all the years I’ve owned a tenoning jig I can only think of one occasion where I needed the side to side angle feature but depending on the work you do, this might be a consideration.
All told, this jig does one job and it does it remarkably well. It’s a significant improvement over the “hunt and peck” style setup of the older jigs and produces perfect results without ever having to measure or draw layout lines. If you’re in the market, check it out!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored video. Powermatic provided me with the jig in exchange for review/exposure. They did not, however, influence the opinions expressed in the video and writeup.