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In response to a question regarding the use of some of the tools illustrated in Introduction to Blacksmiths tools, I will try to illustrate how they are used when making a tenon.

The tenon we are making is one that was used on a hanging basket.

The tools we are using are; butcher, side set, set hammer, and possibly a square edge block /hardie if your anvil does not have a good clean square edge.

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Before starting, the mating part, (in this case the backplate) was completed and ready for fitting, this gives a size to work to for the tenon to be made to fit, in this case we are using a square tenon (tenons can also be round) we punched a square hole and used a ball/bob punchto countersink it from the base side. This gave us the finished size for the tenon we have to make, and we can use the punched plate as a bolster to monkey/monkee the tenon to fit nicely


First the bar end was jumped up/upset to give more material to provide a firm joint and spread the loading, this could be equishaped as illustrated, or offset as in a heel bar for a gate or frame.


You are now ready to use the curved butcher to mark the shoulder all around for forming the tenon. the curved blade marks the corners of the bar, ensure the blade is square to the bar's axis, and that the angle side is facing the short end of the bar where the tenon is to be formed. you can then turn the bar 90 degrees and continue marking all four sides, this leaves a crisp shoulder to work from.

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Now using the side set start the tenon and either continue with this or if your hammer skills are good enough, forge the tenon to the to a near finished size equally from all four sides, using the existing hole in the backplate as a guide

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If the anvil edge is not a clean square corner, use square block/hardie but note a sharp edge in the corners at the base of the tenon is not desirable, and ensure there are no hot shuts or cracks in the metal. This can cause premature failing and fracture later.

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You can then tidy up and finish forge the tenon and mating faces using the set hammer


Until the tenon fits into the hole in the plate

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The tenon should be central to all sides, ensure it fits and beds down nicely by monkeying/monkeeing it by using the backplate over a bolster,( swage block, hardie hole or in this case the pritchel hole) of an appropriate size to support the work adequately as it is being bedded in.


I then allow the bar to cool, assemble and mark out for rivetting,the rivetting allowance is approximately one and a half times the thickness of the tenon, and then saw off excess.

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The workpiece is then ready to be finished for whatever you need for its other working end,

When the item is finished ready for fitting, reheat the tenon and using the leg vice or some other suitable method to hold it, rivet the item into place, use light rapid hammer blows working all around the tenon and keeping it straight to give an even head, and mainiain its squareness, you should be able to do this without having to reheat the rivet to finish, as it cools it should tighten further


Here are a couple of finished examples

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Hopefully this will clarify the use of these tools,

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Very nice! When I had to make several dozen tenons for a renaissance cooking implement I used my screwpress with a stop block and then a monkey tool to dress the transition. That's the neat thing about blacksmithing---many ways to accomplish the same goal and you can use the process that makes best use of your tools and skills!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I thoroughly enjoy these tutorials for many reasons but most importantly, for me as a beginner, they tell me what sort of tools I need to get added to my inventory. The example pics of your work that utilizes the tenon are particularly inspiring.

Very nicely done. Many thanks.

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