A couple people have asked me recently about what I use to make the tapered mortises on things like this low bench (above). I have used this joint many times, for everything from sawhorses to tables. I love its simplicity and versatility; whether it is a utilitarian horse, or a more finished bench, the process is the same. The result is a solid, tight joint.
Windsor chair makers are very familiar with this joint, but the first time I used it was years ago when making a shaving horse according to These plans. Alexander also had plans for making a tapered reamer for tapering the leg mortises after boring a hole. I turned one (see top photo) on the pole lathe and it has done the job. I also cobbled together a rounding shave of sorts to make tenons that match the mortises. But chairmaker Tim Manney has taken things to a much higher level.
Tim makes and sells a gorgeous tapered reamer along the same lines but with some ingenious design adjustments and additions. You can read more about them on his blog. He also has some great plans for the matching tenon cutter. And then there’s his adze I’d like to try some day…
Whether you make your own, or pick one up from Tim, a tapered reamer opens up all sorts of possibilities.