You don’t see bareface tenons discussed much, but they can sometimes be the right joint when you need some extra strength.
For those of you new to joinery, a bareface tenon is a tenon that is missing a face cheek. Instead, the face of the workpiece acts as a tenon cheek.
The primary disadvantage is you give up the face shoulder that can conceal the rim of your mortise. And you might be giving up a little strength against lateral forces – sometimes called racking forces.
But you get some real advantages, too. You can use a thick tenon and still have a beefy mortise wall. This is helpful with workbenches and many table constructions in my experience. It makes a joint that is robust enough for drawboring with little risk of you cracking the tenon or the mortise wall.
Plus, you have one less shoulder to fit – there’s no chance that an inside shoulder can interfere with the fit of the shoulder on the outside. Oh, and the joint is less work to make.
I wouldn’t use a bareface tenon when you could easily see the inside surfaces, and a ragged mortise wall might be evident. But for apron tables and the like, it’s definitely a joint to consider.
— Christopher Schwarz