Plant stand #2: Cutting mortises

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Blog entry by BJODay posted 03-08-2016 02:27 AM 867 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Small table for potted plants Part 2 of Plant stand series Part 3: Tenons and added detailing »

Here are the legs. They are cut to length. Originally I was going to make them 1.5” square. But I’ve decided to make them 1.5” x 2.0”. I’ll be cutting a taper on the lower 5” but that comes later.

I’ve laid out the mortises. I was going to make a 1/4” by 2” tenon so I marked up the mortises for that. Then I started thinking, (always a dangerous thing), a 1/4” mortise will be difficult to cut and clean out. So I changed to a 3/8” wide tenon and only 1.5” long, 7/8” deep.

I use a 3/8” drill bit and carefully drill at the ends of the mortise. Then I use a 1/4” bit to clear out material. The pencil lines were for the original plan of 1/4” tenons, that’s why they don’t line up with anything. When setting up the drill press I was careful to get the fence set just right. Then I do not move it until all the drilling is finished. If I have it set wrong the error will be consistent across all of the mortises.

Next I start squaring off and removing the waste using chisels. This takes some time but I find it very enjoyable. Here are the first 2 of 16 mortises.

Here are the rough rails. They need some joining to trim to size. I’ll work on the tenons after all of the mortises are cut.

Here is the top without clamps, cauls and wax paper. The glue up came out nice and flat. I may plane it slightly or possible sand it to even the surface out. I’m not quite up to hand planing it to finished dimensions. Maybe some day…

Maybe next time I’ll figure out how to reset the date on the camera. More to come next week.

4 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


4826 posts in 2235 days

#1 posted 03-08-2016 06:29 PM

Wow, drill press mortises look like a lot of work. Good progress so far.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2226 days

#2 posted 03-09-2016 03:27 PM

Coming along nicely

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View AandCstyle's profile


2540 posts in 1679 days

#3 posted 03-12-2016 10:59 PM

BJ, you are coming along nicely. When I cut mortises that close to the end of the stock, I leave the stock an inch or so long and cut it to length after the mortises are complete. That way there bis much less chance of blowing out the ends when squaring the mortise ends.

-- Art

View BJODay's profile


512 posts in 1365 days

#4 posted 03-13-2016 03:01 PM

I was originally going to make the tenon taller, but it would have been 1/4” from the end. I made them smaller to keep the distance from the edge a little longer. I’ll plan the next project with your advice in mind.

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