LumberJocks

Building my Workbench #8: Chisels be Cryin'

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by HokieKen posted 04-03-2017 11:49 AM 859 reads 0 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Brief update and vise opinion solicitations Part 8 of Building my Workbench series Part 9: One Day I Might Finish this Beast! »

OMG, I am horrible with this blog huh?


Swaps been over for awhile now slacker…..I need an update.

- ki7hy

Fair enough ;-P I really hadn’t made any progress since the last update other than getting the end vise installed and drilling my dog/holdfast holes until last week. I did have a couple of days last week that I got good time and I got my legs all milled and got the tenons cut. So now I’m marking out and cutting my mortises. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be done with them by the next Summer Olympics.

So, I promise a full update soon complete with pics but for now, I need some advise…

Up until now, any M&T joints I’ve done have been either done using the drill press or router table to do most of the work and then clean up with chisels. Well, that ain’t happenin’ with this benchtop. At first, I thought I’d just rough out the bulk of the waste with a forstner and hand drill. Ha Ha. Tried my cordless and corded drill. Too much for them. For reference, my legs are 3.5” x 6.5” and tenons are about 2” x 4” and are 2” long. So my mortises need to be 2×4 and ~2-1/16 deep.

So then I figured, I’ll just do this like a big ole’ bad ass macho man and chop the whole thing. Yeah, I’m neither bad assed nor macho evidently. Not that I can’t get it done this way but what you see in the pic above is roughly 1/4” deep and my chisel hates me…

Well, not the chisel so much. It’s an old Witherby 1/2” mortise chisel and it’s doing admirably. Problem is the handles! I bought the chisel last summer and turned an ash handle for it but this is the first time I’ve really pounded the sucker. Well that ash split right down the middle not long in. It happens, probably just bad luck on the turning blank I used. So I grabbed a piece of scrap hickory and turned another handle real quick so I could get back at it. Well, when I got to the point in the pic above, a big chunk broke out of that handle too! Not sure what the deal is. I’m using a wooden mallet. Anyway, I turned another handle yesterday from cherry but on this one, I put a stack of leather washers on the business end. It looks really nice so I hope it holds up!

Back to matter at hand though. How should I make these mortises? I have a brace but have never had much luck getting good, clean, straight holes using an auger and it would be a lot of work roughing out all 4 mortises with a 1” auger bit anyway.

My thinking now is to make a jig and use my plunge router and a guide bushing to cut to size/depth then just pare the corners with a chisel. Problem is I don’t have a bottom cleaning bit that’s long enough so I’ll have to buy a new bit.

Better ideas? PLEASE?! Maybe chopping with a bigger bench chisel would be better than the smaller mortise chisel? I’ll play around and see what works. Just a new process for me and I don’t want to be at it for a month so I’m hoping some of y’all with more experience can throw me a bone!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!



29 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

1530 posts in 400 days


#1 posted 04-03-2017 12:32 PM

Kenny – Can you not bore a series of holes with a 1/2” or 5/8” auger bit and then use your 1/2” mortise chisel to clean up … or for that matter an 1-1/2” bench chisel (??) ... looks like you are trying to take out too much waste at once … baby steps my friend, baby steps!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

3042 posts in 1030 days


#2 posted 04-03-2017 12:48 PM

You can use a spiral up bit in your router. But I did as Ron suggests, except I used a 1/2in mortice chisel and a 1” firmer. I also agree you are trying to take too much out at once.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan)

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

3042 posts in 1030 days


#3 posted 04-03-2017 12:49 PM



You can use a spiral up bit in your router. But I did as Ron suggests, except I used a 1/2in mortice chisel and a 1” firmer. I also agree you are trying to take too much out at once.

Also you don’t need a bottom cleaning bit. Who’s going to see the bottom.
- Combo Prof


-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan)

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4095 posts in 891 days


#4 posted 04-03-2017 01:11 PM

You guys make good sense. It just seems like SO MANY holes to bore with an auger bit. Maybe in the long run, that’s the way to go though? Maybe I’ll give it a go on one of the mortises and see how it goes. I hate to buy a long router bit just for this. I guess my biggest fear is not keeping the bit square and cutting the mortises over-sized. I can always shoot to be a little under-size though then pare the walls with a chisel.

Your right Don, I guess the bottom really doesn’t need to be clean.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ki7hy's profile

ki7hy

2410 posts in 492 days


#5 posted 04-03-2017 04:59 PM

Ron’s jig is good with a brace. Also the router is good for electrons. I also agree your chomping to much in the oak. If I were you and you wanted it done quicker/easier I would build a template and use the router. Whiteside bit I think is like $18 for what you need (totally going off memory which from what I remember means nothing).

Ron’s jig is pretty good though if you want to own the hand tool thing.

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

1738 posts in 693 days


#6 posted 04-03-2017 05:15 PM

Kenny you could try using a block of wood as a drill bit guide and a 1/2” brad point bit. Set the bit in the drill so it cuts to the depth you need – the drill bottoms out on the chuck. That way to don’t have to be concerned with the depth. Then drill as many holes in the mortise as you can fit. Then clean out the mortise with a good sharp bench chisel. Maybe start each mortise as you did so you have a good clean opening and the pattern set.

Edit: I guess I should add – the drill bit block should be wide enough to span the mortise when at the extreme end of the opening so it always registers agains the underside of the top. This is the way I’d do it. The 1/2” bit will hve no problem with the oak. Cleaning out the waste wouldn’t take much time. Using the auger will give you a nice workout though ;)

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4095 posts in 891 days


#7 posted 04-03-2017 05:16 PM

Yeah, I’ll give the brace a shot first. If that don’t get the job done, I’ll order a new router bit.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

1530 posts in 400 days


#8 posted 04-03-2017 05:18 PM



Yeah, I ll give the brace a shot first. If that don t get the job done, I ll order a new router bit.

- HokieKen

Eat your Wheaties … and take a couple of Advil …

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

3042 posts in 1030 days


#9 posted 04-03-2017 06:00 PM

Are you going to add a sliding deadman? If so then get a 1/2 spiral up router bit. If you need a cheap beefier router
get the drill master from HF plus the router controller. Or auger out many holes.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan)

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4095 posts in 891 days


#10 posted 04-03-2017 06:11 PM

I’m all set for router and bits for the most part Don. Just don’t have a bottom-cleaning bit that’s long enough for these mortises. No deadman at this time but I have a plan in case I decide to add one down the road though. I just don’t think I’ll ever need one between my long end vise and a leg vise with dog/holdfast holes in the opposite leg, I think I’ll be good for workholding.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

8970 posts in 2204 days


#11 posted 04-03-2017 09:25 PM

Kenny, I went the brace bit route for my bench build. All of the mortises including the BenchCrafted Criss Cross on the leg vise.

Actually laid out a grid then drilled.

Chop on the leg vise

My preferred depth stop( a commercial version of Ron’s)

Then cleaned the edges with a wide chisel and the bottoms with a router plane extended as far as it would go!

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4095 posts in 891 days


#12 posted 04-03-2017 10:11 PM

You make it seem so simple…. ;-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

1530 posts in 400 days


#13 posted 04-03-2017 10:29 PM


... my preferred depth stop( a commercial version of Ron s)
 

- theoldfart

Kevin, you bought that? It looks like a curb feeler off of a 1952 DeSoto … LOL!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

8970 posts in 2204 days


#14 posted 04-03-2017 11:10 PM

Well, wouldn’t that make it vintage seeing as you and I are of that age?

Ken all it takes is time and a pot of strong coffee!

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

3193 posts in 1621 days


#15 posted 04-04-2017 12:33 AM

Speaking of simple, check this out, ken: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q_NXq7_TILA

Technique is the key to effective hand mortises. Paul Sellers is the king.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

showing 1 through 15 of 29 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com