I wonder if the Mona Lisa’s smile was a cover up for a mistake. Seems like I’ve gotten pretty good at making mistakes in the shop. Hopefully, I’ve gotten just as good at fixing them.
It wasn’t the Mortise Pal’s fault. I was getting so wrapped up in my photo journalism that I made a common mistake. I lined the centerline of the jig with the wrong line on the target! As you can see from the pictures, instead of lining the jig up on the center I lined it up on one of the outside lines, with predictable results. Oh well, time for a design change. Fortunately I had not yet made the lid’s handle so I could still shape it to fit. First I had to fix the mortise. For this error I decided that two mistakes are better than one and simply cut another mortise centering the jig on the other outside line. This gave me a larger mortise than I had originally planned but it seemed to work out. You be the judge.
Aaaaaaaaargh! The Mortise Pal does give a clean and accurate cut, at least when you line it up correctly to begin with.
Not shown in the picture below, I first used a dado set (actually box joint blades), to trim the edge of the handle to fit in the mortise. You can barely see this on the bottom of the piece following. Then one of several dry fits before cutting, shaping, and sanding. This is the shape I had had in mind from the start. Just a little wider than I had planned.
I did draw a couple of arcs using a pie tin, but ended up using these as a rough guide and drew a shape free hand. I used my eye to do the rough shaping with a rasp before fine tuning the shape with the spindle sander. It is remarkable how accurate your eyes can be. Especially with bifocal contacts.
-- tim hill www.newcalshop.com