The Re-designed Mortise Pal #1: Evolution to Excellence

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Blog entry by newTim posted 12-05-2010 11:14 AM 6449 reads 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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If you didn’t have to improve a great product would you bother? Would your improvements be incremental or would you really go for it? This is a blog not just about the simplicity and functionality of this jig, but also the progression of the inventor’s ideas and how they are incorporated into the latest model.

For those not familiar with this tool, it is a router jig that facilitates perfectly sized and matched mortises for fixed or loose tenon joinery. It was won many awards including a Five Star Rating by Wood Magazine and has been widely praised in many reviews and videos including here on LJs. I posted my initial review on January 23rd, 2009. Just about a year ago Gord Graff posted a video review that really shows the jig's potential. You can find the detailed specs and other information including applications, videos, reviews, and a user gallery on their website at

The picture below shows the evolution of the jig from the first version at top to the latest version at the bottom. After purchasing the first model I was immediately happy with the ease of use and the repeatable results. But I had wished they would make a wider jig to straddle larger stock. When the second model was offered for sale I purchased one and used it extensively on a variety of projects. Some of these are the Japanese Garden Bench which required 78 mortises, and the Arched Bed in which I used the jig to join coopered sections to make a 90 degree bend in the footboard and other joinery. I’ve also used it on night-stands, tables, gates, dressers, and other items.

In this series I will go through the process of testing out the new jig (so it is more than a review) and will focus on the details that, I believe, have served to improve an otherwise excellent product. But first, in the interest of full disclosure, I need to say that while I bought the first two models with my own moola, the makers of the jig sent me one of the new models so I could test it out. Having gotten that out of the way I can tell you that you might wish to email a link of this blog to the North Pole because there are two types of woodworkers; those who already have a MP jig and will want the new model, and those who do not already own one, so they get to have the new model.

-- tim hill

2 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2850 days

#1 posted 12-05-2010 12:29 PM

looking forward to it Tim.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3302 days

#2 posted 12-05-2010 05:48 PM

I also have the mortise pal and have used it extensively. Excellent tool.

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