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The Morley Mortiser

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Project by Rich posted 04-14-2018 08:35 PM 1828 views 16 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been looking around for ideas for a mortising jig for the router. Most of what I’ve found up to this point is pretty makeshift, either using the edge guide for the router with some stops, or requiring different jigs for each size.

I first came across Philip Morley’s web site when I was researching Krenov-style saw horses. Philip is the product of a London trade school and two apprenticeships under master furniture makers. As a result, his work is impeccable. It’s a joy to watch how systematically he works.

When I saw his plans for his Morley Mortiser, I realized it was exactly what I was looking for. It combines many of the features of expensive commercial jigs, but with a price tag that fits any budget. I rarely — no, make that never — work from plans, and while I’m sure I could have copied the idea, I thought a set of plans with all of the details and measurements figured out would save me a lot of time. I downloaded a set of free plans from his site for another project and saw what good quality Philip’s plans provided, so I ordered the plans for the mortiser.

It’s a fairly easy build for someone with experience. You have to be very precise cutting the dadoes for the runners, but mine came out perfectly. It happened that the 3/4” plywood I had lying around was pre-finished, and in hindsight, I think it was a good thing to use since it reduces friction between the top and sub-top. I also used some Behlen Slideez between the tops and on the runners and it glides very smoothly.

I already had the MicroJig clamps and the dovetail bit for cutting the slots in the front plate. The clamps are a key element to how versatile this jig is because they slide into the dovetail slots and allow you to clamp the boards to the plate in pretty much any orientation.. Also, the sliding top table and centering target lines make it repeatable and very accurate. I like that it’s made for a 5/8” bushing, so you can use any size bit you want. His method for calculating the travel for the length of the mortise and cutting a reusable spacer block with centering line for setting the stops is brilliant and works perfectly. The way I work, I’ll be making them as I go and storing them with pre-made strips to cut loose tenons from.

Overall, it was a fun project to build and one I’ll get a lot of use out of.

For a detailed video of the mortiser and how it’s used, head on over to Philip’s web site and watch. You can order a set of plans while you’re there.

https://philipmorleyfurniture.com/plans/mortiser/

I also posted a review of the plans over in the reviews: http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/11089

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner





14 comments so far

View Joe's profile

Joe

444 posts in 1138 days


#1 posted 04-14-2018 09:10 PM

That’s a great job. Excellent construction, and your narrative was easy to follow even for us half wits. Lumberjocks is lucky to have you. Thanks for inspiring

-- CurleyJoe, "Your Jigs are only as good as they are convenient"

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

975 posts in 546 days


#2 posted 04-14-2018 10:27 PM

Nice work Rich. That will be very handy for sure!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

3175 posts in 640 days


#3 posted 04-14-2018 10:49 PM


Nice work Rich. That will be very handy for sure!

- TungOil

It’s my poor man’s FMT, Tung! Well, really FM since it doesn’t do T’s :)

Thank you though. The real credit goes to the designer.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

3175 posts in 640 days


#4 posted 04-15-2018 02:24 AM

It’s great to get another Daily Top 3, but as I said earlier, the real credit goes to Philip Morley of Philip Morley Furniture who designed it and published the plans that I used.

If you’re not familiar with Philip, he’s an amazingly talented woodworker and great teacher. Check him out on his website, and be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5227 posts in 2460 days


#5 posted 04-15-2018 04:04 AM

Interesting build. Had to watch video to get how it worked, but then I am slow sometimes… LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View playingwithmywood's profile

playingwithmywood

422 posts in 1648 days


#6 posted 04-15-2018 05:29 AM

It s my poor man s FMT, Tung! Well, really FM since it doesn t do T s :)

Thank you though. The real credit goes to the designer.

- Rich

It seems like it could be easily made to to tounges…. start with a new top plate with a big rectangle hole and then uses two shims in the rectangle on at a time to make the right location to route and use to shims one for the say faces and the other for the sides of the tenon all you when need to do you would use each shim twice for each parallel groups of sides

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4821 posts in 2402 days


#7 posted 04-15-2018 02:37 PM

Looks like a great jig, thanks for posting.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Rwolinski's profile

Rwolinski

65 posts in 376 days


#8 posted 04-15-2018 06:50 PM

Nice job

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

12565 posts in 2918 days


#9 posted 04-16-2018 05:20 AM

Very sofisticated and good looking jig.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2675 posts in 2328 days


#10 posted 04-17-2018 10:05 PM

Thanks for sharing this great idea, posting the website, and your own experience using it. Added to favorites !

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10598 posts in 3479 days


#11 posted 04-23-2018 03:27 PM

That’s sweet, Rich. Thanks for posting.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Kelster58's profile

Kelster58

670 posts in 591 days


#12 posted 04-29-2018 09:21 AM

Very nice.!! Thanks for sharing !!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8237 posts in 2628 days


#13 posted 05-06-2018 05:25 PM

I like the centering block, great ideas thanks for posting.

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

3175 posts in 640 days


#14 posted 05-06-2018 07:39 PM


I like the centering block, great ideas thanks for posting.

- waho6o9

Philip is an amazing guy. I learn something every time I watch his videos. That centering block and the target system in general is how the premium commercial jigs work. I would never have thought of it myself.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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