|Review by newTim||posted 12-23-2010 05:56 AM||8120 views||7 times favorited||14 comments|
Mortise Pal has re-designed their jig and the features are more than incremental. I’m an old fan of the MP jig having bought the first two models. I was real honored to be chosen by them to test their newest model. I started a blog about the test and now that I've been able to play around with the jig I will update it.
There have been many excellent reviews of the first models posted here on LJs. 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 www.mortisepal.com.
The basic concept of the jig hasn’t changed, but it has a much larger surface area which is really nice for adding stability when routing mortises in the ends of tall table or bed rails. The jig’s rails are wider and therefore, stronger. But the real big change is a wider slot to accommodate a larger guide bushing and a strategic cutout in the bottom of the guide’s slide that really facilitates chip and dust collection. In fact, I coupled the Triton router with its extra large dust port with this jig and the results were terrific. The new jig also comes with a centering bit and an adjustable stop that fits on either side of the jig for greater ease when duplicating cuts.
I forgot to mention they increased the font size of the template’s size. If you look at the left hand picture above you can see the size etched into the (slot) template above and left. They also now use steel screws instead of brass to hold the template in place. The picture on the right shows the progresion of the MP models. At top is the original.
You had better be prepared for the learning curve! It will take you all of fifteen seconds or so to figure out how to use it. And that assumes you didn’t watch the short videos on their website. With this jig you can make any arrangement of mortises and can even make holes for dowels. In fact, I use it to perfectly line up holes for barrel hinges.
I cannot recommend this jig highly enough. Of all the tools I own this one jig has produced the largest bang for the buck. It is extremely easy to use, is very accurate and safe, it produces perfectly matched mortises, it saves significant layout time, and it is easy to duplicate the setup regardless of how much time has passed between cuts. You can make your own tenons or you can purchase pre-sized stock from the MP website. The only thing I’d recommend is you get the long router bits as the bottom of the router sits above the piece you are working.
While I’m reviewing the jig itself, I would also recommend a visit to their website. It is loaded with examples of various applications, a couple of nice videos, and a user gallery showing real projects by real woodworkers.
-- tim hill www.newcalshop.com