Faster & Easier joinery

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 05-28-2010 04:17 PM 4213 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3314 days

05-28-2010 04:17 PM

I want a faster and easier way to do mortise and tenon joinery. I’ve spent at least a month considering the

Leigh mortising jigs
Wood rat
Router boss
Dowel Max
Rockler’s beadlock
Mortise Pal

Two objectives for me is to put a tenon (or loose tenon) on the end of a 6’ board and the ability to incorporate a provision for wood movement in some joints. Of course, I want a strong joint and I don’t want to spend more than I have to.

After all my consternation I’ve sort of decided that the Mortise Pal may be the right answer. Before I “pull the trigger” I’ll ask my LJ friends for any thoughts on these options and reasons why to buy or not buy the mortise pal.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

14 replies so far

View mikedddd's profile


147 posts in 3469 days

#1 posted 05-28-2010 04:36 PM

I think if you want to put loose tenon in six foot board the Mortise Pal would be easier to work with and is reasonable priced. I have a Leigh FMT it is fast and easy to set up and use, but to put a tenon in the end of a six foot board I still use my table saw with a tenon jig, I don’t have the Mortise Pal.

-- Mike

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3817 days

#2 posted 05-28-2010 04:40 PM

Hey Rich
I have a multi router but there are any number of shop made jigs on you tube that can do a good job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 3169 days

#3 posted 05-28-2010 06:15 PM

If you want a REALLY fast way….go buy yourself a kreg jig haha

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View wchips's profile


314 posts in 3328 days

#4 posted 05-28-2010 08:05 PM

I agree with Jim with the multi router. Some of those jigs could be complicated , I have a Leigh setup and nearly every time I use it I have to get the manual out.

-- wchips

View rcs47's profile


200 posts in 3369 days

#5 posted 05-28-2010 08:15 PM


I just went though the same process. I looked at the Leigh Super FMT, but the 6’ board issue was in the back of my mind too. I have the original beadlock system, but I have never liked the way it worked. I had to shave down their tenon stock to get it into a cross grain mortise. I’d gone back to a drill and chisel until about a month ago. That’s when I finally pulled the trigger on the MortisePal.

I’ve used it for a number of mortises in QSWO. Going in the end grain is a little hard, but I expected that. I’ve made mortises that were 4” long by sliding the jig along the stock, and the tenon stock to match without any problem. I don’t know why I waited so long to buy this thing.

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View cremar's profile


33 posts in 3461 days

#6 posted 05-28-2010 09:12 PM


I’m looking at the same products and am leaning towards the Dowel Max (although the Mortise Pal is running a close second). I like the idea of using a drill rather than the router propped up on the work piece. I haven’t tried either the Mortise Pal or Dowel Max, but it seems like the Dowel Max has slightly less chance for error. In my situation, I’d have to purchase the router bits and a router base for my router, so the difference in price wouldn’t be that much. I like that both products won’t take up much room in my shop. I tried the Beadlock Pro and it just wasn’t accurate enough. I’ll be interested to see what others think.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3314 days

#7 posted 05-28-2010 09:38 PM

My issue with the Dowel Max is sometimes I need a mortise that is a little longer than the tenon so there is some room for movement. I don’t see how to do that with the Dowel Max but I can see how to do it easily with the Mortise Pal. That is the primary reason I am leaning towards the Mortise Pal.

Furthermore, the Mortise Pal is cheaper. In my case, I already have needed router base and bits. I also have the ability to make my own tenons.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3907 days

#8 posted 05-28-2010 10:46 PM

I have had the Domino for a bit over two years now. I constantly find new uses for it above and beyond M&T’s, which it excells at. Should it ever break (doubtful) I will replace it with another one. Even if the price was double what it is now.
Also I don not believe any of the other options will do true angled tenons, but I may be wrong.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3526 days

#9 posted 05-28-2010 11:13 PM

Torque Work Centre

—Sorry Rich, I couldn’t resist

I also love my Domino



View Chinitorama's profile


105 posts in 3539 days

#10 posted 05-29-2010 09:42 PM

Found a Jessem pocket zip mortiser on sale. Not bad for the money and easy enough to make longer mortises if you make your own tenon stock. The Mortise Pal looks pretty sweet tho…

View poppatom's profile


116 posts in 3167 days

#11 posted 05-29-2010 09:51 PM

I have a Steelex mortising machine which I find to be an easy way for making mortises, but I still use the cabinet saw for zeroing in on the tenons.

-- Tom L. Williams ~ The difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys.

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3606 days

#12 posted 06-01-2010 03:00 AM

I also have a Festool Domino and it is really easy to use and makes moritses on long pieces of wood very easy.

I know when I am making a complected piece, I occassional for get to make a mortise. The stops make it easy to repeat the setup.

The ability to make angled mortises also makes it easier to make chairs.

A less expensive jig that does a lot is the Router Wizard made by Eagle Jigs. It does a lot of what the Domino does but takes more set up time. And it is more difficult to use on long pieces.


View Leoncit's profile


3 posts in 3737 days

#13 posted 04-25-2011 01:36 AM

I have several jigs and a few biscuit and dowel joiners. I use them all, but when I want to just make a few mortise and floating tenons I go to my Jessem Zip slot. I love the fact that it is very simple and completely dustless if you use a vacuum attachment. no cleaning after a few mortises is golden.
I do use it with a corded drill, My cordless drill doesn’t have enough hump for clean mortises

View jafet10's profile


5 posts in 3037 days

#14 posted 04-27-2011 01:38 AM

You might want to look at this homemade machine:

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