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Mortising with a Router

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Forum topic by jpw1995 posted 03-22-2007 05:13 PM 2723 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jpw1995

376 posts in 3053 days


03-22-2007 05:13 PM

I’ve done very few mortise and tenon joints, but on the few that I have done, the mortises have been made with a drill press and some less than perfect chisel work. I’ve read some less than flattering reviews on drill press mortising attachments, and a dedicated mortising machine is not in the budget right now. An upcut spiral bit is within the budget, however. I’m considering building a simple mortising jig for my router (thank you ShopNotes) and trying my hand at this method of mortising. Does anyone use this method, or have you used this method in the past? If so I’d really like to get some opinions from you on how accurate and quick, or how inaccurate and slow, the router can be at making mortises.

-- JP, Shelbyville, KY


23 replies so far

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2992 days


#1 posted 03-22-2007 05:17 PM

If you are talking about the Mortising Jig in Shopnotes Issue 90 I made that jig, and have used the jig on two tables so far and it keeps getting better.

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Bill

2579 posts in 2916 days


#2 posted 03-22-2007 05:19 PM

Obi had a design that he used, maybe it was from ShopNotes. Anyway, he liked the jig, and did what he needed.

All the videos I have seen, articles I read, say how fast and easy it is to make a mortise with a router. I plan on trying it soon, as the drill and chisel method have not yielded the quality I want in my joinery.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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Bill

2579 posts in 2916 days


#3 posted 03-22-2007 05:20 PM

See, we were posting at the same time.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View BassBully's profile

BassBully

259 posts in 2851 days


#4 posted 03-22-2007 05:24 PM

JP,

I have a Delta mortising attachment for my drill press. I haven’t had any problems with it. The only thing I don’t like is that It isn’t a dedicated mortising machine so I have to remove the attachment when I need to drill holes. I suppose you’d have to so the same thing with a router.

I’ve done mortises with the router as well and like that method too. I would look into using a spiral bit so the saw dust is ejected out of the hole you’re making.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

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Obi

2213 posts in 2992 days


#5 posted 03-22-2007 05:27 PM

I only use this router for this jig… Here’s the actual jig, and here is the actual mortises
and this was the last picture of the coffee table

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jpw1995

376 posts in 3053 days


#6 posted 03-22-2007 05:31 PM

That’s the jig I was talking about, and if it’s good enough for Obi then it’s good enough for me.

Obi…. nice shades/safety glasses.

BB, I found a 3 bit set of spiral upcut bits from MLCS on Amazon. It’s a $70 set of bits on sale for $50. I think I’m going to give that a shot.

-- JP, Shelbyville, KY

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2916 days


#7 posted 03-22-2007 05:36 PM

Those mortises look great Obi.

JP - you can order directly from MLCS as well, and get the same prices usually. Check out their site – MLCS Woodworking.

If you look on Amazon, I think you can find Mortise machines are not that expensive. either.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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Obi

2213 posts in 2992 days


#8 posted 03-22-2007 05:40 PM

Amazon has the Delta (ranked #1) for about $250 and the 3-bit set was around $40.00

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jpw1995

376 posts in 3053 days


#9 posted 03-22-2007 05:44 PM

Here is the set from MLCS. You’re correct, Bill. They have the same price as Amazon.

-- JP, Shelbyville, KY

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1489 posts in 2880 days


#10 posted 03-22-2007 07:59 PM

I haven’t done much in the way of mortising yet, but I had to knock out 8 identically placed recesses for my removable stair rail with the Festool MFS and I’m no longer scared of mortises. The only difference between my recesses and a mortise was depth. I’ll probably try the MFS first when I do mortises (someone stop me before I enter the side table challenge…). That’d solve both the clamping and the length of the cut issue.

But that’s not a cheap option.

I don’t know what other routers have, but Obi’s Shop Notes mortising jig looks like what’d happen if I got a second Festool edge guide for my router, so you might check to see if the rail spacing on your router matches Festool’s or if you can build something that clips on to your router rails, if clamping something on to the router rail slots would be a faster option than changing out a base plate (I’m not sure it is, but something about diddling with those little screws feels slow).

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View fred's profile

fred

256 posts in 2853 days


#11 posted 03-22-2007 08:06 PM

I made a jig for mortising that is a box with only three sides. I put the piece in the box and would shim it so it doesn’t move. I use an edge guide on the router.

BUT, I really like the jig Obi uses. I am going to make one. It looks like an easy answer.

Someday in the future I may get the Festool Domino and won’t need a jig.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

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jpw1995

376 posts in 3053 days


#12 posted 03-22-2007 08:38 PM

Fred – I think most of us would like to have the Domino in our shops. It sure does look like it would make life easy. I’ve liked Obi’s jig since I found the plan for it online. I’m glad he was able to give me a good review. If you build one let me know how you like it, and I will do the same.

-- JP, Shelbyville, KY

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2842 days


#13 posted 03-23-2007 12:55 AM

Have you been over to www.eaglelakewoodworking.com?
He has a motorized router lift setup that is not expensive to make and seems to work great. I’m thinking of adapting my router to do that.
Lee

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

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Obi

2213 posts in 2992 days


#14 posted 03-23-2007 03:28 AM

I just watched that video and it didnt look that simple to me. Mine sits on top of the piece, I clamp the piece so it doesn’t move and then move the router. So far I’ve yet to see a simpler method.

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RusticBru

89 posts in 2866 days


#15 posted 03-23-2007 05:40 PM

I’ve mentioned the Steel City mortiser once before. This is a relatively new company of woodworkers building tools for woodworkers. This mortiser is, of course, dedicated to it’s purpose. It is precise and easy to use. I have been just thrilled since I purchased it several months ago.
www.steelcitytoolworks.com

Bruce

-- RusticBru of Utah, bpsheelydesigns.com

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