How do you mortise?

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Forum topic by Manitario posted 12-14-2012 10:45 PM 1950 views 1 time favorited 66 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2386 posts in 1919 days

12-14-2012 10:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey all, I am curious how everyone cuts their mortise’s. I have tried a couple of different methods (hand cut, router, drill press) and not really been satisfied with ease and/or accuracy. I know that there are probably as many different ways of cutting mortises as their are LJ’s; how does everyone do theirs?

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

66 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3244 posts in 1712 days

#1 posted 12-14-2012 10:46 PM

I bought a Porter Cable mortising maching. Benchtop model and it works great for me.

View Brandon's profile


4145 posts in 1988 days

#2 posted 12-14-2012 10:49 PM

I really depends on the type of mortise for me. Larger ones I will drill out and square up with a 1/2” mortise chisel. Other ones, I’ll use a mortising machine for, especially when I have a lot of them to make.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View BigYin's profile


267 posts in 1453 days

#3 posted 12-14-2012 10:53 PM

mortising machine – chisel if i have to…

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


6304 posts in 1613 days

#4 posted 12-14-2012 10:53 PM

I cut my mortises incorrectly.
Once in a while it’s presentable.
Grandpa has the best solution.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2592 posts in 1288 days

#5 posted 12-14-2012 10:56 PM

Appropriately-sized Forstener bit in a drill press with depth stops set, then clean up with a hand chisel.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Manitario's profile


2386 posts in 1919 days

#6 posted 12-14-2012 10:56 PM

hmmm…mortising machine…I have been debating buying one and I am curious how many LJ’s use them…

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View BigMig's profile


329 posts in 1650 days

#7 posted 12-14-2012 10:59 PM

I’ve used a mortising attachment in a drill press and with careful setup – it works well.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View derosa's profile


1567 posts in 1872 days

#8 posted 12-14-2012 11:50 PM

Mortising machine for most, on the really big stuff drill and chisel.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 1270 days

#9 posted 12-15-2012 12:07 AM

Domino machine by Festool. Used to use a hollow chisel mortice attachment on my drill press.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View iamwelty's profile


254 posts in 2152 days

#10 posted 12-15-2012 12:09 AM

I have a cheap harbor freight mortiser- but I added a cross slide vice to it. I actually get great mortises that are uniform and very easy to set up.

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View pintodeluxe's profile


4098 posts in 1850 days

#11 posted 12-15-2012 12:11 AM

Benchtop mortising machine. Mine is a Delta. Never Looked back.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

500 posts in 1076 days

#12 posted 12-15-2012 12:11 AM

I use my CNC.

-- Mark Smith, Tracy, CA.,

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2614 days

#13 posted 12-15-2012 12:11 AM

I have a mortice machine and a Multi router. But it seems the festool domino might be a good way to go if you squeeze it in your budget.

-- Custom furniture

View GMatheson's profile


475 posts in 2006 days

#14 posted 12-15-2012 12:41 AM

I use a mortise machine. I have a Steel City. Sometimes I use the mortise chisels if I’m not in a rush.

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2006 days

#15 posted 12-15-2012 12:43 AM

I use a router to the depth of the haunch, then take out the full depth of the tenon with a benchtop morticer. This works for me because the hold down and fence on my morticer are pretty lame, the groove cut with the router keeps the mortice chisel in exactly the right place.

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