Mortise decision help

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Forum topic by CherryPicker posted 02-17-2013 01:56 PM 1018 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2929 days

02-17-2013 01:56 PM

Hey, I’m building a work bench (wordsmith heritage workbench) It requires 1” wide, 2” deep, 8” long mortises in the legs. The plans call for using a plunge router using a couple of different bits using a jig? I have a dedicated mortiser, but a 2” deep mortise might be a little two much!. I thought about just removing waste with a forester bit then using the mortiser to clean up the joint?

I like the idea of using the router, but I’m not sure what bit(s) to use, also I’ll assume I need to use a collar on the router to ride along any jig I make. Do they sell a bit that will cut 2” deep?

Any advise would be appreciated!

5 replies so far

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2919 days

#1 posted 02-17-2013 02:07 PM

They do make router bits that are that deep, but I personally like the idea of drilling it out and cleaning it up with a chisel, mainly because I don’t like all the set up involved in routing it out. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View MJCD's profile


540 posts in 2339 days

#2 posted 02-17-2013 02:10 PM

Whiteside sells a 1/2” bit (up-spiral all-carbide) that fills this need – it’s an excellent bit, about $45.

Everyone has their favorite mortising approach: a 2” mortise is deep, and will require several pass – if done safely – to complete. The issue with the forstner-router bit approach is exactly aligning the two cuts. My preferred approach to this is a several-pass router.

I recommend building a simple template, using a Forstner bit and MDF; get the Porter-Cable Template guide bushings – these are industry-standard at this point; create the template, then clamp everything tight, and go. Once you get the template built – probably two hours; the mortises will be straight-forward.

The Template can be a 15” (extra length for clamping) piece of 1/2” or 3/4” MDF, hog-out the 1” (plus the appropriate amount for the guide bushing collar), then use the Guide Bushing and 1/2” up-spiral bit. Tighten the guide bushing such that it doesn’t vibrate loose during the routing – you’ll damage the Template, the Guide Bushing, the router bit and the workpiece – everything.


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View runswithscissors's profile


2725 posts in 1993 days

#3 posted 02-17-2013 11:27 PM

Another way is the make 2 (or more) passes on your mortiser. By flipping the stock end for end, you assure that the mortise is perfectly centered. I believe that mine is capable of a 2” deep cut. The hardest cut will be the first, then the rest can overlap. I’ve read advice against letting mortised cuts overlap (because of presumed flexing of the hollow chisel), but my chisels seem stiff enough to not be a problem. It helps to lube the chisel with wax or a spray- on “dry lube.”

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3361 days

#4 posted 02-17-2013 11:30 PM

what about doing them by hand? less hassles with tooling!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View CherryPicker's profile


3 posts in 2929 days

#5 posted 02-17-2013 11:37 PM

Yea, I just used a forester and then cleaned the joints up with chisel. I think for me the less noise the better!

Thanks for everyone else’s tips and advise!

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