getting sq and plumb with with a bench chisel

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Forum topic by daddywoofdawg posted 04-23-2015 03:23 PM 833 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1028 posts in 1568 days

04-23-2015 03:23 PM

I working on though mortise and I’m new to using chisels for fine woodwork,This is my first time making one (well 3rd attempt at it)but I’m getting parrellogram sides,angled walls and and a small ridge in the question is how to get sq and plumb with with a bench chisel?advice and you tube links please.

7 replies so far

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 1946 days

#1 posted 04-23-2015 03:26 PM

This method is the best I have found for chopping mortises.

After a couple practice holes it gets pretty easy.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

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2910 posts in 2166 days

#2 posted 04-23-2015 03:27 PM

Mark them well I prefer a knife, drill out the waste, carefully, Mark the knife line with the chisel so it is more pronounced, Then sneak up on the line. Light cuts and keep chisel vertical. The last part takes practice. I’m still working on that but they are getting better.
AF that is a very good video. All my mortises to now have been thru.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Tim's profile


3802 posts in 1954 days

#3 posted 04-23-2015 03:47 PM

Eric linked to Paul Sellers video. He chops mortises in several other videos so you can get more of an idea how to do it. For example watch his series on making a mallet and try that:
The mallet series is a really good one on squaring up the mortices and making sure they are perfect.

He also chops mortices in his bench building series and others I’m sure.

Basically though it’s about having square registration faces and square marked lines and practicing working to those lines without moving them.

View rwe2156's profile


2916 posts in 1474 days

#4 posted 04-23-2015 05:23 PM

First of all, don’t obsess about it.
Its a hidden joint and doesn’t have to be perfect it will still work fine.

You have to learn to hold the chisel square and it just takes practice.

My advice is make a paring block and clamp to edge of mortise.
Also, it is critical the backs of your chisels are dead flat.

I would be interested to know how you prepared your chisels.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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1028 posts in 1568 days

#5 posted 04-23-2015 05:33 PM

After watching the first video I see I’m doing it backwards and going to deep,and not keeping the bevel vertical in the chopping part.
As far as “I would be interested to know how you prepared your chisels.”I having did anything to the backs just sharpened them so far to use,they’re new irwins/marples.

View bondogaposis's profile


4715 posts in 2344 days

#6 posted 04-23-2015 06:21 PM

For through mortises come in from both sides that way any inconsistencies will be hidden. You are going to want to flatten the backs of those chisels as well, other wise getting a good edge is difficult. If you are going to do this a lot a couple of mortise chisels should be on your wish list.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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1028 posts in 1568 days

#7 posted 04-23-2015 07:57 PM

right now i’m trying to make a marking gauge. which I’m thinking I don’t want slop in the fence,which is the mortise I’m having trouble with.

i’m thing

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