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How to Make a Mortising Jig for the Router

mortise jigMortise and Tenon wood joinery is one of the most common ways of making woodworking jonts in quality furniture, timber framing and other forms of woodworking. In this video I am completing the other half of the jig making exercise by making a mortising jig. The mortise is this hole in which the tenon is inserted, and often glued or pinned, that go together to make the woodworking joint. There are many, many ways of making mortises from dedicated mortising machines, to using a drill press, cutting them by hand with a mallet and chisel, using a router and more. In this video we will be using the router and manufacturing a simple attachment that is easy to use, and not complicated to set up, to make mortise cuts for mortise and tenon joints.


To make the morise jig, I started off with a pices of 1/4" hardboard. I find this is better that plywood for this knid of a build because the hardboard is is harder than plywood and because you will likely have to drill counter sunk holes into the base, you will want something stronger than plywood to take that force.

Making a Large, Rustic, Barnwood Picture Frame

Some time ago, Fred and I arrange a trade for some audio/visual equipment I had for some art work of Fred's. It has taken me some time to get around to making a picture frame for Fred's art, but I recently found some rustic boards that I thought would help to augment the beautiful painting of Freds'.  The boards were a beautiful aged grey and were rough cut, which meant that getting straight edges would be a bit of a challenge, but I purchased enough material that I was confident I would get the right lenghts from. Some of the boards were partially live edge on one side and not on the other so I really had to pick and choose which parts of which boards would be suitable.  I did not want to change the outside of the boards, so the face side and the outside edges needed to be natural, as I found them.

The first order of business was to cut the boards to a rough lenght, then then needed to be cut to width ...

Making Tenoning Jig

wood tenonThe mortise and tenon joint has been around woodworking and timber framing for hundreds of not thousands of years and continues to be a popular form of joinery. The joint can be both hidden or as it is described as "a through tenon" which often means the end protrude through the wood to expose the end of the tenon. Either way the tenon is a very strong joint and when combined with a good quality wood glue, in strength tests with many woods, the wood around the joint will fail before the joint fails.
The disadvantage of the joint is that it does take time to make and often takes some finessing to get a good quality joint, still, the mortise and tenon joint is one of mainstays of woodworking. Like many things in woodworking, pratice are repetition are the key elements of make good quality mortise and tenon joints, and this jig will give you a good head start on making the the tenon part of the joint.

For our project today we are making a pretty simple jig that is accurate and easy to use and will give accurate joints without  strenuous setup.

Making a 3 Legged Milking Stool

milking stoolSometimes I like to make things just for the experience of learning how to make them, which is exactly what I did with this Milking Stool. I have made some stools in the past but not like this one, and so I understand the techniques and how the spline wedges that will hold the legs in place need to be placed at 90 degrees to the angle of the grain of the top of stool otherwise the pressure will often crack or split the seat of the stool.
What I had never done before was to use Arbutus or Madrone or even Madrona as it is also sometimes called, (species name- Arbutus Menziesii) in making the legs. Working with Arbutus is always a challenge, and in this case the wood was aq bit green so I wanted to see just how it turned and how much shrinkage there would be when it dries.

I have worked a bit with Arbutus in the past. When it is dry it is very hard and tends to be chippy to work with. In my experience it doesn't often crack as it dries, as long as it is allowed to dry slowly, and depending on the thickness, this can take months or even years to air dry fully. It's that dense a wood.

Vintage Tool & Machinery Swap Meet 2017

vintage swap meetEvery year, in recent history, a local oranization has been putting on a "guy" swap meet in a nearby town. People come from far and wide to sell their items just as others come from long distances to purchase items offered for sale. The items as a varied as you can imagine and what shows up one year may not the next. It's a cornicopia of people and things and a whole lot of fun. This year I put out and offer ... anyone who wanted to join me on a walkabout, we would meet up at 9am at the entrance and go through together from there. Three local woodworkers showed up, 2 immediately ventured off on their own and another an myself got to wander the grounds looking at tools and other items to see if there was anything that interested us. As it turned out, 2 of the guys got a couple of great buys on some tools and I just spent the time taking pictures that were used to assemble this brief slide show of the event.

Just like any swap meet, it's a buyer beware scenario. Some years I have purchased a good item or 2, other years I have purchased items that ended up in the electronics recycdling bin of scrap metal, but I don't talk about my lost deals. In the end, I always have a great time and it was even better this year to share the experience with subscribers and friends ... can wait until next year ...

Making a Table Saw Fence Alignment Checking Jig

table saw fence alignment jigThere is nothing more frustrating than trying to assemble parts to a woodworking project and finding out they don't align properly. Many times we blame ourselves for not being more careful in our cuts or for not taking enough time to make proper measurements, but in many cases it's simply that the tools we are using have come out of alignment and need to be re-tuned or re-set.
On the table saw the item that needs to be re-set the most if ... of course the fence. It is the most used item on the table saw and is constantly being moved back and forth and tightened and loosened and all this activity, will, over time create a small amount of wear which results in the fence being out of alignment.

Every fence for every table saw has some sort of adjustment mechanism. Some are better than others, but all of them can be adjusted. My first table saw has such and awful fence that even when I adjusted it, every time I moved it to a new location, I still had to check and set the front and back separately. It was terribly slow to use, but it was all I could afford and it did the job for me. More advanced and expensive fences are easier to set by simply turning a small set screw but regardless of the fence ... they ALL need to be checked and re-checked from time to time ...