Jigs and techniques #1: Cheap & Simple Mortise Jig

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Blog entry by GregD posted 05-03-2010 04:29 AM 2942 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Jigs and techniques series Part 2: Tenon Jig Measuring Stick »

What should be the first entry in this series is my really simple table saw panel cutting and edge jointing jig.

This is my my take on a mortise jig for a plunge router. I wanted to keep it as simple to build and as inexpensive as possible, but I also wanted it to produce good results for a rookie because I was going to use it for my first attempt and a M&T joint.

Now that I’ve verified that it works well, I’ll probably add a toggle clamp or two for holding the work. The way I’m clamping the work now is awkward.

There are quite a few examples of this jig on LJ and probably elsewhere, but the inspiration that got me going was the jig in “Bill Hylton’s “Router Magic””:

My version is constructed of 3/4 MDF that has a coat of poly. The hardware is 1/4” bolts, nuts, T nuts, washers and flange washers. When I glued up the jig base the top surface was a bit off from perpendicular with the front face, so I used strips of Scotch Tape (yup, the 3M product) as shims to make the bolted-on top surface exactly perpendicular to the front face. I use a custom edge guide from plywood with wood screws to tighten against the edge guide rods. This jig design traps this custom edge guide between two fences that are faced with melamine edge-banding – maybe this isn’t consistent with “cheap” but I had some and figured it would help a lot. With this design I could ensure that the edge guide would not wander away from the fence, and I can easily adjust how tight the edge guide rides between the fences. In principle this will also allow me to increase the width of the mortise by adjusting the gap between the two fences.

Here are some more photos:

Completed a pass with the router

Last pass completed

First view of completed mortise

Closeup of completed mortise

Test fit of my first M&T joint

Closeup of test fit

Dissassembled joint

-- Greg D.

2 comments so far

View mhawkins2's profile


51 posts in 4812 days

#1 posted 05-03-2010 09:42 PM

How did you make the tenon? It looks very nicely rounded to fit. Good work as usual.

-- mhawkins2 - why does my wife keep parking her car in my shop :)?

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 4380 days

#2 posted 05-04-2010 03:23 AM

I used the tenoning jig that Rockler sells. I rounded the tenons to fit with a utility knife and a rasp.

-- Greg D.

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