Split Top Work Bench #2: First part of the leg assembly construction (simple and foolproof mortise jig)

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Blog entry by SvenPHX posted 03-01-2015 03:49 AM 1649 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro and top construction Part 2 of Split Top Work Bench series Part 3: Some more on mortising the legs »

I started with 8/4 Poplar and cut it into strips about 4” wide x 3’ long and jointed and planed them flat and square, after spending two days fighting the setup on my jointer. I face glued pieces into pairs and then jointed and planed them flat and square, this time without the Sven vs jointer deathmatch. For the ahhh factor, I set the best four on the underside of the top to get a sense for how they’d look:

The leg material ended up being 3 5/16” square.

Onto the joinery. The top stretcher is set into the legs with open ended mortise and tenon joints (or saddle joints to some) and I decided to use the scraps from the well board to make a mortise jig. I haven’t seen anything like this before, but it’s very simple to make and very easy to use. I glued two short pieces of the offcut to two longer pieces and then two offcuts of 1/2” plywood to the other side and ended up with this:

The laminated strips are 1” wide, so I am using a 1/2” router bit with a 3/4” template collar which will put the mortise in the middle and about 1/3rd of the width of the stock. The gaps between the jig halves don’t matter as the collar radius is larger than the gaps:

Here’s a shot of a setup piece which might make it clear (or not):

To use this, I set a line 1/8” longer than my mortise and set the edge of the short piece of the jig right on the line, the other half of the jig is set off the end of the stock.

Then I just route it out in steps to get to the max depth of my router bit.

I flip the stock over and do the same thing from the other side, ending up with this:

Because my stock is so wide my router bit wouldn’t reach half way down, so I use a 3/4” chisel to square the corners and to chop down from both sides until I meet in the middle:

Then saw inside my mortise shoulders to remove the majority of the waste:

And pare down the inside of the shoulders with a 1” chisel and end up with this:

Three more to go. I intend to use the same jig and setup for the closed mortises, which is what I’ll try and get to tomorrow.

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#1 posted 03-01-2015 03:58 PM

This is a good blog with excellent instructions. I will be waiting for more.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

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