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I'm looking to run a 1" thick board with 3" width through a 2" thick board, how do I make a very snug fitting opening?

I've tried drilling holes in 4 corners, using a coping saw to cut most out and then filing down the excess, is this ideal?

My file is too wide to finish the 1" thick side, so I either need another, smaller file, or a smaller chisel? (I only have a 1" chisel)

Any advice is appreciated. Want to make it as snug and accurate as possible, thanks.
 

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An easy way is rip a strip off the board you are trying to pierce. Nibble the interior of the rectangle out with a table saw or router and fit your piece to the rectangular cut then glue the rip back on. A little tweaking and you're done. Very simple and accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice guys. I'm so new I don't know the terminology but this makes sense. I hadent thought of making a tenon, just running the board through the mortise but I may change my plan now.

I don't quite understand what you're talking about rick1955, could you clarify this technique?
 

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+1 on rick's suggestion. The re-glueing works really well. If cut off and re-glue the same piece of wood, the grain match will be outstanding and the strength as good as raw wood. You won't be able to tell. Hopefully rick answers. If not, just consider cutting the board open (like surgery), hogging out the mortise with table saw, then glue the board back together. Of course you'll have to plan on some extra stock because you'll lose an 1/8" due to cutting.

Also, if the table saw blade leaves scratches (most combo blades don't cut square but dado blades do), leave the bottom of the hog out thick so you can chisel it smooth and be sure to account for a little extra stock for that.
 

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To make a square through mortise you want to have a sharp chisel. Hog out most of the waste with your coping saw (or boring holes) and then pare back to your lines with the chisel.

- Mykos
+1

Personally I find that for some reason chopping the whole thing out with a chisel is a more sure way to get a piston fit, and the time it takes probably works out to about the same because there's little or no finicky paring at the end, but I think that for most people the way Mykos describes is the best way.

In order not get blowout around the edges of a through-mortise, I work from both sides. If you have a good drill press and forstner bits, you can hog from both sides and then pare- this is a relatively quick and very clean way, too.
 

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I use a backer board and a rip blade to get a nice flat top and no side tear out which requires no filing that you would need with a combination blade, then glue the ripped strip back on. I've done this technique many times over 40 years of professional and hobby woodworking.
 

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We use that technique for matching drawer fronts. For doing it with a chisel an L shaped guide block is best. Clamping the guide block to the board you are mortising works best. Having s backer board eliminates the need to work from both sides. LJ has the most beginners of any WW website Can't understand why it's so popular????? I find it to be funny. Don't learn anything but laugh a lot.
 

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Bobro > I agree that straight chopping is usually fine, but the OP want's a 1×3" mortise. That's beyond what I'd chop. Driving a 1" chisel through 2" of wood isn't a good use of my calories. Much easier to swing a #15 bit with a brace three times then cleanup with paring.

My cutoff is probably about 5/8". Anything less and I'd go straight from the chisel. 3/4" and up gets bored out for sure.

Either way, chopping or boring seems like much less hassle than ripping and gluing. Making a mortise isn't rocket surgery. And a 1×3 hole gives you lots of room to do whatever waste removal method floats your boat.
 

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Another way is to use an oscillating tool with a guide block to keep it perpendicular. I know a bunch of timber framers who use the oscillating as far as they before going to the chisel.
 
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