How to cut small, shallow mortise

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Forum topic by Syellin posted 05-10-2015 08:53 PM 1700 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 1643 days

05-10-2015 08:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joining technique

I need to cut a few small (3/4” x 3/4” x 1/2”) mortises in the wide face of a board, to be used to register against another board that will have a matching floating tenon. How would you go about cutting this mortise? Too shallow for a mortising chisel. Would you just waste out the center with a drill and cut the corners with a chisel? I worry about a flat bottom as this is too small for a router plane to smooth it out. Any suggestions would be welcome.

4 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5756 posts in 3004 days

#1 posted 05-10-2015 08:58 PM

That;s the way I would do it (drill,out the waste, and square with a chisel). Flat bottoms aren’t really too important, they do do anything for the holding power. I’d probably use a mortising chisel without the drill bit in it square the mortise up. That way I could clamp a cleat across the workpiece to register the chisel against and go from there.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Kazooman's profile


1359 posts in 2464 days

#2 posted 05-10-2015 09:25 PM

Plunge router and then square up the corners. Actually, do you really need square mortises for this job? Dowels would be easier to do.

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1733 days

#3 posted 05-11-2015 02:23 AM

I’d make a template I could clamp to the object then rout it out. Good for future projects. I agree flat bottoms aren’t required for a solid joint. All the nooks and crannies give the excess glue somewhere to go.

-- I meant to do that!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5987 posts in 3324 days

#4 posted 05-11-2015 02:54 AM

A mortise and tenon is a useful joint to make. Ever looked at a dedicated mortiser?

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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