Mortising jig

My latest project calls for some mortise and tenon joinery. On the few occasions that I've attempted an m/t joint, I've cut the tenons on the TS and the mortises on the router table with variable success. I think a good mortising jig and my plunge router will lead to better results.
So ... I don't want to drop $$$ on a Woodrat or a machine of that ilk. Thinking a shop-built jig ought to serve me just fine. Any suggestions or leads to plans? I've spent some time on the router forum, but didn't see anything that really caught my eye.
TIA
Larry
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RE: Subject
http://tinyurl.com/yelyxcv
It worked for me.
Lew
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snipped-for-privacy@teranews.com wrote:

An "edge guide" on a plunge router works very well for routing mortises on the face of stock, as you would do in a table leg, etc.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Attach a wooden fence, carefully layout the mortise locations on the stock, adjust the edge guide from the reference edge and off you go.
For mortises in end grain, scroll down and check out the second one on this page ... works well for mortises in the end grain of stock:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/Jigs.htm
A dedicated mortiser, either stand alone, or on a drill press, is probably your best bet. You can get one for around $200 ... well worth the price if you're going to be doing them regularly
A world of mortises have also been cut on the drill press with forstner bits and then cleaning them out with a mortising chisel ... much easier than it sounds with the proper, sharp chisel.
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Swingman wrote:

This is usually the way I do it, and many times I won't even do the pre-drilling; nothing but chisel. I've done plenty of mortises on the router and have finally concluded I just don't *like* doing it that way (of course, I screwed up many a mortise that way, which helped solidify my opinion). Cutting mortises with a good sharp chisel is actually a rather enjoyable process, and it does wonders for my inner Neander.
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Some ideas at the link: ********************************* http://patwarner.com/router_morticing.html *********************************************************************************************************

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snipped-for-privacy@teranews.com wrote:

It kinda depends on what you're after. I like the shop built jigs that both Lew and Swingman have suggested, but decided that I wanted a bit more flexibility
http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/Projects/JBot /
...and while Swing can cut angled mortises, I also cut angled /tenons/ (the photos show 1/4" tenons at the ends of 1/4" stock with a shoulder all the way around) with this jig
http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/Projects/Bevel /
My suggestion would be to try Lew's suggestion, and improve on that if you're not satisfied. Note that you could pretty near make a career of building progressively more "featured" jigs. :)
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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I typically use the jig like Lew Hodgett referenced. They are so easy to make I don't usually even make them nice enough to keep. You can create on in a few minutes.
If you decide to go the fostner bit, chisel method, which can be nearly as fast, make sure to mark the location of the mortise with a marking knife or exacto, box cutter, etc. Cutting those edge fibers clean makes the rest real easy. This is a must of you are doing a through mortise where the outside will show.

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PS. I even cut the edges with a knife when I am using a chisel mortiser so the overlapping cuts have a groove for the chisel to land in and keep it clean.

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In what order are you cutting your mortises and tenons? Tom
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tom wrote:

First of all, thanks to all for the suggestions. I was planning on routing the mortises first, then cutting the tenons on the TS just a hair proud and using the rasp to pair them down to a snug fit.
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snipped-for-privacy@teranews.com wrote: ...

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A better tool for this, yes. To the OP: What did you find unsatifactory about your M&T joints? Tom
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D'oh. Unsatisfactory...
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tom wrote:

On mortises on the board ends, I found I wasn't getting them perfectly aligned so I never had a perfectly flush fit once assembled. Also hard to control the start position when working upside down on the router table.
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If I'm reading you right, the shoulder of the tenoned piece isn't flush, or doesn't close completely, on the mortised piece? If this is happening, first check for squareness of your square, the tenon stock, the mitre gauge or sled, and maybe even do a tune-up on your table saw. As you rotate and locate the stock against the stop when doing the initial shoulder cuts, if the end cuts on the tenon aren't square, that'll show up in the finished joint. Likewise if the gauge or sled is askew. The mortises don't need to be perfect, as they're usually hidden by the tenon shoulders. HTH Tom
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One method of avoiding gaps at the shoulders is to under cut them with a chisel so the shoulder has very sharp pointed edge where it meets the face of the mortised piece. This avoids any face contact that could hold them off and the point will crush a bit under pressure and close the gap. There really isn't much value in the face to face contact of the end grain of the tenoned piece with the face of the mortised piece.
This was a pretty common practice in the old hand cut pieces. I have seen it on several antiques I've repaired, especially chairs.
Well, well, how 'bout that. I did a Google search on "undercut tenon shoulder" and the first hit is a FWW article showing the same technique. Haven't read it all yet but the pictures look like they are doing as I mentioned. http://www.finewoodworking.com/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesArticle.aspx?id=32952

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tom wrote:

An appropriately wide (sharp) chisel would be better than a rasp if doesn't have shoulder plane (but here's the perfect opportunity... :) )
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dpb wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@teranews.com wrote:

When I first started in woodworking, I took a Junior college course offered on weekends. The project they assigned us absolutely sucked. It was a pine bookshelf that... oh, never mind. I never finished it.
The project was a teaser to get people in to learn to sharpen, and gather a few more skills. Sharpen we did. Plane irons and chisels, all freehand on oil stones.
I don't recommend that a novice attempt freehand sharpening. There's too much room for frustration. With frustration comes the temptation to just give up, and that would be a shame.
However, what I learned in that course is not necessarily sharpening itself, but the fact that a plane or chisel could be "thrillingly" sharp, a sensation I'd previously never experienced, and didn't think I was capable of achieving. Once I got that spine tingle of sharpness, it was something I never forgot, and never regretted trying to duplicate.
There are a ton of ways to get there; oilstones, water stones, Tormek wet systems, the round spinny thing that Swingman recommends (can't recall the name), sandpaper on a flat surface, etc. All seem to give that edge that tickles your testicles.
Try Leonard Lee's book on sharpening, http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p2991&cat=1,43072,43091
It's excellent and recommends a few different ways of attaining an edge.
Then decide on a system to sharpen and work at it til it feels right. It won't be, but it's a hell of a good start.
There really is nothing to compare the feeling of shaving off something that is so thin you didn't think it even existed, but that one shaving makes your pieces fit together "just-so". The only way you can do that is with a tool you sharpened yourself. And once you've done that, you'll find that you have no tolerance for semi-sharp tools.
Tanus
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Thanks, Tanus. Much appreciated advice.
Tanus wrote:

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