Routing Mortises

Ok, so I can cut a decent tennon on my table saw but mortising is another question. I've cut a few by hand with drill press and chisel but the results were marginal at best. I am working on the hand chisel skills and one day I may be there but I'd like to use this joint in the mean time. I've seen a number of suggestions to use a router for mortising but I only have a fixed base router. Lowering a board onto a spinning bit (or vis-versa) scares the S*** out of me. Is it possible to cut these Safely with a fixed base or does this take a plunge router?
Thanks
Daryl
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It's a LOT easier with a plunge base, especially the way I do it. I use a 3/4" straight bit to cut a slot in some scrap. The scrap is screwed to another scrap at a 90 degree angle, such that when the second scrap is clamped to the side of the board to be mortised, the 3/4 slot acts as a guide for my 3/4 template guide. I then use a 1/2 straight bit to cut the mortise.
I've done a few mortises and stopped dados on the table, though, and it's not my favorite thing to do.
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I have made mortises by dropping the board onto the spinning bit (table mounted) with no problems. I also have used this technique successfully to make stopped dadoes. I usually attach a stop block (clamped) at either end of the router table fence to mark the beginning and end of the mortise/stopped dadoe. I also use a spiral upcut (solid carbide) bit in the router. This helps the router bite down on the wood easier.

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Lot less scary with a router table, a fence, and some stops.
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daryl1138 wrote:

Cheapest fix would be to replace the router's base with a square plate. "Plunge" by tipping the router in along one of the baseplate edges.
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Dr. Rev. Chuck, M.D. P.A. wrote...

If you go this "route" (groan), be sure to either (1) use a center- cutting or "plunge" bit, or (2) keep the router in motion as the bit enters the work.
Jim
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