I need to do about 16 mortises. I'd like them all to be the same
size, so I thought I'd make a template for the router and use a router
template guide (sleeve sort of thing around the cutter) to follow the
template. Question. Where do I find a template guide to fit an elderly
Craftsman router Model 315.17381? Sears part number 25973 (looks like
a template guide set) "fits most current Craftsman routers". Does
anyone know if "most" includes my old timer?
Lee Valley has a set of 1 3/4" brass template guides, and the hole in
my router's baseplate is 1 3/4". What are the chances of them actually
fitting properly? Especially as the base plate hole is just a plain
straight thru hole, no recess to take the lip of the template guide.
Lee Valley also has a replacement router base plate with a 1 3/16"
hole, and template guides to match. Do I need a replacement baseplate?
If so, is it possible to drill it to fit the router and get it to line
up properly (centered on the router chuck)? With just ordinary shop
Is there something else out there that was intended to fit this model
While I'm on the subject, how deep a mortise can a 1/4" chuck router
make? I have one bit that is 2 1/4" long. With 1/2" of the bit inside
the chuck, that makes the mortise only 1 3/4" deep. Are there longer
bits out there?
David Starr (in ZKKdnYRjwbVrZdbYnZ2dnUVZ firstname.lastname@example.org) said:
| While I'm on the subject, how deep a mortise can a 1/4" chuck
| router make? I have one bit that is 2 1/4" long. With 1/2" of the
| bit inside the chuck, that makes the mortise only 1 3/4" deep.
At _least_ 1" of the bit needs to be in the collet for safe operation.
There /are/ longer bits; but keep in mind that with longer bits, the
need for care and control increases significantly.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
One of the easiest to make and use is here:
I've also made the Tage Frid version that looks like a miter box, and
mortised on my table, and the simple jig above is my favorite.
Oddly enough, from a magazine known to me as the home of the "Rube
Goldberg" device. <G>
That looks like a winner. Fits every router, and I have stock on
hand to make it except maybe the carriage bolts, which Franconia
Hardware is sure to have. I'll start making it tomorrow. And I don't
have to scratch my head wondering which template guide bushing and or
base plate will fit my old Craftsman router.
I take it the jig keeps the router running straight alone the stock
and you use pencil marks and the eye to control the length of the mortise?
As a second issue. How deep a mortise is it possible to make with a
1/4" router? I'm making bookish type shelves that will have to carry
some weight so strength is important. I'm thinking you get the
strongest shelves if the mortises go clean thru the uprights, but that
maybe one inch will give enough sheer strength to prevent the shelves
from crashing to the floor when loaded with heavy stuff?
Did they ever replace Old Man on the Mountain? <G>
My 1/4" wide (for 3/4" stock tenons) mortises are usually 3/4 to 7/8"
deep, but I usually cut them with a Bosch 1617EVS. Remember, you
don't cut full depth in one shot. All of my bits that are larger than
1/4" have 1/2" shanks, so I can't comment if you are making wider
mortises. If in doubt, do it in more passes.
Don't forget to test the jig and methods on scrap.
How wide are the tenons? Total gluable area and a good fit are as
important as the length.
No. They have re lettered the highway signs to read "Old Man of the
Mountain Historical Area".
My uprights are nominal 2" stock (1 1/2" actual). I assume the
strongest joint is one where the mortise width is equal to 1/2 the width
of the stock, in this case 3/4" wide. The router bits I have will
easily make a mortise 3/4" deep. I was wondering if longer ones are
made, and if made, do they cut well or do they start to bend and do bad
things as they get longer?
I'm beginning to think that 3/4" deep mortises are deep enough to
prevent the tenons from popping out and dropping the shelf straight down
under load. I'm not so sure that a 3/4" tenon has enough leverage to
prevent racking from side to side, and perhaps I ought to add gussets or
diagonal braces if 3/4" is the deepest mortise my 1/4" chuck router can
do. I'd like to make the mortises 1 1/2" deep if they make bits that long.
I don't know that that is necessarily the case. As a rule of thumb,
it's fine- but you need to look at how much diagonal force is going to
be put on the joint. The thickness of the tenon will support the
downward pressure, and the shoulders will help prevent racking. If
you think the piece is going to be especially prone to racking (for
instance, if your shelf will not have an attached back,) then your
rule of thumb is great. But if you're attaching a back or gussets to
the unit, they'll take most of the racking force off the M&T joints
for the shelves. In that case, you may as well make the tenons a
little thicker, so they have more material holding up the stuff on the
It's still good practice to use mortise and tenon joints with the
shelves, as the shoulders hide any imperfections in the mortise, and
you don't need to worry about your stock being at a perfect thickness
like you would with a shelf sliding into a dado, but the shoulders can
be fairly narrow and still do the job.
If you are considering through mortises, as it sounds like you are,
why not use a forsner bit in a drill press on the uprights to drill
right through, then clean the mortises up with a chisel? (or even a
drop cut on a table saw, if the shelves are deep enough for that) If
I were doing that, I wouldn't even bother cutting full tenons on the
shelves- just make the mortise the full width of the shelf thickness
and cut rectangles out of the corners of each shelf to make one pair
of shoulders on each side. If you do that, you may as well go all
out, and run the shelves out past the uprights, and peg the tenons on
the outside. The pegs will hold the single pair of shoulders tight
against the upright, and that should resist an awful lot of racking-
not to mention the fact that it can look really sharp, if you spend a
little time making the pegs look nice.
If you're set on using the router, and it only cuts to 3/4" deep, why
not just flip the upright over and do the second cut from the other
side? Personally, I'd be more comfortable with that than putting a
huge bit on a 1/4" shank in the router and hoping it will withstand
any slop the router may have in it.
Probably a good idea. I just acquired the router (at auction, $30) and
I'm looking for things to do with it. I just finished up mortising the
first upright, and I find I can get a 1" deep mortise, and still have
3/4" of the bit inside the collet chuck.
(or even a
Another good idea. I'll try that next time. I've already cut the
pieces for this design and I think I'll press on with it. I'm going to
use some gussets or diagonal braces to stiffen it up against racking.
That also works but I'd have to be awfully careful to get the hole from
one side to match the hole from the other side.
Personally, I'd be more comfortable with that than putting a
Aye. I'm able to get 1" of depth with the cutters I have and that is
going to do, at least on this project.
Beautiful. I love simplicity. I had been considering several different
ideas for a slat bed I am doing. It has nine slats at each end so 36
M&T's. I'll build and keep this baby for a long time. A good fixture is
worth it's weight in gold.
I think I'll us 1/8 ply and scribe a center line along the bottom side
parallel to the guides for easy centering. I'll measure and set one
side guide then drop the fixture on the stock and snug up the other
I already got through the tough part of of this bed project putting a
5/4 x 7" mortise through (4) 3 3/4" posts for the through tenon bed
rails. That was a bit of work.
B A R R Y wrote:
I built my jig and it works nicely. Adjustment is straight forward. I
didn't have any 1/4" hardboard or plywood so I used a scrap of 1/8" wood
panel material. It's strong enough, but it isn't thick enough to sink
the pan head screws down level with the surface. By the time you
counter bore 1/8" material enough to swallow up a 10-32 pan head screw
there isn't anything left under the screw heads. This isn't a real
problem mortising narrow stock (like 3/4" or even 1 1/2"). However it
won't like me sink a mortise into the side of a 2*4.
I am going to try flat head screws tomorrow, and if that doesn't
work, I'll round up a piece of 1/4" stock, make a new baseplate and
recess the screw heads properly.
I got the center 2 " hole matched up to the router nicely. I marked
the baseplate screw holes by laying the plastic router baseplate onto
the 1/8" stock and marking the three screw holes with a pencil. I
drilled the holes, mounted the router and used the 1/4" router bit to
drill the center hole. That got the center hole to line up perfectly
with the router center. The I used a 2" holesaw in my drill press to
enlarge the center hole from 1/4" to 2".
Followup. I built the jig Barry recommended and put 16 mortises into
2*4 uprights. I was able to do the mortises into the edge of the 2*4 no
sweat. I did the mortises into the wide side (the 31/2" side) by taking
one of the guide bars off and using the jig as an edge guide. I had to
make two passes to get the mortises to come out 3/4" wide.
I was able to obtain 1 1/4" deep mortises with an ordinary 3/8"
straight router bit and have the bit set 3/4" down into the router
chuck. That seems to be about as deep as you can go with a 1/4" router
and the assortment of bits in the local hardware store. This router
isn't powerful enough to do the full depth in one pass. I made four
passes, each time advancing depth of cut by about 1/4".
I squared up the ends of the mortises with a 3/4" chisel rather than
rounding off the tenons to fit the round cornered mortises. I used a
"test tenon" (piece of 2*3/4" scrap) to check mortise fit. With just a
little trimming with the chisel I obtained a good "spit tight" fit on
all 16 mortises. Feel pretty good about that.
At this point I have a few things on the wishlist when I decide to
upgrade to a modern router.
1. I want a light built into the router to light up the bit.
2. I want a depth of cut adjustment that doesn't stick and has enough
beef and mechanical advantage to allow smooth adjustment. Also want a
lock that stays locked under the vibration of the router. My old timer
has a simple screw with a knob that occasionally works loose, dropping
the router bit deep into the wood. For extra class, a dependable and
accurate depth of cut indicator.
3. Comes with a baseplate that accepts readily available router guide
bushings, probably the 1 3/16" Porter Cable style.
4. Has the motor cooling fan arranged to blow chips away from the work
and not into my eyes.
5. Has an edge guide.
That's some wish list. I don't think there's a router on the market that can
satisfy ALL of them, but there are a bunch of features that aren't on your
list that I think should be. You should also be looking for the most
versatile, powerful, lightest router you can find with soft start, accurate
adjustment capability, comfortable balance and handle grips, convenient
switch location, 1/4 - 1/2 collet capability.
I've been quite pleased with my latest router purchase and think it's one of
the most versatile routers on the market today. It is a DeWalt 618 and I got
the 3 base kit plus the edge guide. It comes with one wrench and a shaft
lock, but I bought another wrench because I found that the shaft lock wasn't
convenient to use sometimes and I found that it's possible to use both
wrenches with the shaft lock still in place. It doesn't satisfy all of your
wishes as it has no light, but I think it meets all of your other wishes,
and then some, and the base openings are wide enough to easily let in enough
light to see where you are cutting. One of it's features that I really like
is a detachable power cord with a twist lock connector at the router end.
This makes it easier to store the router and it's very convenient to
disconnect the power at the router end of the cord when I'm changing router
bits. Having the 3 bases and 2 1/4 hp with variable speed and soft start
makes it a router that can do almost any routing chore easily. I own 6 other
routers of various styles and brands, but find myself reaching for this one
most of the time now.
"David Starr" < email@example.com> wrote in message
Tell me about soft start. My old medium size/power 1/4" Craftsman wants
its handles gripped with authority before pulling the trigger. Do the
more powerful ones need soft start to avoid the router torquing itself
right out of your hands?
How much of a weight and size penalty do you have to pay to get a
1/2" collet? Do 1/4" bits center up and run without wobble in the 1/4"
I'll certainly look for a 618 when I get into the "buy-another-router"
mood. The shaft lock is something I forgot to put on my wish list.
Ideally you ought to able to change bits without any tools at all. As a
step in that direction, you ought to be able to change bits with only
one wrench rather than two wrenches. Wrenches, chuck keys and the like
are never around when you need 'em unless you tie 'em to the cord. The
pair of 11/16 and 9/16 combination wrenches I need for the Craftsman are
a little too big to tiewrap onto the cord.
It doesn't satisfy all of your
I like that too. I am a believer that routers should always be
unplugged when changing bits. The trigger is just too easy to press by
accident. Them bits feel sharp and I'll bet they hurt when they chew
into your hand.
Tell me about variable speed. Don't the bits cut best when turning as
fast as possible?
Depends on the router, but when a 3 horse router with a large bit in it
cranks up at full torque you really want to have it controlled--soft-start
reduces the tendency for the thing to take off and start chasing you across
None to speak of. The very smallest models won't take a half inch collet
but most models from 1 horsepower or so on up that aren't specifically
designed either to be lightweight or trimmers will take half inch these
There's no "adaptor", it's a 1/4 inch collet that replaces the 1/2" collet.
Small ones do. Above a certain size though pieces can start coming off them
at high speed. You do _not_ want to try to run a 3 inch panel raising bit
at 25,000 RPM. At least not unless it's on the other side of a very solid
On Porter Cable, which is the only brand with which I have any real
experience with current models, the collet is completely removable. It
works like the collet in a Dremel or a Rotozip--there are different collets
for different shaft diameters.
I'd be leery of any design in which that wasn't the case.
Soft start is something that you have to experience to appreciate. It makes
a relatively tame animal out of even the biggest routers. If I had my way I
would have it in all of my power tools.
There isn't much, if any, weight or size penalty for routers with 1/2 inch
collets but the 1/2 inch bits hold up better and cut better
because the shaft doesn't bend even slightly under load. With 1/2 inch
capacity routers many router manufacturers supply 8 mm
and 3/8 collets as accessories so you can use end mills and European size
bits as well. With a proper size collet there's no wobble. There are sleeve
adapters to make smaller shank bits fit in 1/2 inch collets, but I prefer to
use the proper size collet for the job. They just seem to work better.
There are tool free router bit collets on the market now, but I'm not
comfortable using a very sharp router bit spinning at 20,000 rpm
unless I know that it's well secured in place. If it takes one wrench or two
to be sure that it won't come out, then so be it.
I keep my tools in their boxes along with all of their accessories, so I
don't have a problem finding them when I need them.
Bits that are larger in diameter than about 3/4 inch should not be run at
full speed because of the centrifical forces that are present in the larger
bits when they are turning at those speeds. There is also an optimum cutting
speed and it is possible to cut at too high of speed. Generally, the larger
the diameter of the bit above 3/4 inch , the slower it should be run. When
you put larger bits in your drill do you run them at full speed? I certainly
don't. They cut better at slower speeds, and they don't burn as easily.
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