Another noob question. Sorry! :-) Just wonderin' what most of you
guys/gals use to make mortise and tenons. Seems like this is a very
common joint for furniture construction and I'm trying to decide what
the next thing I need for my fledgling woodworking shop. I just ordered
a router and dovetail jig. Wow, it seems like a never ending inventory
for tools, LOL. I'm trying to get the essentials first. It will be a
while before I'll be able to afford a jointer and a thickness planer.
I'll probably rely on dimensioned lumber and a hand planer for now.
I've got circular saws, jig saws, a compound miter saw, a router (in
the mail, thanks Rockler), drills etc. I'll have a table saw, radial
saw, drill press and a router table in January when my dad comes to
visit ( thanks Santa). Do I need a mortiser? Any other essential tools?
Thought about a bisquit joiner might be a useful tool but it seems like
a lot of people don't use them. Any advise is welcome. Thanks!
If the table saw doesn't have a good fence, I would recommend a good
Any you definitely need a jointer, if you are in the SW Florida area.
Oh yeah, I happen to have one for sale!! I find a bisquit jointer
A biesemeyer clone is a fence with the same design as the Biesemeyer
brand. Mine is a Jet Exacta, and I love it. I just replaced my old 6"
jointer with a 6" Powermatic, and have the 6" for sale. The one for
sale has a 3' bed, and cuts great. I'm in SW Florida if interested. $75
takes it away.
If you think that you will get really into woodworking and buy a good
bit of rough cut lumber, I'd really try to get an 8" jointer. I
purchased a 6" Jet about 2yrs. ago, and while it is a very nice tool, I
often which I had an 8" machine. It seems that when I go to buy lumber,
there are always a ton of boards that are between 6.5" and 8" that I
like, and I hate to have to rip them in half in order to face joint.
Wow - it sounds like you already have a lot of toys. My advice: start
making stuff! Before you accumulate more tools you might or might not
use, do some woodworking. See what types of projects and what styles
of construction you like and don't like, and buy your next tools
accordingly. For example, I would have almost no use for a biscuit
joiner, but I use a router, bandsaw, and hand planes on almost every
single project. If you're not into mission style furniture, a mortiser
might not be a good investment - a plunge router jig or drill
press+forstner bits+chisels can do just as well for many applications,
without very much hassle. I've used both of these methods for
mortises, and they both work fine. For tenons, I've used any or all of
the following, depending on the situation: a rabbeting bit in the
router table, a bandsaw, japanese hand saws, a shoulder plane, and
I do have a FEW other 'essential tool' recommendations, since you
asked... If you don't already have one, a good cordless drill is
valuable for a variety of woodworking and home improvement projects
(the Panasonic 15.6V NiMH or the new Makita 18V Li-Ion Compact look
like particularly nice choices, but IMO a full-size 18V is overkill in
a wood shop). Of course you can never have too many clamps. I think
Forstner bits are essentials also, especially with a drill press. I'd
strongly recommend some good-quality measuring tools (a good (i.e.
Overall, though, your list of essential tools will depend entirely on
what you plan to make.
Have fun and stay safe,
Thanks so much for the thorough reply! Maybe I'll just pick up some
Forstner bits. Some on sale at Rockler right now I think. I guess I'm
always paranoid I'll start a project and not have the tools to get it
done. Thanks for the help. I was wondrin' if I could get by with the
drill press instead of buying a dedicated mortiser.
> Thanks so much for the thorough reply! Maybe I'll just pick up some
> Forstner bits.
Freud has a very nice carbide set of forstner bits that includes a
35mm bit for Euro hinges, but no 7/8".
Add the 7/8" and you are good to go.
BTW, lots of places sell Freud other than Rockler.
It's not a sign of failure if you discover you "need" a new tool to
help you finish a project more quickly, or more accurately or more
enjoyably. When I was getting started, it seemed like every project
required at least one new tool, often several. I've even been known to
choose a project that would make a good excuse to buy a tool I wanted
anyway. Now I proudly boast to SWMBO when I'm able to complete one
with "only" a new router bit or two. Of course now that the basics in
my router bit collection are covered, these specialty bits tend to be a
little more expensive than they used to be.
"A bulldog can whip a skunk, but it's probably not worth it."
On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 15:31:26 -0800, artlevart wrote:
With what you've got in hand right now, the router would be my choice for
mortise and tenon. You need to make a couple of jigs though, a mortising
jig to hold the router in the proper position and a table or other support
for making the tenons--the current issue of Shopnotes has plans for one
that should do the job.
With what you're going to have the router would still be the way to go for
mortises unless you want to get a purpose-made mortising machine, and the
radial saw would be my choice for tenons.
I have been doing a bunch of mortise and tenon joints to make shelving
and storage cabinets. Tenons I cut on my radial arm saw. I have an
auxilary table/tenon jig (home made) to make the cheek cuts. The face
cuts are made in the ordinary way. Table saw would work just as well,
given a tenoning jig in place of the auxilary table.
End mortises I cut with the saw, using the same setup as for tenon
cheek cuts. Real mortises I do with a router. My medium size/power old
Craftsman router has enough power to do a 3/8" mortise an inch or more
deep. More powerful routers could do even wider and deeper mortises. I
use a good sharp chisel to square up the ends of routed mortises rather
than rounding over the tenons. I have a home made router jig that
aligns on the edges of the stock and keeps the router going straight.
> Another noob question. Sorry! :-) Just wonderin' what most of you
> guys/gals use to make mortise and tenons. Seems like this is a very
> common joint for furniture construction and I'm trying to decide what
> the next thing I need for my fledgling woodworking shop.
A good 10" contractor's table saw equipped with the BEST fence money
can buy (I like my Unifence), a good set of carbide blades (24T, 50T,
80T), and a GOOD 8" dado set (Mine is Freud), will keep you out of
trouble for a long time.
Build a couple of sleds and you can make all kinds of stuff.
I use, almost exclusively loose (or sometimes called floating) tenon
joinery. I made the switch from integral to loose tenons because I had
trouble 'consistently' getting my shoulder cuts to line up all the way
around the stock. After struggling with this for a few years, I started
using loose tenons. Than I read that David Marks uses loose tenons for the
Check out David Marks on loose tenons here:
Excerpt: "Much care must be taken to ensure that the shoulders have been
accurately cut all the way around so that the tenon from the apron fits
cleanly into the mortise in the leg with no gaps."
Here is a jig that I made to make the mortises in the end grain of your rail
A mortiser might be the last tool I ever buy. I use a biscuit joiner on
Thanks! I thought the bisquit joiner would be a great tool as well but
it seems alot of people say they don't ever use them. I'll be doing
mostly tables and cabinet type work. Will I get some good use out of
the joiner? Thanks alot!
On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 21:56:57 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Really depends on the approach you take. You can cut biscuit slots with
a router either handheld or on a jig if you have the right bit. It's a
_lot_ more convenient to do it with the purpose-made tool though. You can
also cut mortises with a router and the only thing you lose when compared
to a purpose-made mortiser is that you have to either square the corners
with a chisel make round-cornered tenons, neither of which is particularly
If you're edge-gluing boards to make a table top or making cabinets from
sheet goods biscuit-joining is one very good alternative--when edge-gluing
the biscuits are very helpful in keeping the pieces aligned and they're
one of the standard construction methods today for cabinets made from
Rather than rushing out and buying one though, work on a few projects and
when you get to one where you say "OK, this would be a lot easier with a
biscuit joiner" then it's time to get one. The price of a good one will
go halfway to a decent planer or bandsaw, either of which I'd take over a
I use my biscuit jointer all of the time. When I build plywood cabinets,
particularly, for kitchens and bathrooms, it does an excellent job of
building a good joint. Not so much for fine furniture, but then, the
bathrooms and kitchens will be redone in the next twenty years, or sooner.
The right tool for the right job. When you need it.
I found I don't have to have one of everything. Several of certain things
make more sense to me. ;-)
Personally, I consider a planer to be higher priority than a radial arm
saw (or a miter saw, if that's what you meant.) If you can get one face
of the board flat with your plane, you can take care of the other with
the planer. It's a giant pain to thickness stock using pretty much
You would also be able to start using rough lumber from a hardwood
supplier, giving you a huge number of species to choose from, and less
cost. (Modulo the cost of the planer, of course.)
On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 22:27:39 -0500, Gordon Airporte wrote:
My impression was that a lot of tools were hand-me-downs from his father.
If his father is _buying_ this stuff for him, I agree, he's already got a
compound miter saw, and with that and a table saw the radial saw is more or
less redundant. The router table he should make, not buy--it's not hard
and it's a good exercise whether simple or complex. The price of a decent
RAS and a good commercial router table would go a long way toward a
jointer and a planer.
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