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?
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.
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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