Let's put this thing in perspective. You can make a router based
loose tenon joinery mortising jig out of ply or mdf - and one that
uses an edge guide isn't a Rocket Scientist mini-project.
Cutting the mortise(s) is not the tricky part - it's cutting the tenons
SO - skip trying to cut the tenons and just go with loose/floating
tenons. If you've already got a table saw and a planer you can make
loose tenon stock and cut off what you need. You can make them
so they fit real tight, just right or as loose as you want. AND, with
Comparing an under $300 US (I think these days that's about
a buck and change in Canadian) mortise - and tenon - jig with
a just under $800 US jig, closer to $1,000 "loaded" - just ain't
right. If you want to compare the Leigh FMT with the Festool
DOMINO I'll take the DOMINO side.
Back to the Trend Mortise and Tenon Jig.
The jig is kind of a PITA when it comes to cutting accurate tenons.
Too many factors, each very small error in diameters accumulating
along the way. The reason why is explained on this page and the next
BUT - if you use just the Mortising feature- you only need the jig
and one of its router guides/collars - the Big One. Then, with any
spiral router bit, or straight router bit thatcan make a plunge cut,
you can cut your mortises without ANY of the Trend router bits.
THEN - it's a decent loose tenon mortising jig. Obviously not in
the Leigh FMT - or Festool DOMINO - league - but for $700 less
you can buy wood to experiment on - AND a decent plunge router
(I'd recomend the Dewalt 621) - AND some Onrud spiral router
bits in 3/4", 5/8", 1/2", 3/8" and 1/4" sizes - AND have money
left over for a Glenn Drake Tite-Mark, with "mortising wheels",
with enough left after all that for a large pizza AND beer.
Now let me point out that with any of these "mortising jigs",
or, for that matter, a dedicated chisel and bit mortising machine,
with or without tilting head or XY table - you HAVE TO make
some layout lines for each type of mortise
(here's more than you probably want to know about M&T
each jig or machine will require some set up and aligning before
cutting any mortises or tenons.
Ignore most of the layout and set up stuff if you use a DOMINO
to cut the mortises. If you want to know why go here and
slog your way through several pages explaining why the DOMINO
is so different and how it works.
I used the TREND Mortise and Tenon Jig for a dozen or so
bonsai tables - wth aprons and stretchers - 48 mortises,
24 loose tenons per table. For cutting mortises for loose/
floating tenon joinery it works pretty well - even does angled
mortises. When I got the DOMINO I gave the TREND M&T JIG
to a woodworker with more passion and skill than dollars.
She'd been doing M&T joints by hand and it was taking her
forever on even a simple project like the bonsai tables. The
TREND hopefully reduced some time and effort.
Now if you want to do through mortises - in thick stock -
a woodworking bench for example - none of the router
based mortising systems will work (without a lot of creative
adapting) - so you need a chisel and bit mortising machine.
Don't even think about using the "mortising accessory"
that come with drill presses these days. The chisels and
bits are keepers - but using them on a drill press is an
exercise in futility.