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Mortice- a fundamental question

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Andrew16/01/2010 19:23:30
138 forum posts
124 photos
Dear guys
This question may be simple but i need some clarification.
How do i cut a motice say 1/4 inch or 5/8th inch precisely centered in a 3/4inch thick stock with machine or hand.
Please do not laugh, any suggesions will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Big Al16/01/2010 21:45:18
1604 forum posts
73 photos
If you have a morticer, then mark the centre of the workpiece thickness and sent the fence so that the centre of the auger bit is touching the mark line, and to be absolutely certain of centre, cut the mortice twice, turning the workpiece 180 degrees, and resting it against the fence from both sides. (hope this makes sense).
The same procedures apply if using a router jig, if cutting the mortice by hand then it is essential that your marking out is precise, as any mistake in marking out will lead to errors. Always mark your your mortice from both outside edges.
Sparky16/01/2010 22:53:30
7631 forum posts
22 photos
Hi Andrew
If by hand you can cheat slightly by dividing the wood's width by 3, cut the middle third out and the tenon's outer 3rds......This is not the correct way of doing things but it is effective non-the-less.  
Big Al17/01/2010 08:42:15
1604 forum posts
73 photos
Marc, your method of dividing the width by 3 isn't cheating, its one of the rules of mortice and tenons as it creates the strongest joint.
Andrew17/01/2010 10:47:45
138 forum posts
124 photos
Lets say I use a mortice guage, then how do i make sure the two line scribed by the guage is dead centre.
i dont have a morticer or a morticing router jig.
Oddjob17/01/2010 11:28:12
1635 forum posts
79 photos
Set the gap between the pins to the width of the mortice.  Use the chisel you are going to cut the mortice with for this.
Locate the pins approximately central on the workpiece and slide the headstock up to it and lock.  Make small marks with the pins.
Move the gauge to the other sideof the workpiece - the pins should drop exactly into the marks made initially.  If not, adjust the position of the headstock until the pins make holes in the same place from each side.
I hope that helps.
Julian17/01/2010 12:18:11
556 forum posts
28 photos
Hi Andrew,
    I still use Richards method even when cutting with a morticer.
By the way, never feel silly about asking a question. No matter how daft it seems, if you
don't know the answer or are not sure then it's not a silly question.
Andrew17/01/2010 14:28:59
138 forum posts
124 photos
Thanks to all for your valuable suggestions. Not I get some idea about the process.
Ron Davis17/01/2010 15:59:15
1619 forum posts
201 photos
I go along with both Richard and Julian
Delete17/01/2010 21:39:58
575 forum posts
The big thing about any craft. You will not know how to do something untill you have learnt how to do it. The best and fastest way to learn is to ask. No question is silly. People only ask to find out so that makes it sensible. Most of the people on here are only too ready to help with advice.
As a point of interest I wonder how many years of experience we have in total I can start at 50 and I refuse to admit to anything over that even if it is about another 6.
Olly Parry-Jones19/01/2010 15:48:40
2776 forum posts
636 photos
If you are using a machine to cut these joints, strictly speaking, they don't need to be absolutely dead-centre... If your timber has been accurately prepared then you can work off a reference face and edge - keep the same face of each length against the fence when you cut your mortises and also on the rails, when you cut your tenons.
Though, that partly depends on how you're cutting your tenons... If you're using a router or bandsaw and are working off of both faces, you will be cutting a tenon which is 'central'. In that case, I'd take Al's suggestion and work off both faces also when chopping your mortises.

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