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Mortise Jig

Add Precision to Your Work!

Why bother with a mortise jig? Without it, you compromise your furniture joinery. The mortise and tenon is the joint of choice in furniture. The joint resists tension and twist, and works great in compression and shear. In addition, registration of your joint is perfect with this jig!

The mortise is an excavation. It can be difficult without the proper tools. For a perfect fit, you want the tenon to fit the mortise exactly.

Some people use hand chisels or a drill press with hollow square chisels. Other woodworkers turn the router horizontally.
For the most precise and repeatable mortises, you should consider this mortiser. The Mortise Jig gives excellent results every time. The mortise and tenon joint will last your lifetime.

With the Tenon Jig, you can make precise mortise and tenon joints in less time than any other method.
You get exact alignment for both parts. You can make mortises of nearly any length, width or depth. Moreover, they are repeatable for multiple cuts.

How does the mortise jig work? The beauty of this system is simplicity.

  • The set up is quick.
  • The cuttings are efficient.
  • It supports the workpiece in all directions.
  • It locks the router to evacuate only the mortise needed.
  • It is repeatable for several pieces, such as multiple drawer cavities on each side of a desk.
  • It makes your furniture uniform and strong.

With this Mortise Jig, your capabilities increase. You transfer the skills required for cutting and fixturing to the jig. Once you make this mortiser, you will wonder how you got along without it!
(See Movie Demo below.)

You can purchase a similar Mortiser from Pat Warner (Router Expert) for $319.

Mortise Jig

Or You Can Make Your Own:
All you need is four pieces of oak, maple, or cherry, along with shop-made Slide Stops and Edge Guides. With the Slide Stops, you define the long dimension of the mortise. The two Edge Guides control the width of the mortise. The plunge router is locked into position to make precise mortises.

This jig will amaze you with perfect mortises every time.
To make your own, go to the Plans Page - Mortise Jig.
The plans include large diagrams, material list including hardware, and cutting guide.


How to Use:
Mortise Jig

Mark out the mortise dimensions from your tenon. Center the mortise in the center of the mortise jig (centerline). Clamp the wood into the jig from below first, and then lock the toggle clamps. Set-up your stop index on the right, if you are going to do several.

Adjust your mortise slide stops, so that the router bit just touches the North and South Line.

Adjust your Edge guides' stop collars so that the router bit exactly hits the edge of the mortise on both sides. Now you have the mortise defined.

The short movie demonstrates how easy this is!

Loosen bottom support. Unlock toggle clamps. Take board out, and put in the next one. Make sure it fits snugly to your stop index. Raise your bottom support; Lock the toggle clamps. Nothing else changes, so you can rout to depth for multiple duplicate mortises.


Size of Router Bits:
A carbide straight bit is best. I use a 1/4" router bit (1/2" shank) for most cuts. A larger router bit will get closer to the edge of the workpiece.

If you want quality router bits at a fair price, please visit my Best Place to Buy Page.

Which first — Tenon or Mortise?
With the tenon jig, you make the shoulder of the tenon with a rabbet bit. The bit's different size bearings give you the size of the shoulder. They are in 1/16" increments.

I think it best to make the tenon first. It is easy to set-up the mortise jig to make any size mortise that you need. Therefore, you will have a snug fit when you know the tenon's size and make the mortise to accept it.

Once you use the system, you will understand how quick and easy it is. Make the tenons. Setup the mortise jig and make multiple mortises exactly the same size and depth.

To square the mortise or round the tenon — that is the question?:
You can either square the mortise or round the corners of the tenon. I've tried both methods. It seems easier to round the edges of the tenon. You can use a chisel or a wood rasp to do this quickly and easily.

Good Luck as you make perfect mortises!



Unsolicited Testimonials

Hi Jim,
Just wanted to drop you a note and thank you. I bought the tenon and mortising jig plans from you a few days ago. I was a little overwhelmed with a cradle I am building for a new baby coming in September. The plans for this cradle require 56 matching tenons and 56 mortises! That’s a lot of complicated cuts on narrow lumber.

It took four hours to build the jigs I did a test run on some pine and just stared at the results in awe. I made all of the tenon cuts in less than an hour and the mortising was finished in under two. Every one perfect and all the parts completely interchangeable.

Thanks,
Ray B. - Billings


Hi Jim,
Just wanted to let you know that I finished making the Mortise Jig.
It looks great and was easy to put together.
The hardest thing to make was the edge guide.

All my cuts are straight and true.
I am going to pick up some MDF for the tenon jig.
I think I will have the butcher-block table done by the end of the month; I will take some pictures and send them to you.

Thanks for the great plans!
Signed: Dave Robinson


Update 10 days later
I made my FIRST Mortise and Tenon joint today using the jigs. 100% perfect first time - exact 90-degree joint. I am very impressed!
Thanks, Dave Robinson

Update - Picture of First Project Click to See Picture


Jim,
Having fun with your mortise jig design. I was working last night on some legs for a chest project I am doing. Everything I milled on the legs was done using the jig. I am very happy with the results.

I have attached a couple of pictures of the results using your designed jig.

Thanks,
Scott Metzler - Port Angeles, WA


Thanks Jim,
Great stuff! It took me about 2 hours to build the jig (with timeout for lunch) and then about 30 minutes to cut all 8 mortises on my table legs!

Thanks for the Plans,
Chuck Allen - Hampton Cove, AL


Hi Jim,
I made the Mortise Jig out of cherry and increased the height to accommodate 4" boards.
It worked beautifully!

I just finished the Tenon Jig.
It Also Works Great!

Thanks for the great jigs,
Ken Adams - Lafayette, LA


My caring wife purchased a "hollow chisel" mortising machine for me. It is a thing of beauty, but it does not create mortises as easily and accurately as my new Mortise Jig.

I think that these Mortise and Tenon Jigs should be kept secret. If people realize the ease of creating such joinery, the awe and mystique will soon disappear.

Thank you, Jim.

My regards,
Jerry Goodrich - Malakoff, Texas


Hi Jim,
I did receive the plans. They are awesome!

I will be able to master all the mortises and tenons joints for all of my projects.

Thanks again for the awesome plans!

Best, regards,
Alessandro Carani - Bushell Park Saskatchewan, Canada


Hi Jim,
I did get the Mortise & Tenon Jigs Plans.
The plans look great!
I will not have any trouble making the jigs!

Thanks,
Jim Cowart - Tylertown, MS


Hello Jim,
I got the Mortise & Tenon Jig Plans Very Quickly. All arrived fine!

Looking forward to making the jigs. Thanks also for the metric conversion charts and screw size charts. They Will Come in Extremely Handy!

Thanks a Lot,
Roger Cosgrove - Ontario, Canada


Hi Jim,
I received the Mortise & Tenon Jig Plans, and have them my computer.
They are very detailed and wonderfully illustrated!
I am anxious to get going!

Just as exciting is that I found your website which looks to contain excellent data on many different areas!

I Will Be Visiting Often,
Bruce Campbell – Andover, MA


Hi Jim,
I just made the Mortise and Tenon Jigs.
They Came Out Excellent!

Thanks a Lot,
Krish Krishnan - Mississauga,Canada


Hi Jim,
I received the Mortise & Tenon Jig Plans.
They are very simple and straight forward!

Thanks again,
Don Barnett – Decatur, AR




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