The Importance of a Mortiser


If you’re a woodworker, you know how important it is to have a good mortiser. Whether you’re assembling a simple piece of furniture or building a roof frame, you need to cut these essential joints.

There are a few different types of mortiser, ranging from horizontal or square chisel machines to chain models. We’ll help you choose the right mortiser for your needs!

Getting Started

The mortise-and-tenon joint is a traditional but crucial timber framing construction technique. It’s strong, reliable, and versatile and is the backbone of a number of woodworking projects, from tables to chairs to casework.

If you’re new to mortising, it might take some time before you can get the hang of the techniques involved. But once you’ve got a handle on it, the process will be a breeze.

In fact, if you follow the instructions below, you’ll be cutting perfect mortises in no time!

You’ll need a chisel with a bit inside it, which you can find at most home improvement centers. Place the chisel in the collar of your mortiser, inserting a dime to keep it from fully seating, then tighten the setscrew.

Next, square up the chisel to the mortiser fence using a small square. This prevents heat damage to the chisel, as well as excess noise during the cut.

Adjusting the Feed Lever

A chisel and bit aren’t the only tools you’ll need to make a slick mortise. A strong motor, a well designed handle and a large table are key to making the job a breeze. You’ll want a good quality mortise blade as well to keep your work from splintering as you hammer in the holes. A honed blade will last longer and produce better results. A well made mortise jig will also save you time by eliminating the need to cut holes in the wrong places. The best part is it’s not hard to find a quality mortise jig that’s right for you. The most important part is that you do your homework to find the one that will suit your needs and budget. Once you’ve found a reputable company to provide you with the best mortiser for your shop, you’ll be ready to tackle the next project.

Setting the Depth

Mortising is an important part of building timber frames. A mortise and tenon joint is an extremely strong connection that can be built by hand or with a machine.

Using a mortising machine is an inexpensive, time-saving way to make these joints. But before you start, it’s important to set the depth of the mortiser properly.

In general, you should use a Forstner bit or bradpoint bit that’s slightly smaller in diameter than the width of the mortise you’re cutting. This makes fitting the tenons and final assembly much easier.

It’s also a good idea to set the depth stop on the drill press to bore 1 / 16 ” deeper than the length of the tenon. This allows you to fully insert the tenon without having to clean up the bottom of the mortise with a chisel. It also reduces the chance of the bottom of the mortise being ridged, which can be time-consuming to remove.

Using the Chisel

A chisel is a woodworking or masonry tool that has a handle with a shaped cutting edge at the end. It can be used for a variety of applications, including cutting angles and designs, smoothing rough surfaces, and chopping out corners for mortise and dovetail joints.

A hollow chisel mortiser is a great tool for the woodworker who does a lot of mortise and tenon work. It allows you to bypass the mallet-and-chisel method of working and still end up with square-ended mortises that pair nicely with tenons made at the table saw or cut by hand.

The key to using the chisel effectively is getting the blade square to the back fence of your mortiser. This is important for clean, straight cuts that will be ready to accept a dovetail joint.

Chisels are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, with varying bevel angles. Generally speaking, they are made of either steel or a variety of other materials, and are designed to be durable, corrosion-resistant, and strong enough to withstand repetitive use.