Mortising With A Brad Point

If you don't own a set of Forstner bits, brad point bits will work almost as well. The only difference is tl latyoull have to leave a little bit of space between each hole to prevent the bit from wandering off course, see drawing. This means a little more clean-up work with the chisel.

Drill overlapping holes with Forstner bit

Drill overlapping holes with Forstner bit

2 Using a Forstner bit, drill a hole close to each end. Then remove the waste in between by drilling a series of overlapping holes.

3 With a wide chisel, remove the "peaks," trimming the mortise sides flush with the layout lines. Try to keep the sides smooth and parallel.

a wide paring chisel (%" or 3/V). Even with the layout lines to help a wide chisel will make it easier to pare away the peaks and keep the sides straight ENDS. With the sides clean, the last step is to square up the ends, see Step 4. Though it might not look much different, paring the ends isn't the same technique as cleaning the sides. For one thing, die end holes are drilled short of the layout lines, so there's usually a little more wood to remove. Plus, you're cutting across the grain rather than with it, so you'll have to use a bit more force.

4 Finally, both ends of the mortise can be squared up and trimmed to the layout lines using a chisel that matches the width of the mortise.

Because of this, I like to position my body right over the workpiece so I can use my weight when pressing down on the chisel. And I use a sharp chisel that matches the width of the mortise, see Step 4. This way as you push down, the sides of the mortise will help guide the chisel.

With the mortise complete, you're half done. Now you can turn to the tenon on the mating piece. But starting with a good, square mortise makes it a whole lot easier to cut the tenon and end up with a strong joint — and that perfect "sliding" fit. ESI

A stop block will come in handy if you need to drill mortises in the same location in several pieces.

A Square up the ends of a mortise by slicing straight down with the chisel. Working directly over the piece allows you to use your body weight for leverage.

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