Template Mortising Frame Members

Yes. you can use a template to rout mortises in the edges of stiles (and rails) for face frames and door frames. Typically, a cleat is screwed to the template parallel to the mortising slot. The template can then be set on the workpiece with the cleat tight against the work-piece face. Clamps are applied, securing the template to the work. Then you rout the mortise.

Using a thin template with a cleat works well in this situation, but there's a lot of busywork in clamping the work and then positioning the template on it and clamping that. To move the template to a new spot, you usually also have to reposition the work in the vise. But if you can use thicker template stock, say I^-inch or more, you can reduce the busywork and save time.

What you do is make the template large enough to clamp to a workbench, with the mortising slot and the cleat cantilevered off the bench. Then you merely have to push the work against the cleat and the bottom of the template and then clamp it to the cleat. To rout a second or third mortise in the same piece, you simply have to move the work, not the work and the template. As I said before, this is the sort of router-mortising work that can be done efficiently using one of the other mortising jigs.

But a variant of this work, a variant in which the template-mortising approach proved its worth, came up in building the reproduction chest of drawers briefly described under "A Mortise in the Panel's Face" on page 1 S3. The drawer runners were mortised into the face rails and the case's back boards. These mortises were Ys inch square.

Now if I had tried to rout them using the Mortising jig on page 124,1 either would have had to settle for %-inch-diameter round mortises or I would have had to rout them using two different edge-guide settings. Talk about busyworkl

8ut since I used a square window in the joinery template made for the job and a '/4-inch bit, the mortises turned out square with radiused corners. And by screwing a cleat with a positioning stop under the template, I was able to slap those rails in place, rout the mortise, and efficiently change over to the next rail.

The template can hold the workpiece for mortising if it is sturdy enough. Attach a cleat to the bottom of the template to position the workpiece for mortising. Clamp the work to the cleat, as shown, then rout the mortise.


Use W template guide and V*" straight bit.

Screw a x I'/?" cleat to the underside of the template.


Adjusting the setup for the next mortise was as simple »freeing die clamps, sliding the template to the next mor-tisr location, then redamping it. Because the cleat was parallel to the slots, the mortises were all parallel to the «tie's front edge.

A Difficult-to-Position Mortise

Routing a mortise in a round post.into the arris of a square billet, into any part of a shaped piece, can be vexing. Use a template both to support the router square to the mortise and to control the width and length of the mortise.

What you must do in these situations is to build a V-block or other cradle to hold the workpicce and then construct a complementary support for the template.

Adjusting the setup for the next mortise was as simple »freeing die clamps, sliding the template to the next mor-tisr location, then redamping it. Because the cleat was parallel to the slots, the mortises were all parallel to the «tie's front edge.

Rout mortises in the face of a panel with a template. Here, the template is clamped to the side of the chest of drawers. With a cleat clamped to the bottom of the template, it's easy to slide the template along the workpiece from mortise to mortise. This fence ensures that all will be the same distance from the workpiece's edge. Lining up the slots for the three different rail mortises makes it easier to rout them in the first place and easier also to rout the mortises.

Mortising a turning is a template job. Here a turned leg is clamped between t*o strips of plywood in a vise. The mortising template is aligned over the mortise location, then attached to the plywood strips with drywall screws.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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