Template Mortising

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Guide your router with a template to cut those hard-to-position mortises.

Mortise Template Guides

Using a template to guide a mortising cut is sometimes die most convenient, accurate, and effective way to work. You outfit your plunge router with a gukk bushing and a straight bit, then use it with a template lo rout the mortise.

Hie key is not the router, per sc. but the template. A mortising template, like any other template, can be made of «□board, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, or plastic. It can be a job-specific jig. made to Ik- used for the particular application at hand, then tossed. Or it can be a keeper, one you squirrel away against the day you need to nuke that very mortise again.

You can make a template for mortising door frames or bee frames; but frankly, this is mortising work I'd do using one of the other mortising jigs presented in this book.To me, there are other woodworking situations to which the mortising template is better suited, many in which the template is the only solution. Let me list some specific applications:

•the through mortise in a panel, such as the mortises in a bench seat or a ease side;

•a through mortise in a very thick workpiccc, which requires you to work from both sides of the workpiece. An example is a sawbuck leg assembly that has a through mortise for a stretcher.

•a mortise in the face of a panel; this is a workpiece that can't be clamped in the Mortising Jig on page 12-1 or the Shop-Built Slot Mortiser on page 131.1 once reproduced a country chest of drawers in which the face rails were mortised into the sides. To cut the mortises, I used a template. • a difficult-to-position mortise, such as one in a ¡round, one cut into the arris of a leg, one cut into an already-shaped pan, or one to be cut at an angle, hi these situations, the use of a template allows you to make a cradle for the workpiece and still provide a flat, sound bearing surface for the router. Using a template frees you of the need to provide a guide surface for an edge-guide or the baseplate edge.

What I'm going to do here is explain, step by step, how to make and use a basic mortising template. This is the sort of template used in the first example given above, a through mortise in a bench seat.Then I'll show you the templates used in the other specific jobs cited above.

Making a Generic Mortising Template

The exercise here is to make a country-style five-board bench. The bench's legs cadi have two tenons as long as the seat is thick. These tenons extend into mortises cut through the scat lx>ard.Thc 1 '/»-inch-wide X 2V»-inch-long mortises are routed with a guide bushing-equipped plunge router and a template.

5"

Template window is routed with V*" bit; corner radius is W.

W X mortise routed using template with ¡4" bit and V*"-O.D. guide bushing

Vi" plywood'

Mortise midline scribed on template

CHIP CLEARANCE

Tight clearance between the collar and the bit constricts the passage of chips from the cut.

Ample clearance between the collar and the bit promotes passage of chips out of the cut.

Mortise centerline scribed on template

Cutting List

Part

Qty. Dimensions

Material

Template

1 X 1 2" X 16"

Birch plywood

W X mortise routed using template with ¡4" bit and V*"-O.D. guide bushing

CHIP CLEARANCE

GENERIC MORTISING TEMPLATE LAYOUT

Template window is routed with V*" bit; corner radius is W.

Mortise centerline scribed on template

Vi" plywood'

Mortise midline scribed on template

The template itself is a piece of '/-»-inch or '/2-inch birch plywood- You set the template on the workpicce (which rests on a piece of scrap) and apply a couple of clamps, securing the template to the work and the work to the workbench. Then rout.

Before making the template, you have to make fundamental decisions about the bushing and the bit you will use. You have to make these decisions up front, because

With standard guide bushings, the collar length increases as the collar diameter increases.

The longer the collar, the thicker the template material must be, and the less deep the bit extending through it can reach.

Tight clearance between the collar and the bit constricts the passage of chips from the cut.

Ample clearance between the collar and the bit promotes passage of chips out of the cut.

you must size the window in the template to accor date the bushing. Too. you have to position the window to account for the offset, which is the difference between ik size of the bushing and the size of the bit.

1. Choose the bit for the mortising operation.

Typically, you use a bit whose diameter matches the de-1 sired mortise width. For a '/4-inch-widc mortise, you useij

CHOOSING A GUIDE BUSHING FOR TEMPLATE MORTISING

COLLAR LENGTH

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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