An Alternative Mortising Attachment on a Drill Press

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to make sure it's square with the chisel. If it's out of square, you can correct the problem by removing the screws that hold the table and adding a shim. Usually, a couple pieces of masking tape are all it takes to square the surface.

FENCE. Sitting just above the table is the adjustable fence. The fence keeps the mortise properly spaced on the workpiece. Cast iron is the norm for fences. Once again, you'll want to make sure it's square to the table. To keep chips from piling up between the fence and workpiece, most mortisers leave a gap between the fence and table.

HOLD-DOWNS. Since the hollow chisel fits tightly against the walls of the mortise as it cuts, the work-piece has a tendency to lift off the table as you raise the chisel after a cut. For this reason, all mortisers have some form of hold-down. The example at right shows a common arrangement. A post is incorporated into the fence and the hold-down is adjusted vertically.

DEPTH STOP. To control the depth of cut, all mortisers include a depth stop. Like depth stops on drill presses, how they work varies from one machine to another. One of the simplest and easiest to use is an adjustable rod, like the one shown on the model at right.

Another option for hollow-chisel mortising is to add an attachment to your drill press. A mortising attachment kit is relatively inexpensive (around $75) and kits are available for most types of drill presses. The nice thing about a drill press kit is you can adjust the bit speed.

HOW IT WORKS. The way the kit works is pretty simple. To hold the chisel, a yoke fits over the quill of the drill press and locks in position with a collar. With the yoke holding the chisel, the drill drives the auger bit. The photo at right shows the fence and hold-downs that are included in a typical kit.

A yoke attached to the quill of the drill press holds the chisel

DOWNSIDE. But this arrangement has some drawbacks. First, setting up and removing the attachment is time consuming. And the handles of a drill press can bend under the torque needed to plunge a chisel into hardwoods.

Extra-Long Chuck Key

-- Chisel Set Screw Chisel and Bit Set Hold-Down

Depth Stop

Table

Motor-

The four outside faces of the chisel are easily honed using a waterstone.

Hone the inside faces of the cutting lips of the auger bit with a fine-grit diamond paddle. A few strokes is all it takes to get a sharp edge.

A diamond cone makes short work of sharpening the bevel on the inside of the chisel.

Setting Table Properly

When set up properly, the auger bit should extend just beyond the chisel.

A penny is just the right thickness to set the clearance between the end of the chisel and bit.

Hollow Drill With Sharp Edge

A quick spritz of dry-lube spray helps reduce friction and heat build-up for smooth cutting.

TUNE-UP TIPS

Before you can start cutting mortises, it's important to have all the components of your mortiser tuned-up properly. And this starts with the chisel and bit.

SHARPENING THE CHISEL Just like any other woodworking tool, the cutting edges of the square chisel and auger bit need to be sharp to keep them cutting efficiently. But sharpening the hollow chisel is a little different than what you may be used to.

I start by working on the beveled, inside faces of the chisel. I use a specially designed diamond cone (left photo below). Refer to Sources on page 51 for more information.

Once you've honed the inside bevel, the next step is to work on the outside faces. As you can see in

When set up properly, the auger bit should extend just beyond the chisel.

A penny is just the right thickness to set the clearance between the end of the chisel and bit.

A quick spritz of dry-lube spray helps reduce friction and heat build-up for smooth cutting.

the center photo below, I like to use a stone to polish each of the four faces of the chisel. Keep in mind that sharpening changes the width of the chisel slightly.

AUGER BITS. Since the auger bit does most of the work of cutting a mortise, it's important to keep it sharp. For this task, I turn to the paddle-style diamond sharpeners (right photo below). The important thing to remember here is that you only want to sharpen the flat, inside edges of the bit.

INSTALL THE CHISEL & BIT. After sharpening, you're ready to install the chisel and bit. When properly set up, the auger bit extends beyond the cutting edges of the chisel (left photo above). Without adequate clearance, chips can clog and burn in the chisel (top photo on opposite page). But if the bit extends too far, it could break. Fortunately, there's an easy technique for installing the bit and chisel correctly.

You can set the right clearance by using a penny as a temporary spacer when you install the chisel. The right photo above shows you what I mean. With the chisel in place (using the coin as a spacer), install the auger bit in the chuck with the spurs of the bit even with the tips of the chisel. Finally, loosen the chisel lock, remove the coin, and raise the chisel. Close the gap and seat it firmly against the mortiser, then tighten the lock. All that's left to do now is to align the chisel with the fence.

ALIGN THE CHISEL. A successful mortise and tenon joint relies on a flat-walled mortise. (See the left photo on the opposite page.) That means the chisel must be square to the fence. To square the chisel I lower it until it almost touches the table. Then loosen the chisel and rotate it until the back face is parallel to the fence and retighten it. Now you're set to start cutting.

The four outside faces of the chisel are easily honed using a waterstone.

Hone the inside faces of the cutting lips of the auger bit with a fine-grit diamond paddle. A few strokes is all it takes to get a sharp edge.

A diamond cone makes short work of sharpening the bevel on the inside of the chisel.

How-To: Cutting a Mortise

Start With the Ends. Make sure the hold-down is tight against the workpiece, then make a cut at each end.

Staggered Holes. Next, remove more of the waste, leaving a small "bridge" of material between each hole.

Clean-Up Pass. Finally, go back and make one last pass to remove the waste left between cuts and clean up the mortise.

The chisel can become packed with chips that cause heat build-up.

Table Saw Techniques

Start With the Ends. Make sure the hold-down is tight against the workpiece, then make a cut at each end.

Staggered Holes. Next, remove more of the waste, leaving a small "bridge" of material between each hole.

Clean-Up Pass. Finally, go back and make one last pass to remove the waste left between cuts and clean up the mortise.

another dimple near the first one you made. Now adjust the fence and repeat this process until the dimples match in the center.

CUTTING STRATEGY. A common mistake many woodworkers make when using a mortiser is to simply cut overlapping holes. The problem with this technique is that the chisel is apt to deflect toward the unsupported side of the cut. The resulting mortise may not have square walls.

The box below illustrates a more reliable technique for cutting square-sided mortises. I like to start by cutting a hole at each end of the mortise first. Then make a series of cuts, leaving a narrow "bridge" between each one. A final clean-up pass removes the remainder of the waste and smooths the walls.

HEAT & SMOKE. Even with a well-tuned machine, you might get some smoke when you cut mortises. Most of the heat is a result of chips not ejecting properly, so you'll want to stop and clear the chips often. A little bit of discoloration is common when chisels overheat, as shown in the center photo at right.

As you can see, getting clean, square mortises is easy with the right setup and technique. In the end, that means stronger joints and better-looking projects. Bi

How-To: Cutting a Mortise

The chisel can become packed with chips that cause heat build-up.

CUTTING TECHNIQUE

With the chisel and bit sharpened and your mortiser now properly set up, you're ready to start cutting mortises. And this is where proper technique makes a difference.

SET THE FENCE. After you've marked the mortise locations on the work-piece, the next step is to set the fence. This will determine the location of the mortise relative to the edge of the workpiece.

If you need to cut a mortise centered on the thickness of a work-piece, there's a simple technique you can use. With the motor off, lower the bit until it creates a small dimple in the workpiece. Then, flip the workpiece end-for-end and repeat this process to create e The discoloration caused by heat build-up (upper photo) doesn't affect the edge-holding ability of the steel and is easily removed by honing (lower photo).

The top mortise was cut with a misaligned chisel, while the one below was dead-on.

Clamp Stop Block

NOTE: Plane all boards to a consistent thickness before cutting out parts

Stack blanks for gang cuts

Clamp Technique For Building Table

Clamp stop block to auxiliary miter gauge fence

Stop Blocks

Once I have my stock thick-nessed, the next step is usually to begin cutting parts to size. Here again, you want consistent results. An accurate rip fence will ensure that like parts are all ripped to the same width. But when it comes to cutting the parts to length, a simple stop block clamped to your miter gauge fence is invaluable.

A stop block allows you to cut multiple parts to the same length without having to measure each one. You can save more time by stacking your workpieces two or three at a time to make "gang" cuts.

Gearing up to make a large run of identical parts for a project (such as the chairs on page 20) can be a real challenge, especially in a small shop. The key to accurate results is consistency and organization. But you don't need a huge shop to stay organized. Here are five tips you can use to get production shop results in a home shop.

Stock Preparation

Si Any kind of production process starts with gathering and preparing the raw materials. In the case of furnituremaking, that means making sure all of your lumber is prepped properly.

I begin by planing and jointing my stock to square up all the boards. And I also run all the parts of the same thickness through my planer at one time. This way, I can avoid slight differences in thickness caused by trying to reset my planer to match the thickness of parts that I've already made.

It may sound like a minor thing, but starting with square stock of a consistent thickness will make cutting the joinery and fitting parts together go a lot smoother.

Clamp stop block to auxiliary miter gauge fence

Stack blanks for gang cuts small shop solutions tips for producin

Identi Parts

Save time and get better results by using these "assembly line" techniques.

NOTE: Plane all boards to a consistent thickness before cutting out parts

Iron Press Table

^KSr One of the best ways to speed production of multiple parts is to group identical workpieces together when doing layout tasks.

For example, when I have a number of identically sized rails or stiles that are to be mortised, I'll clamp the parts together and lay out the mortise locations on all the pieces at one time, as shown in the drawing at right. This method also works well for laying out hole locations in identical parts.

Not only does this method save time, but it has the additional advantage of ensuring that all your mortises or holes are laid out in the same position on each piece.

To save time, group parts - together when laying out joinery

Clamp prevents parts from shifting

Templates

S When it comes to laying out curves or odd-shaped parts, one of the best ways to achieve consistency is by using a template. All you have to do is lay out your pattern on a piece of hardboard. Then cut the template to shape and sand the edges. You can then use this template to transfer the pattern to your workpieces. This not only saves time, it also ensures all your pieces will be laid out identically.

By taping the template to your workpiece, you can also use it as a guide for a pattern bit. This allows you to trim the part to size after cutting it out to rough shape.

Hardboard template simplifies layout and ensures that matching parts are identical

Mark Those Pieces

Organization is a key component to making a run of multiple parts. When you're in the midst of cutting out parts, it's easy to get workpieces mixed up. To avoid this, I label each piece with the part name. Then as I work, I keep identical parts stacked together until it's time for assembly.

JOINERY. No matter how hard you try, it's inevitable that there will be some slight differences in the way even "identical" pieces fit together with mating parts. And after carefully fitting each joint, you want to make sure that the parts are assembled in the right order. So I always take time to also label and number mating parts of a project.

For example, if I'm building a box, I'll number the mating parts of each corner. And I'll also label the outside face of each part. Although this may sound like an extra, unnecessary step, it really / can make your assembly go a / lot smoother. /

These are just a few tips I use when building multiples of a project. Depending on the type of project you're making, you may be able to come up with others. ES

Label and number parts to aid in assembly

Simple and inexpensive hooks can be used to hang parts while they dry.

Table Saw Techniques

Adding a finish before you assemble a project not only saves you a lot of aggravation but also helps you achieve better-looking results.

And if you need to buff them down between coats (as so many finishes require), that's easy as well.

HANG 'EM HIGH. But prefinishing presents a new challenge — what to do with the pieces when they're wet. For large panels or tabletops, you can apply the finish to one side, let it dry, and then flip it over to do the other. But how do you deal with lots of smaller parts?

Over the years, I've come to rely on a simple but very effective way of hanging wet-finished parts on a line in my shop. It's a lot like drying clothes on a clothesline. It might not look like an elegant solution, but it's very effective. And best of all, it's inexpensive and works well, even in a small shop.

PREPARING THE PIECES. Since most finishes will interfere with a good glue bond, it's important to keep surfaces that will be glued (like mortises and tenons) clean. So, the first step is to mask off the areas you don't want finished.

I often fill mortises with small bits of foam backer rod cut to size. You can tape off tenons using painter's tape. (It's easy to remove when the finish is dry). The box on the opposite page will show you how to mask parts effectively.

But as you get used to this method, you'll find you don't always need to mask these sur-faces. That's because you have so much better control when applying the finish to a single, flat part.

The hardest part of finishing a project with lots of joints (like the chairs on page 20) is getting consistent coverage on every surface, including all the nooks and crannies. And it can be a real headache to get into those places to sand the finish between coats.

Sometimes if makes more sense to apply the finish to the parts individually, before putting them all together. That's the idea behind prefinishing your workpieces. Before assembly, you can easily access all sides of every part and apply an even coat of stain or any finishing product.

Simple and inexpensive hooks can be used to hang parts while they dry.

Mortising Chairs

Adding a few simple slip knots to a nylon line keeps the hanging parts from bumping into each other while the finish dries.

Mortising ChairsMortising Chairs

ADD THE HOOKS. The next step is to attach a small hook to each part. The trick here is to locate the hook in a spot where the hole that is left behind won't be seen. For example, a hole in the end of tenon will be out of sight, buried in the mortise. Chair or table legs can have a hook in the bottom where the hole will never be noticed. If you think about it, virtually every individual piece has a surface that won't be seen when assembled.

Now all you need to do is drill a small hole and add an appropriately sized hook that can handle the weight of the part. In most cases, a hook like those shown in the margin photo at the bottom of the opposite page will work fine.

A WORKSHOP CLOTHESLINE. Next, you'll need to install a line in your shop to hang the pieces on. In a garage shop, an easy option is to use the overhead rails from your garage door. There's usually plenty of room for a couple of lines strung between the ends of the track. But you can also string a line between two walls easily enough.

For the line itself, I've used both nylon cord and thin picture-hanging wire with no problems. The important thing to keep in mind is that you don't want the pieces sliding into each other as the line sags under the weight.

When using a cord, it's a simple matter to tie a slipknot every four to six inches (photo below). For a wire

Adding a few simple slip knots to a nylon line keeps the hanging parts from bumping into each other while the finish dries.

line, you can just wrap a little tape around the wire every few inches to stop the hooks from sliding.

STRATEGY. After you've attached the hooks and masked the parts, you can brush, wipe, or spray on the finish of your choice. 'Sppw»11"'' And you'll have plenty of time to check for runs, sags, and other imperfections.

All you need to do now is hang the pieces up to dry. I like to finish all the pieces by size, starting with the larger pieces first. This way, I can distribute the weight on the line to prevent it from sagging too much. Hang heavier parts near each end (where there's more support) and lighter parts in the middle of the line.

Another benefit of this technique is that you can easily inspect each piece for finishing flaws while it's drying. And when it's time to sand between coats, you'll really appreciate how easy it is to work with smaller, individual pieces. Once you get used to the process, you'll be prefinishing almost all of your projects. BS

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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