The Easy Way to Make Mortises

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Each one of these things is minor but when you have to have all of them exact, it’s a bit more difficult. Some mortising techniques require you to carefully check and reset these settings every time you make a mortise (too much hassle).

What I wanted was a system where I can set up all the parameters for the first mortise I make for a project and then leave it on autopilot for the rest of the mortises that day.

How I Do It

The best way I have found is by using a tool called a hollow chisel mortiser. The one I use in my shop is a Delta Bench Mortiser that I bought on Craigslist. It’s not a cheap tool (usually between $300-$400 new), and it only does one thing, but it does that one thing incredibly well. It makes perfect mortises!

Woodworkers Journal has a good video on how to setup and use a bench top mortiser that I have included below. It’s a little dry but everything you need to know, other than my helpful tips, is in here.

If you have any plans to make more than a handful of mortises every year, this by far the fastest and most consistent way to do it. I’ll lay out the basic steps below.

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