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Old School Mortising

Because I wanted a true historical hand tool experience on this project, I decided to waste out the material of the mortises with nothing but a couple of chisels and a mallet. Whew, that took some determination! In the end, though, it was fun. It is a great experience to see just what it took to build without any electricity.

To waste out the material, I start by making a line with the chisel about 1/8” from the line. I then work in a series of cuts about ½” deep, ¼” apart. I work through the length of the mortise and then clean the chunks out. I continue down until my desired depth. Most of the mortises on this frame were 2” deep.

Another way to do mortises the old school way is to use a Boring Machine. In this video you can see how the machine works. This is a very slick machine; the guy here is driving a 2” auger bit, something a power drill has a very hard time doing. You will see that he has a fairly easy time of it. You need a ¾” power drill for a bit that big, a bigger drill than carpenters usually have.

One more tool for the list!