Hand Tools Archive

Making deep mortises and paying attention
Response To:
Mortise technique ()

David Weaver
I just cut four deep mortises in cherry 3 1/2 inches by 2 inches (Which is deep compared to what I'd normally do).

The oval bolstered chisels definitely separate themselves from everything else for two reasons:
* only a small part of the bevel is in contact with the uncut side of the wood, but the cross section is thick. It's just easier pull the chisel forward and then rotate the chips out in a nice neat stack. There's much less cleaning of anything else.
* with a tall cross section, you can get rougher with them and take more wood at once without having alignment issues. They will take an uncomfortable amount of wood at once and rotate it out

Cutting three mortises in a row makes the chisel warm. I also noticed that whatever is occurring at the tip causes some of the wood to "glue" itself to the bevel side of the chisel. There was a fair amount of mineral/pitch pocketing in the piece of wood that I mortised, so that may have skewed it.

This is done with one of the sorby chisels that I pictured. They are crisp along the bottom edge and leave a very clean mortise. They are only very slightly wider at the cutting edge than the bolster (A few hundredths of an inch, but deliberately made so).

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