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Wood Magazine

10 Ways to Get the Most from Your Plunge Router


1. Mortising

Store-bought or shop-made jigs increase the accuracy of a router as well as its ability to make identical, repeated plunge-router tasks. For example, you don't need to own a hollow-chisel mortiser to make mortises quickly and easily. Simply build the jig shown on the next page, grab your plunge router and an upcut spiral bit, and you're in business. Install a 5/8" guide bushing in your router's subbase and a bit that matches the width of your mortise. Center the scribed lines on the jig to your mortise layout lines, and then rout in 1/4"-deep increments. Depending on the position of your mortises, sometimes only one of the jig's aluminum cross bars will rest on the workpiece. To keep the jig parallel to the workpiece in these instances, add a 1/4" spacer, as shown in the photo.

For the tenons, you have three options, all of which work equally well. First, you can rout mortises in both of the mating workpieces and make a loose tenon to fit. To do this, dimension stock to the thickness and width you'll need, and then round over the edges on your router table. Second, machine a tenon onto the mating workpiece as you'd do for a rectangular mortise, and then simply round the edges with a knife or rasp. Or third, square the mortise corners with a chisel to fit a matching tenon.

Insert a spacer in the mortising jig where this leg's taper begins. That keeps the jig parallel to the mortised surface as shown in photo.

Shop for router mortising jigsWOOD Editors' pick for top tablesaw tenoning jig

Wood Magazine