Mortising with Chisels
Steps 3 - 4
3 When you reach the near end of the mortise, turn the bevel edge away and set the chisel vertically 1/8" from the end line, as shown at left. Then go back to the other end and repeat step one. Continue in this way, checking the depth with a ruler or combination square, until you've reached the desired mortise depth.
4 Here's the key to cutting perfectly smooth, straight ends in a mortise -- the kind of accuracy that results in a strong, tight fit for the tenon. If your mortise is close to the end of the workpiece, find or cut a spacer block of the same thickness as your workpiece, and place it at the end, as shown at left. Clamp a 90° guide block on the layout line that marks the mortise end. Hold the flat side of the chisel firmly against this guide with one hand, and drive the chisel straight down to the bottom of the mortise.
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