Select your guide material carefully
Pick the right guides
By gluing up four pieces to create the guide opening, you size it perfectly and create precise 90° corners. Depending on the application, make the end and side guides from hardboard or MDF. Both materials provide smooth edges. Use 1/4" hardboard guides [top drawing] when you need to see into small, shallow mortises such as those used for holding decorative square buttons. For larger, deeper mortises, 3/4" MDF [bottom drawing] provides a broader support surface for the back of your chisel, keeping the tool vertical as you pare the full depth of the walls.
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