Q: I use a drill press to make mortises. What is the best way to square the corners, a bench chisel or a corner chisel? Veryl Williams, Springfield, PA A: Corner chisels seem like a great idea, but they are unnecessary. When squaring a mortise, the most challenging job for a chisel is cutting the end grain, and that’s where you should start. Choose a bench chisel the same width as the mortise. Begin with shallow cuts to prevent the chisel from being forced outside the mortise by the wedging action of its bevel. Then take much stronger cuts to remove the waste quickly. After the end grain has been cut, use a wide chisel to pare the sides of the mortise. click to enlarge click to enlarge Set the chisel on the layout line and start soft. This will keep the chisel from straying outside of the line. After forming a small shoulder, you can really whack the chisel and cut through the end grain quickly. click to enlarge Take care with the sides. Because the strength of the joint comes from how well the tenon cheeks mate with the mortise sides, the sides should be vertical and…
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