They can cut mortises of almost any length quickly and accurately, but hollow-chisel mortisers are among the most finicky of power tools. When not properly set up and used, this is a machine that can plague you with jammed chips, overheated bit and chisel tips, burnt workpieces, and broken parts. But once you learn the right way to set up your mortiser, you'll find this aspect of joinery turns effortless. Fine Woodworking contributing editor Roland Johnson shares his tips, starting with the proper way to sharpen and install the chisel and bit, and ending with advice on cutting expert mortises.

From Fine Woodworking #185