Using a Hollow-Chisel Mortiser
One man's techniques for a machine vital to his craft
Synopsis: John W. West’s business often tackles limited production jobs, where he says he’d be lost without his manual, foot-operated hollow-chisel mortise machine. It’s easy to set up for angled or canted mortises, and it’s the only type that will make a single square hole, like those in window-sash bars and louvered doors. West explains how it works and how to set it up and troubleshoot it. You should plan your joints first, and mark them precisely. He explains how different plunge methods vary and how to make them, and he details benchtop mortisers, too. Side information discusses how to sharpen hollow chisels.
Some time ago, fresh out of school, I practiced architecture for several years. I discovered early on that I had to make too many compromises to practice my trade. Now I own and run a small custom woodworking business, and I’m often awarded…