Mortise in Slab Legs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Mortise in Slab Legs

Hello, I am building a coffee table with slab legs. I am putting a beam between the legs, just under the table top for support and am looking to purchase a drill press to drill the mortises. I'm just starting out and am not at the point where I am comfortable doing mortises by hand.

Since the mortise will extend upwards of 8 inches down, will my the average drill press table be deep enough to drill the entire mortise? It will look something like the picture below. I would just feel goofy, getting a drill press and finding it can only do 3/4 of the mortise or something silly.
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post #2 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 12:38 PM
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drill presses come in sizes ...12", ...15"...20"

That means :
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/h...easured-14892/

So, your new drill press would need to be quite large, and not worth it at this point. You could drill into the exact corners of the slab at the outer dimensions of your tenon using a 3/16" dia or 1/4" dia, 4" long bit to penetrate all the way through. Then connect the outside corners and using a 1" or larger Forsnter bit in a hand drill,"hog" away the material inside the lines, from either side. It will take some time, but you can do this! Then clean up all the surfaces with a very sharp chisel.

Kinda like this:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkWilliams View Post
Hello, I am building a coffee table with slab legs. I am putting a beam between the legs, just under the table top for support and am looking to purchase a drill press to drill the mortises. I'm just starting out and am not at the point where I am comfortable doing mortises by hand.

Since the mortise will extend upwards of 8 inches down, will my the average drill press table be deep enough to drill the entire mortise? It will look something like the picture below. I would just feel goofy, getting a drill press and finding it can only do 3/4 of the mortise or something silly.
I do a lot of these at work and find routing these out is easier if you have this....
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post #4 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebelwork View Post
I do a lot of these at work and find routing these out is easier if you have this....
Beat me to it, I was going to suggest that a router would be a much better tool for this.just make a template the right size and you're off to the races. Square up the corners with a chisel, or just round over the corners on the tenon to match

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post #5 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 06:48 PM
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A router won't work in this case...

The end slab appears to be 3" to 4" thick. Show me a router that will rout a 3" deep hole ..... A saber saw/ jig saw would clean out most of the material, then it's time to start chiseling, paring and clean up.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
The end slab appears to be 3" to 4" thick. Show me a router that will rout a 3" deep hole ..... A saber saw/ jig saw would clean out most of the material, then it's time to start chiseling, paring and clean up.

The leg looks to be no more than 8/4. Wouldn't matter anyway, there are two sides...

I'm still looking for an apprentice at work if your interested

Last edited by Rebelwork; 06-06-2017 at 07:20 PM.
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post #7 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Rebelwork View Post
The leg looks to be no more than 8/4. Wouldn't matter anyway, there are two sides...

I'm still looking for an apprentice at work if your interested
Apparently you didn't read the original post. The pic is an example and not of the op's project. His question was on how to accomplish an 8 inch deep mortise.
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post #8 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 08:35 PM
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Not the way I read it ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkWilliams View Post
Hello, ......

Since the mortise will extend upwards of 8 inches down
, will my the average drill press table be deep enough to drill the entire mortise? It will look something like the picture below. I would just feel goofy, getting a drill press and finding it can only do 3/4 of the mortise or something silly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerrys View Post
Apparently you didn't read the original post. The pic is an example and not of the op's project. His question was on how to accomplish an 8 inch deep mortise.
Nope. "Deep" was referring to the throat depth, not the mortise.

The lowest portion of the mortise will be "down 8" or more from the top edge which led to the OP's question...what size drill press do I need? It was about the size of the drill press, not how to make the mortise. I stated it would require a very large DP to have enough throat to reach 8" or more from the edge.... a 20" or so, and thus $$$ expensive.
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post #9 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 09:22 PM
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Hi Mark,

I will see if I can perhaps offer some insight from somebody that at this point has probably cut over a million (literally) mortises at this point in the game...since just today we probably cut over 40 from very large to small ones...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkWilliams
I'm just starting out and am not at the point where I am comfortable doing mortises by hand.
I can say from teaching this skill set to a fair amount of students now it probably isn't wise to..."think"...that cutting a mortise with power tools is any easier (or more accurate) than simply chopping them out with a Chisel and Mallet...especially for a beginner to both power and/or hand tools...So with that said, I'm not sure a Drill Press is the tool I would ever recommend for such work...???

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkWilliams
Since the mortise will extend upwards of 8 inches down, will my the average drill press table be deep enough to drill the entire mortise?
Now you have me at a bit of a disadvantage and/or state of confusion...???...haha

The photo depicts a rather nice Slab Wood Bench/Stool design. A style I have used in classes in Green Woodworking a fair amount of times. This type of furniture would never have a mortis over 200 mm (~8") deep since that is more a structural mortise found in Timber Framing (another subject of great enjoyment...haha)

So, the deepest mortise you are possibly looking at is maybe 100mm (~4") at the most extreme...Maybe for something really massive 150mm (~6".) The average Slab Wood furniture piece like this is going to have a Mortise about 30mm to 50mm deep only...

Please clarify your mortise depth and/or give an exact photo or illustration of your goals if you can?

Did you mean a mortise 200mm (8") long...???

How Wide...???

What material...???


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkWilliams
It will look something like the picture below. I would just feel goofy, getting a drill press and finding it can only do 3/4 of the mortise or something silly.
No need to feel Goofy...haha...You were smart enough to ask first...!!!...Good for you!

Last edited by 35015; 06-06-2017 at 09:27 PM.
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post #10 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
The end slab appears to be 3" to 4" thick. Show me a router that will rout a 3" deep hole ..... A saber saw/ jig saw would clean out most of the material, then it's time to start chiseling, paring and clean up.

https://bis-amanatool.com/45477-aman...L3fhoCBYrw_wcB
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post #11 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 09:57 PM
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I knew about 3" long bits...

What he would need in addition is a very hefty Router $$$, a pattern, the guide bushings you posted, about $20.00 and the $53.00 bit. I just don't think a guy just starting out would go to that extent to make 2 mortises, but I may be wrong....?

You and I would have all that on hand, so no big deal for us. I might even use my 20" Jet drill press and a 2" Forstner bit... or my 701 Powermatic hollow chisel mortiser .... or my Robert Sorby 1 1/2" mortising chisel ....
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post #12 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 10:12 PM
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I've snapped a few doing 8/4 and 12/4 radius tables. They can get away from the most experienced professionals...
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post #13 of 29 Old 06-06-2017, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Nope. "Deep" was referring to the throat depth, not the mortise.
Whoops, guess I didn't read it either.
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post #14 of 29 Old 06-07-2017, 09:33 AM
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There is always the option of practicing your chiseling skills on some other piece of wood that can be tossed out later. In other words get good with scraps until you feel confident with your prized pieces of material.
I recall doing just that before I began construction on my bench. I used an old 2x4 I chopped about 6 mortises into and had one tenon on the end of another. The first few were horrible, but it got better and by the time of the last one I figured it out and the rest went pretty smooth.
That's not to say that a few of the mortises on my bench don't look like they were cut with a shotgun, but they're still holding strong several years later.
Come to think about it I believe that 2x4 still exist somewhere in my shop. Every now and then when I get really cleany ambitious I run across it. It's just one of those things I've hung onto just to reminisce about the good old days of my own experimental phase of life..Sorry, no self sexual gratification stories here.. lol

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 06-07-2017 at 09:39 AM.
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post #15 of 29 Old 06-07-2017, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
The end slab appears to be 3" to 4" thick. Show me a router that will rout a 3" deep hole ..... A saber saw/ jig saw would clean out most of the material, then it's time to start chiseling, paring and clean up.

I made my answer responding to the information given, as I'm sure Rebel did as well. As has already been pointed out, the photo shown was an example of a similar project, not the one the OP is working on. For 4/4, 8/4 or even 12/4, a router would work fine, its not like routing from both sides is that big of a problem.

And as far as the cost goes, given that the original question of the thread was about buying a drill press, I get the feeling that suggestion the OP buy a router instead isn't quite as out there as your costs make it seem. After all, a $100 router, $20 bushing set and $53 bit isn't any more expensive than a $150 drill press with a $50 set of forestner bits

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post #16 of 29 Old 06-07-2017, 03:22 PM
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I make deep, through mortises with a drill and a jig saw. I have a 'heavy duty' drill for this purpose:
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post #17 of 29 Old 06-07-2017, 04:01 PM
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Here's what I said in the second post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
That means :
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/h...easured-14892/

So, your new drill press would need to be quite large, and not worth it at this point. You could drill into the exact corners of the slab at the outer dimensions of your tenon using a 3/16" dia or 1/4" dia, 4" long bit to penetrate all the way through. Then connect the outside corners and using a 1" or larger Forsnter bit in a hand drill,"hog" away the material inside the lines, from either side. It will take some time, but you can do this! Then clean up all the surfaces with a very sharp chisel.
No new router, no new drill press, one sharp chisel, one new Forstner bit from either/both sides.....

For a guy just starting out, that's a minimum expense.

I also suggested a jig saw in another post. This is also an inexpensive method, just requires a longer blade at most.

Material thickness is yet to be determined, and cannot be assumed.

OP has made 2 posts this far. Tools on hand have yet to be determined also.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #18 of 29 Old 06-09-2017, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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From what I am seeing I think I am going to snag myself a solid set of chisels and just get good at carving out mortises. No need to try to get fancy with power tools if I can just get good at doing them by hand!
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post #19 of 29 Old 06-09-2017, 09:58 AM
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Mark,
You did not say what tools you now have on hand. We only know you'd like a drill press.
If you have a hand held jig saw or scroll saw, you can drill only one hole and cut to your lines for the mortise. Square your lines with a rasp and file. You only have two of these to cut, therefore you may want to avoid buying new tools for this one project. Just a thought.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #20 of 29 Old 06-09-2017, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkWilliams View Post
From what I am seeing I think I am going to snag myself a solid set of chisels and just get good at carving out mortises. No need to try to get fancy with power tools if I can just get good at doing them by hand!


Consider mortise chisels for your mortises, they tend to be thicker and longer. These are in addition to bench chisels that you'll need for general work.

Also, get familiar with various sharpening methods. There are many ways from inexpensive, using sandpaper on a piece of glass; moderate cost, using diamond plates or water stones with or without jigs; to expensive Tormek systems with jigs for sharpening all kinds of tools. But you won't get good results from chisels without learning how to sharpen them, especially when manufactures of chisels expect you to finish sharpening new chisels before using them.


Enjoy yourself, life is short
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