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Thread: How I Use the Mortise Pal

  1. #1
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    How I Use the Mortise Pal

    This is a brief How-To for anyone interested. I had grand ideas of a more formal effort but, I realized if I waited until I had time for that, it wouldn't happen. I have owned the original Mortise Pal and now have the current version. Both are solid well made devices that do just what they are supposed to. The current version does 3" wide material max, the previous model does 2" wide material max. The jig adds 5/8" to your cutting depth. To make this easy to measure around I drill a hole that is the size of the template collar in a 5/8" thick piece of stock. Now I can make actual measurements instead of mentally adding 5/8" to everything.

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    Lets say I want to attach these two pieces and I want a flush joint.

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    I mark the center of the mortise position and use a bold line to indicate the "face" of the part. I will ALWAYS place the fixed jaw of the Mortise Pal against the "face".

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    Clamp the jig to your stock in such a way that you can see your centerline and adjust the template along the sliding rails until it is lined up. Lock it down.

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    Cont'd . . . .
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 11-11-2014 at 01:03 AM. Reason: did I really type 5/6" ???
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  2. #2
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    How I Use the Mortise Pal - continued

    Now adjust the jig left to right to align the reference marker on the jig with your center line of your mortise that you previously marked. I lower the jig and the part to be milled until the jig bottom sets on the vise jaw and the bench. This gives me a rock solid platform to plunge against and avoids any wobble if the material is thin or lightweight. Yes I am again pointing out that the fixed jaw is against the "face" since bungling this is the only way you can really mess up with this tool . I use a stack of shims on a dowel to prevent the vise racking.

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    The mortise position is marked out on the other part in the same fashion. The only thing that gets readjusted on the jig is the thickness of the clamping mechanism. The distance of the template/slider from the reference face remains unchanged. Again I use a bold mark to indicate the "face" and place the fixed jaw against it when clamping on the jig. Again I lower the jig and the part to be milled so that the jig sets firmly against the vise jaw and bench.

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    Between milling operations, an unused dog hole makes a great place to park your router so that it sets flat.

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    I make the holes about 1/32" deeper than the tenon will insert (1/16" deeper overall than the tenon is long) to allow for glue. I also mill grooves length-wise on the tenon stock to avoid hydraulic lock when inserting the tenon after glue had been applied. Assembled, it looks like so.

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    For glue-ups I use a brush or coffee-stir-stick to place glue into both mortise and spread it around the walls. I then slip the tenon in part way and slip the other half of the assembly on and clamp. Blue tape, recesses or any of the other tricks to avoid squeeze out can be employed just as with a regular M&T joint.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 11-11-2014 at 01:07 AM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
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    Nice photos and tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewayne Baker View Post
    Nice photos and tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to share.
    I second the motion.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  5. #5
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    Thanks Glenn. Looking at it, it shouldn't be difficult make a mortise pal oneself. Thanks for posting it.
    Best regards,
    Toni

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:http://www.toniciuraneta.com
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  6. #6
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    Glenn, I have the original. I just modified mine for wider stock by replacing the 3/8" SS rods. Anyway, I see you have what looks like homemade templates? How did you insure your slot is properly centered (or is that what the new templates look like?) Mine are a clear plexiglass or something.
    Last edited by fred hargis; 11-11-2014 at 12:19 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred hargis View Post
    Glenn, I have the original. I just modified mine for wider stock by replacing the 3/8" SS rods. Anyway, I see you have what looks like homemade templates? How did you insure your slot is properly centered (or is that what the new templates look like?) Mine are a clear plexiglass or something.
    Thanks Fred. I meant to mention that. I made my own "in between" templates for the original and for this one. For whatever reason, the new version uses an 11/16" O.D. template collar instead of the 5/8" collar for the original. Glad to hear the mod of longer rods worked out. I was right on the fence in doing that for mine since I had never been anything but happy with it. An opportunity came along with a short time frame so I just went ahead and purchased. The upside is that someone got my old one and the custom templates for a good price

    I just use one of the original templates as a guide to setup the drill press with stops and positioners. I use 1/8" tempered hardboard which is actually about 7/64" which matches the plastic originals almost perfectly. You can see that I used a couple different types of hardboard and both were consistent in thickness. I believe the lighter colored material actually came from the back of an old stereo stand I trashed. I drill the hhole at each end of the oval with a Forstner bit, drill a few overlapping holes and then clean up the connection with a chisel just as you might when drilling out for a mortise on the drill press. If there is any tricky part to it it is getting the holddown screw counterbore the right depth with my very average quality drill press.

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    The thread on making templates for my original jig is here: http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...Made-Templates
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 11-11-2014 at 02:28 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
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    Not to drag up older threads, but this may be of interest to Mortise Pal fans. They are going out of business. They just sent out this message:

    "Thank you for your support over the last 7 years. But with great regret and sadness I must announce that Mortise Pal is going out of business. I've experienced an increase in the cost of manufacturing lately that makes continued production of the product untenable.

    I have stock remaining on several accessory items and spare parts and are offering them at a 50% savings. Stock is limited to the quantity on hand. Please pay attention to which jig you have when ordering accessory items. V3 jigs use an 11/16" OD guide bushing and the V1/V2 jig uses a 5/8" OD bushing. Please take a look at the template section of the store. I have many "in-between" sized templates that may or may not have been available when you ordered. I've also got some regular Whiteside router bits that were surplus stock from the early days as well as the custom "Long-Reach" bits that Whiteside made for me.

    The on line store will be live for a week or so and then closed for good.

    Please use coupon code MP2014

    Sincerely,

    Robert Gill

    Mortise Pal"

    It's a shame, maybe someone will pick up the patent and keep it going, Peachtree does things like that. Anyway, I used the discount to order some more templates for mine; but they have already sold out of most of the stuff.

  9. #9
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    And they all but sold off now. Checked the inventory last night when I got home and was very little left
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

  10. #10
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    if anyone snagged some extra templates i would be interested in some..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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