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How To Cut A Mortise In this video I use sharp chisels to square up my mortises. This is the 34thvideo in my complete sharpening series. In this series I will use the following tools and machines: Makita 9820 electric water stone with an after market sharpening jig, Bosch belt sander, Porter Cable belt sander, Mitutoyo combination square, General Sharpening Jig, DMT Diamond Stones, and various chisels, plane irons and scrapers. Allan Little is AskWoodMan™ Follow him on twitter, be a fan on Facebook, or subscribe to his blog!
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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31 Responses to “Chisel Demo: How To Cut Mortises • Complete Sharpening Series Video 34”

  1. xxdjcharlierockxx says:


  2. askwoodman says:

    Those Bahco chisels were discontinued back in the 80′s. Ahead of their time. I just bought a set of Two Cherries bench chisels I like very much. German steel. Everyone needs a set inexpensive chisels like Buck Bros for dirty work. That’s where I would start. I really respect the Japanese tradition of tools but am not a fan of their chisel design. I don’t like the concave cutout they put on the blade soles. Chisels steel is usually rated by tool steel Rockwell Hardness. Above 60 Rc is very hard.

  3. Miguel Sales says:

    Nice video! what types of chisels do you recommend to invest in?

  4. icekng456 says:

    youtube building 7

  5. Westerdd says:

    I think he likes his hammer

  6. MrBeefsteak6 says:

    I use a brass hammer with my chisels not as awkward as wood but softer than steal giving a nice firm hit

  7. a2zhandi says:

    ha & then you just said that.

  8. a2zhandi says:

    I find it easier to round the tenons to match the router radius.

  9. askwoodman says:

    You can use wooden mallets but they can be a little awkward and clunky. I like that little ball peen hammer. There are special forged steel Japanese hammers especially shaped for this operation but I am not willing to invest in them. I do use my wood mallets for other chopping operations, but for situations like this where space and vision is restricted I prefer a small steel hammer.

  10. 221Dw says:

    I thought you were meant to use wooden mallets with chisels?

  11. Zach Beauvais says:

    Perfect, thanks.

  12. askwoodman says:

    If you check out my Ultimate Work Table Series you will see my favorite style of work table. The plywood top with the perforated hole pattern handles just about anything. But one of my favorite quick and dirty holding setups is a wooden handscrew clamped to a surface. You will see me do this all the time in my videos with a handscrew clamped with a rapid action clamp. Figuring out how to hold workpieces to perform an operation is such an important part of woodworking. Clamps are our friends :-)

  13. Zach Beauvais says:

    Hello, how do you recommend securing the wood being worked to the surface?

  14. Jeremy Hunter says:

    Ouch @2:50, did you do that during this video? I find this small cuts made with a chisel sting way more than any amount of hammer and thumb beatings! Great vid, cheers. I never considered that first point of giving a bit of lee way, but it makes sense now I think about it!

  15. Ron Holmberg says:

    Ive seen the way theyre done with a router and guide and ill tell ya, as romantic as it is chopping your mortices, the novelty is wearing off! i just usually figure that , because i work on one project at a time that its just as well to do it by hand. i sorta feel that im giving up by going the easy route. i can reason that i use a tablesaw,a resaw big jointer and a planer so why not a bloody morticer!! lol im sure it will come. concidering a dowelmax right now.. :)

  16. askwoodman says:

    I use the double sided DMT diamond stones. They are do a great job and last a long time and are priced right. I am with you, I do not like ipe either. Have you seen the method on cutting perfect mortices super fast with the router and guide fence? An old timer showed it to me 25 years ago and it changed my life.

  17. Ron Holmberg says:

    sorry, i forgot to mention, i cut my mortices 100% with mortice chisels. I dont use a router or drill to hog the bulk of it out. (im not aginst that method) i simply do not own a mortice machine or set up my router table. So i spend ALOT of time mortising! lol im familiar with a fair amount of woods and how they are under tha mallot. Ipe and purpleheart have been the worst for me so its a real treat when using the softer woods…

  18. Ron Holmberg says:

    Ipe….no kidding that stuff is HARD i do not like the dust (powder) it makes on the tablesaw either! Yes the oak, crumbling has been an issue with me most times i work in it, except so far this desk’s mortices has cut very nicely…just really hard. Im using some 8/4 and 5/4 Oregon w oak for the rails and stiles. real nice tight grain :) thank you for replying, i have been watching your videos like to know who makes that real wide diamond plate you use for sharlening. Ron.

  19. askwoodman says:

    This is sipo or African Mahogany. I work a lot of white oak too. I find it easy to work and not all that hard compared to lyptus or ipe. For me the problem working white
    oak is the extreme ring porous nature of the wood that can lead to crumble unless the knife is at peak sharpness. Thanks for watching and taking the time to comment.

  20. Ron Holmberg says:

    what wood are you chopping? seems like its just sliding through. Try this in TG 1/4 sawn white oak…. not so easy as mahogany. But great video

  21. MrRichot says:

    Hi Al, Brilliant ,give me time to practice this one and you,ll be paying my fair over to employ me.! The sound of the chisel doin its job send shivers down my spine. Have spent 40 yrs as a psychiatric nurse,just wish i had discovered all this many moons ago. Another ole saying “ur never too old to learn” Trouble is Al I,m runnin out of time !! Anyway see u in 15 years or so, you can put ur feet up I,ll make all ur mortises

  22. askwoodman says:

    Another thing you can do to let the glue have a channel to escape is to cut a few shallow kerf cuts in the end of the tenon. But I always err on the side of too much glue or epoxy rather than too little. Banging mortise and tenons together with a mallet causes trouble. I always press them together with clamps. I find it just allows the glue to migrate under better control without risking busting through the sides. Thanks for watching and keep in touch.

  23. ShutTFup says:

    thanks for the tips, helped me understand why my glue gushes out of the mortises everytime.

  24. askwoodman says:

    Thanks Craig. I know this sharpening series has been extremely long and detailed, because there is just so much information to cover. There will plenty more videos like this in the future, I assure you. I always appreciate your comments. Have a great day.

    p.s. only 9 – 10 more videos to go and the series will be complete!

  25. leo basic says:

    Great video, I also like to work with old good hand tools, and learned lot from you about sharpening. Thanks

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