Quick & Easy Mortises

Quick & Easy Mortises

Yesterday, a member of our Guild Facebook group described some difficulty they were having while making mortises with a hand-held router. This is something I do quite frequently and the person jested that I make it look too easy. Like anything, making mortises gets easier with practice but I believe anyone can find success with this particular process if they just follow some simple guidelines. So I decided to whip up a quick video that breaks it all down. And because I can’t stand when people/companies create acronyms and then force words into them, I’m proud to bring you LTBD (pronounced ltbd).


Without proper layout, you won’t know where the mortise is supposed to go and you won’t be able to set up your router properly. So I always fully layout one of each size mortise I need in my projects. If there’s more than one of a particular mortise, I only lay out start and stop lines since my edge guide holds the router a specific distance in from the edge.


I recommend a decent plunge router, an edge guide, and a nice sharp up-spiral bit. Here’s the bit I used in this demo: http://amzn.to/2rlQTMp
Unfortunately, not every router manufacturer makes an edge guide, but common brands like Bosch, DeWalt, Festool, and Porter Cable have them available. There are also after-market edge-guides available like this one from Milescraft: http://amzn.to/2sy8Yeq


The narrower the workpiece, the more difficult it will be to balance the router. So it’s a good idea to double up or even triple up on your workpieces to provide extra base support. I often offset the support piece so it not only prevents the router from tipping side to side, but also provides additional support front to back (especially hand for mortises that are near the end of a workpiece).


Although mortise routing involves surrounding the bit with wood, you should still pay attention to your router direction. I recommend pushing the router away from you moving left to right. This keeps the router moving against the rotation of the bit and should yield a better cut, as the router tends to pull into the work keeping the fence tight against the workpiece.

If you follow LTBD, there will be very few workpieces you can’t safely and accurately route a mortise into. Get some practice with this technique and before you know it, you’ll be mortising everything!

For more information, free plans, and helpful links: http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/quick-easy-mortises/



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  1. Zero on May 11, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Perfect. That was just what i was searching for. For me it looks more logical to drill the endpoint first and then the start, so you can continue right away.

  2. Burak Burak on May 11, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Hi, can ve make mortise and tenons easily with a fixed based 6 mm Makita 3709 router?

  3. anil yadav on May 11, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Nice bro

  4. Dan on May 11, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Why not just buy a mortising tool?

  5. Nannette Battista on May 11, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    I’m sure you can find awesome woodworking plans on Woodbex

  6. Derek Willis on May 11, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    What is meant by โ€œlooseโ€ tenon and mortise ?

  7. Ryan Hirschey on May 11, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Great tips for mortising without needing to make a jig. I like the suggestion to rout full depth on each end so you can feel the edges.

  8. Herman siiseng bae on May 11, 2022 at 7:25 pm


  9. SHRIRAM Vishwakarma on May 11, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    How many Price it

  10. wam2b on May 11, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Gotit. Lieutenant Bondage and Degredation! Perfect! I’ll never forget that now.

  11. Jonny DIY on May 11, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you! ๐Ÿ‘

  12. Tumwang Aboh on May 11, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    Please explain different between router and trimmer?

  13. HydMonger on May 11, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    when he said latuhbuhduh
    i felt that

  14. Arjumand Recipes on May 11, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    wonderful sharing,,
    stay bless ,
    love from pk Hunza

  15. kehinde oluwatosin changes on May 11, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    You are the best.

  16. Omj Raj on May 11, 2022 at 7:35 pm


  17. Linda Loftus on May 11, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Can this also be done on router table?

  18. Ankush furniture dhanbad on May 11, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Bit number

  19. John Robert Biate on May 11, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Good idea ๐Ÿ‘

  20. Ray Montella on May 11, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Did you just show us the mortise without the tendon. You just showed us how to make a ham and egg sandwich with just the ham.

  21. Dus Bus on May 11, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Best explanation of a climb cut

  22. Tumwang Aboh on May 11, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Which is the best bit for mortise..

  23. Rob Gibson on May 11, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Cool. So what about the tenons?

  24. Rafael Mijares on May 11, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Just finished my first 16 mortises EVER.
    Followed the procedure exactly.
    Marc, you would be proud at how they came out!
    Thanks for the millionth time.

  25. Hali Trainor on May 11, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    This is awesome! Thank you!

  26. 7hill on May 11, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    Hi. What’s the name of that adjustable ruller in the first of video?

  27. Pondok Klene on May 11, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    High Skill

  28. Wood Pecker on May 11, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    I gonna trying out ๐Ÿ˜ฆthanks for the video ๐Ÿซก

  29. Tasha Palmer on May 11, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    Cut some motrices using a forstner bit and chisels yesterday avo. Now Iโ€™m going to get out my router and do the rest. Thank you ๐Ÿ™

  30. Troy Lichanda on May 11, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    What the name of the bits Sir and the size

  31. Marco Garcia on May 11, 2022 at 7:52 pm


  32. LordxJoe on May 11, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    You just need a router…. guess i’m not making mortis and tenon joints.

  33. Satyendra Kumar on May 11, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    How deep I mortise with router

  34. Amazing KV Daily on May 11, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for your presentation

  35. asif mughal on May 11, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Good boy/

  36. Paulo Silva on May 11, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for this excellent video to learn how to make mortises. I am to buy a router, can you please tell what is the model you are using with the guide?

  37. Romario Balloon on May 11, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Now I learned. But hang on sec? I don’t have that giant machine in my home cupboard!

  38. Thomas Bridges on May 11, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Love you work and teaching us new bee’s. Do you recall exactly the bit you used in this video

  39. Mumin Ahmed on May 11, 2022 at 7:58 pm


  40. Agent7 Agent7 on May 11, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Mark what are your thoughts about the Leigh mortise and tenon jig ? Have you used it ? If yes can you share with your experience? Thank you

  41. wooden Joseph on May 11, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    dobry sposรณb ,pozdrawiam

  42. zoki 92 on May 11, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Women adore this man ๐Ÿ˜‰

  43. order of elim on May 11, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    What is that drill bit?

  44. Derek Percy on May 11, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing

  45. Levi Givens on May 11, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    "You want a decent router" Ah I see how it’s quick and easy… leaves video.

  46. Harri Pehkonen on May 11, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Is a 5mm pencil the same as a carpenters pencil? ;D

  47. R R on May 11, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    Would’ve been faster using drill bits and a chisel.

  48. Andre Noble on May 11, 2022 at 8:09 pm


  49. Ryan Bernier on May 11, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    โ€œYou peopleโ€ ?!?!

  50. Anthony Audain on May 11, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    Wonderful ๐Ÿ‘ โœ‹ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘