Slot mortiser (a new life)…

Tech in wood joinery meets handcrafted design + build. Top is a mortising unit, below is a micro-adjust created using traditional methods. The story follows. I purchased this Jessem Mortise Mill unit a few years back and although I managed to produce some loose tenon slots successfully, it was not easy to set up. I can’t recall the issues exactly, but I was frustrated at times. So recently found the unit buried under a secondary workbench and decided I would make an effort at getting it to work successfully. I had always wanted a horizontal slot mortiser setup and thought why not set this up to create slots in the horizontal plane instead of the vertical plane. The unit was marketed to be installed vertically with board placement underneath. Notice the etchings on the Mill are upside down. I’m not sure if having boards hang below the unit contributed to the issues I had at the time, but nonetheless I wanted to mount it so loose tenon slots were created horizontally. First pic is before building the micro-adjust unit.

Slot mortiser

Next step was to find a suitable platform, i.e. workbench surface to be able to mount it. A rolling cart in my workshop was ideal since I could wheel the unit away when not in use and the footprint of the Mortise Mill was not large. The rolling cart has large locking casters which do a good job of keeping the cart immobile. Installed it so the surface of the base plate was even with the surface of the cart, this took some time. I used large enough 1/4-20 bolts to maintain rigidity and keep it from shifting.

Slot mortiser

Tested it afterwards and I was pleased with the results. The later addition of a L-shaped wood bracket to support stiles while they were being mortised worked well. The ends of rails to be mortised were easily supported by the wood surface of the rolling cart. Further testing with clamping of boards provided me with a repeatable setup. I liked the fact that I could permanently leave the Mortise Mill bolted to the rolling cart.

Slot mortiser

The only small issue was the vertical adjustment of the slots on a board. Since the Mortise Mill was installed horizontally, the adjustment was not as smooth as I would like due to the weight of the sliding component of the unit. I decided to make a micro-adjust setup to alleviate the problem using some scrap walnut and maple. As can be seen in the pics, it is all wood construction with a 1/2 inch lead screw and wood handle. The end of the lead screw has a custom cradle contoured to fit the bottom edge of the sliding part of the Mortise Mill. Now I can precisely dial-in slot placements!

Slot mortiser

Since the micro-adjust was cantilevered off the vertical posts of the rolling cart, I beefed up the supports, it’s probably over-engineered now. Things to watch are the exact placement of the tip of the lead screw over the center of the edge of the Mortise Mill for smooth operation. A large paddle switch for the built-in Mortise Mill dust collection was installed for convenient access.

Completed and tested, works great!

Furniture Design Course

The Furniture Design Course teaches you furniture design and furniture making skills. The course is based on skills developed and used in a fully functioning furniture making studio. Learn from an expert in woodworking and furniture making. Norman Pirollo, a woodworker and furniture maker for over 20 years, has had his work published in several magazines and books. In this period, he has established four woodworking businesses. Norman has also written the From Hi-Tech to Lo-Tech: A Woodworker’s Journey book, chronicling his journey into woodworking.

In this course, I cover furniture design. Good design is essential in a quality furniture piece. Good design minimizes wasted resources and provides a furniture maker with essential feedback and pause when creating furniture. Loosely translated, the design process keeps a maker from rushing into a potentially flawed furniture design. The checks and balances give pause to the process as well as streamlining the build. Developing your own furniture style and aesthetic is covered. Selecting the right woods for a furniture design is critical in determining the appeal of a furniture piece.

As with most woodworkers, I was anxious to build furniture early on. With the passage of time and several furniture project completed, the anxiety of simply creating work had passed. It was far more important to create a well-designed and striking piece of furniture. So I delved into furniture design, studied with a few renown furniture makers, and used this knowledge to develop a furniture design process that works.

In the online furniture design course you will acquire skills necessary to design and create your own unique furniture. Learn to develop your own style of furniture and aesthetic. Over 2 hours in total. Course features videos on these topics:

  1. Furniture design overview, the history of furniture design
  2. Becoming familiar with the furniture design process
  3. Understand design process, bring your furniture designs to next level
  4. How to select wood for a furniture design
  5. Use of mockups and prototypes to develop a furniture design
  6. In-depth use of mockups to develop a furniture design
  7. Determining a furniture style for your own furniture designs
  8. Selecting a furniture style and aesthetic
  9. Developing a furniture design
  10. Getting the proportions right in a furniture design
  11. Using the dynamic design process in a furniture design
  12. Use of maquettes and prototypes in a furniture design
  13. Use of templates and CAD when designing your furniture

– Furniture Design Course can be Streamed or Downloaded
Separate Introduction module
– 13 video modules from wood selection, drawing, mockups, prototypes, CAD
– Modules can be followed in any order and stopped or repeated at any time
– All 13 video modules (2 hours) included in the single $29 price

For a limited time, receive WOODSKILLS Issue 01 & 02 (digital) $16 value with purchase of a class or course.

Total Cost: $29 (Stream or Download).

   

Norman maintains a blog of ongoing projects in his studio at: Pirollo Design Blog as well as having written and published four books in the past year. Some of the books and magazines which the authors furniture, work methods and philosophy have been featured:

The Wood Artist: Creating Art Through Wood (New Art Press)
From Hi-Tech to Lo-Tech: A Woodworker’s Journey (New Art Press)

Start Your Own Woodworking Business (New Art Press)
Rooted: Contemporary Studio Furniture (Schiffer Publishing)
IDS15 (Studio North)
Canadian Woodworking magazine Jan. 2015
Our Homes magazine Fall 2014
IDS14 (Studio North)
NICHE Magazine Winter 2013
Fine Woodworking Magazine – 4 Bench Jigs for Handplanes – 2009
Fine Woodworking Magazine  – Essential Shopmade Jigs 2009
Woodwork magazine
Wood Art Today 2 (Schiffer Books)
500 Cabinets ( Lark Books)
Studio Furniture: Today’s Leading Woodworkers (Schiffer Books)
Canadian Interiors Design Source Guide
Ottawa Life magazine (Profile,work) 2012
Panoram Italia magazine
Our Homes magazine
Craft Journal