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Figure 22-21. Construction details of special fence extensions and stops that can be attached to the routing system fence to help limit and control stopped cuts. Click on image for larger view.

Mortises are most commonly used for joinery in cabinet projects. However, there are other applications such as hinge mortises, inlay work and hollowed-out boxes of all types.

Hinge Mortises
As a rule, most hinge mortising is performed with a chisel. And, if you're mortising for hinges on the edges of wide or large doors, this is still the best method because workpieces that are wider (or thicker) than 12" will not fit between the table surface and the router bit. However, if you have a lot of mortises to cut in the surfaces of cabinet doors or similar projects, the routing system can make them quickly and accurately.

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Figure 22-22. When working large doors or box lids, clamp the stops directly to the door or lid to limit your cuts.

First, locate the positions of the hinges on the door surfaces and mark them very carefully. If you're working with small doors or box lids, simple shop-made fence ex-tensions and stops can be attached to the routing system fence to limit your cuts in both directions. Make the fence extensions and stops as shown in Figure 22-21. When working with larger doors or lids that extend beyond the edges of the table, simply clamp the stops to the door or lid itself (Figure 22-22).

Measure the thickness of the hinge very carefully. Make your initial cuts with the smallest diameter straight bit you have so the corners will be as close to square as possible. Set the depth-of-cut of your bit to match the thickness of your hinge and make a test pass on a piece of scrap to verify the proper depth-of-cut.

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Figure 22-23. First, cut around the edges of your mortise with a small diameter straight bit. Then remove the remainder of the stock with a larger diameter straight bit.

Make all the cuts around the outer edges of your mortise (full depth) with the small bit (Figure 22-23). Then, remove the remain-der of the stock from your mortise by changing to a larger diameter bit or by rocking your workpiece back and forth against the small diameter bit, using the stops and the fence extensions to limit your cuts. When you've finished, square all corners with a chisel and insert your hinges.

If you're cutting mortises for odd-shaped hinges or hardware, it's often best to do this free hand. First, trace the outline of the hinge onto your workpiece. Then, carefully rout away the stock in the center of your mortise, being sure to stay about 1/16" to 1/8" away from the outer cutline. Finally, rout away the remainder of the stock to complete your mortise. Note: Trace the profile of the mortise onto your workpiece with a razor knife. Then, darken the line with a pencil. As you make your final cuts to the profiled edge of the mortise, the router bit will turn up a fuzzy wood burr at the edge of the cut that will fall off as the bit reaches the line.

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Figure 22-24. Mortised-out boxes like these are easy to make witn me rowing.

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Figure 22-25. When a great deal of stock must be removed from a mortise, begin by drilling over-lapping holes on the drill press.

Making Mortised Boxes The routing system is perfect for making all types of mortised-out boxes for jewelry, pencils, etc. (Figure 22-24).

The techniques used here are very similar to those used for mortising hinges. However, since boxes usually require that a lot of stock be removed, it is suggested that you start by doing this with brad-point bits or forstner bits on the drill press (Figure 22-25).

When you have finished this process, cut out the scrap with a bench chisel and clean-up the edges and bottom with a router bit (Figure 22-26).

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Figure 22-26. Once the stock has been removed from the center of the box, clean-up the edges with a router.

For this job, you can use either a straight bit or a special 3-in-1 bit, which forms a flat bottom, straight sides and a coved edge where the bottom and sides meet.

To control the cuts, use the fence extensions and stops, much as you would with hinge mortises.

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