the rest of mortising: beyond boring

There’s more to mortises than the boring machine, as enticing as that device is, it’s only the start. I wait until there’s several joints laid out, then bore all of them…then tuck the machine away & go on from there. 


boring detail

Here’s one of the through-mortises that’s all bored, three 2″ diameter holes:

mortise bored

Then it’s chisel work. This is actually a different mortise, but the principal is the same. Here I’m chopping the end grain. 

chopping end grain

And here paring the side walls/cheeks of the mortise. 

paring cheeks

I went to pick up my 2″chisel the other day, and there’s a ladybug crawling around. In January?

lady bug

This mortise is chopped. Now the timber needs to be reduced to 5 3/4″ at the joint. It’s how we compensate for the various sizes of 6x6s in the frame. 


First, saw down to the scribed lines, 

sawing housing

then knock out the waste with the chisels, 

chisel waste

then pare it flat. 


then cut a bevel along the bottom end of the mortise, where a corresponding one on the tenoned piece meets it. 


6 thoughts on “the rest of mortising: beyond boring

  1. I’ve ogled those huge chisels from time to time (and from afar) but can never justify having even one of them. Nice to see you putting one to good use.
    Oh, and be mindful you don’t get that beard caught in the works! I’m sure the result would be anything but “boring”.
    Oh wait, by “boring” you meant…never mind.

  2. Looks like a ton of work…. Probably fun for first couple of beams though. Hard to believe they use to build large houses in the same fashion.

  3. Interesting method. I’m an itinerant timber framer. Normally I would only bevel the tenoned member. I suppose the double bevel makes for a unique look and could reduce the splitting on the mortise housing/haunch. This wont be the first time I have left your blog edified. Thanks Pete!

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