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When cutting mortises, you can go a lot of different ways:  you can drill holes and then clean out the waste with chisels;  you can make a jig that allows you to cut the mortise with your router and a straight cutting bit;  you can also choose from quite a few jigs, specialty tools, and gadgets on the market.  One of these gadgets, the Mortise Pal looks like a workable solution, if you can afford it.

To use the Mortise Pal just mark out your center lines for your mortise. Once you have the lines, center the jig with the tool’s alignment marks. Attach one of the plastic templates that corresponds to the mortise size you want. Then just route away with a spiral upcutting bit until you get to your desired depth.

The kit consists of the main jig, four templates, a wrench, centering pin, and a router bushing. The Mortise Pal will only work with routers that are 2-1/2 HP or less.

List price is about $200, but you can buy it for $175 on the manufacturer’s web site. It looks like a neat jig, but the cost seems high enough to me that I would just make my own jigs.

Mortise Pal [R.G. Jig Co.]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


8 Responses to The Mortise Pal

  1. fred says:

    This looks like a pretty slick competitor.

    Here is what I said on an earlier Toolmonger post about a Jessem product:

    fred Says:

    November 24th, 2008 at 1:18 pm
    This looks to be a competitor to several other loose tenon jigs and tools.
    At the high cost end (about $800) is the Festool Domino using a dedicated machine.
    The there is the beadlock system:


    Some years ago we tried a jig called the MorTen made by Porter Cable. It was OK but generally not worth the set-up time – and I think that it is no longer made.

    We’ve been using a Mafell DD40 dual doweling machine which is just as pricey (about $900) as the Festool Domino. I see now that Freud is offering a doweling machine at a more modest cost (just over $300) that may be worth a try.

  2. Jim German says:

    I don’t really see the market for this. A pro isn’t going to want to be bothered mucking about with a jig when there are things like the Domino out there, and a hobbiest isn’t going to be spending $200 on a jig like that.

  3. Gary says:

    You’d be surprised, Jim. Check out any of the woodworking forums. The MortisePal is very popular and is getting very good reviews. I was thinking of one myself, but then I stumbled into a deal on a new floor model mortiser for less than the sale price. That and my TS, and I’ve got fast and easy traditional M&T joinery, if I don’t have the time or have too many joints to go the neander route.

  4. russ says:

    Thanks Paul and Fred. Something more to look into.

  5. paganwonder says:

    This looks like a well thought out product, with reliable repeatability.

  6. Curtis says:

    Despite Jim’s comment, I am a hobbiest and did buy the Mortise Pal.

    The reason? After trying to hand chop a series of mortise and tenon joints for a side table project, I went looking for a better way! That’s a comment on my own skill, but I’m glad that I found what I was looking for: a simple, effective, repeatable way to create a perfectly mated and strong joint for my furniture projects.

    I have used the Mortise Pal again and again on my projects and am always satisfied with the results. Is it overkill? Perhaps, but I would rather spend my time assembling furniture then fiddling and cursing my sloppy M&T joints.

    A solid 4 stars in my book – it would be a 5 if it could accommodate larger stock (and I think newer models can).

    PS – and the company was great to work with.

  7. Sergio... says:

    I agree with Curtis, Mortise Pal is my solution for all my joinery, since I can´t afford a Festool Domino…

  8. Tertullian says:

    I just bought this thing. Maybe I’m not good at using it or something because I’m having trouble with it…

    I’m trying to cut slots in narrow end-piece stock (2 inches wide x 3/4 thick). So I have to slide each piece to one side or the other to line it up with the centering mark, then slide it back to center it on the point, then tighten it. But my mortises do not center. In talking with the folks at MortisePal they suggest that one use a longer piece of stock of the same thickness to register center first, then lock the carriage and go on. But I suggest that the manufacturer cut some centering lines on the INSIDE of the slot platten also, not just on the outside. This will make adjustment easier and more trustworthy on smaller stock.

    I also suggest that the vise adjustment knob be changed to a small bar handle to speed up movement. I stood there for awhile spinning that handle to get it where I needed.

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