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21st Century Reality Check: Mortising with Power

I know I talk a lot about hand tools on this blog. And honestly I use tools of the unplugged variety much more than the ones with those long tails and pointy plugs…a lot more. My bed time reading is comprised of old tomes of furniture collections and eclectic trade manuals of working styles long gone. I just like the way my forefathers used to work.

Reality check, it’s 2010. Aren’t we supposed to make contact with aliens this year in orbit around Jupiter or something? So when another 4x5x3″ mortise presents itself, I break out my router, pattern bit, and a template. Yes, I am very confident that I can chop that by hand and make it pretty and square and to depth with my lovely chisels. I have chopped enough mortises to say that I can do it, but I have also chopped enough to say that I don’t want to do it.

I’m putting the finishing touches on the sliding leg vise for my Roubo bench and it is time to inlay the vise nut into the sliding chop. I cut the nut down so it is only 5″ long but it is still a huge mortise and one that requires utmost precision so I don’t compromise the strength of the chop. Woo hoo for power tools!!! Turn on the dust collector, turn up the music, don the respirator and hearing protection and let’s chew up some wood.
10 minutes later and I have made a mortise that would make the Grand Canyon proud. I even used pocket holes and a powered drill to make the template. If it makes the galoots out there feel better, I squared up the corners with a beautiful 1.5″ paring chisel.

So before anyone starts calling me a purist, let me also say that I like my TiVo, read a fair amount of Science Fiction, and cannot live without my iPhone. Hooray 21st century conveniences!

…now where did I put my laser marking gauge…

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