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How to Use Parallel Pencil Lines to Cut Perfectly Centered Mortises without Measuring
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Marking out and cutting mortises without measurement With a few parallel pencil lines and quick sight testing you can cut perfect mortises without the need for precision center measurements.

Borrowing from my technique for cutting centered grooves on a table saw, here’s how I make centered mortises without having to find the center first. I draw a pair of parallel pencil lines along the mortise area, using my index finger as a gauge for setting the pencil line locations. (It doesn’t matter if these guidelines match the final mortise width.) I center my mortising machine chisel over these lines by eye, lock the fence and cut the mortise as usual. Then I flip the workpiece around to the other face and cut it again. Two rounds of cuts will center the mortise perfectly on the workpiece thickness. No measuring!

posted on February 1, 2010 by Woodworker's Journal
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