Cutting Mortises

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
I have a bench top mortiser, but its a bit light duty for cutting mortises into the hickory posts I'm using to build a bunk bed. Instead of using a bench top mortiser, I was thinking of buying a upcut spiral bit to cut mortises with a router. Any recommendations for a good upcut bit that folks have used? Would an upcut/downcut bit be better for hickory given tendency to tear?

I've also thought about using a drill press to cut the mortises, but I like the idea of leaving the 6' posts on the ground to cut mortises instead of trying to rig up a stand for the drill press or mortiser.

Thanks for thoughts/suggestions!
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Whiteside's upcut bit has been very good to me. I hardly ever use my router so I can't speak to longevity, but the cuts are flawless. Try making very shallow cuts for the first 1/4" or so to keep the grain from blowing out with the upcut bit? Or start with a good straight bit that you already own, then switch to the spiral bit?

You also can use your drill press with pieces on the floor. Just swing the head around 180 degrees (putting a weight on the base.)
 

mdbuntyn

Matt
Corporate Member
To add to Richard's response: From what I understand, Klingspor's router bits are made by Whiteside
 

golfdad

Co-director of Outreach
Dirk
Corporate Member
Zach I tried and upcut one time and I had a lot of tearout. I now use a down cut for most hings. I am guessing the up/ down might be the ticket
 

mbromley

Bromley
Corporate Member
I'll also give my vote to the Whiteside or Klingspor upcut bit. The upcut will help clear the waste which is needed when cutting a mortise. I just use a marking knife to score the perimeter of the mortise to prevent any tearout.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Thanks for all the feedback!

Spiral bit is out for hickory, so I’m going to use a combination of drill and straight flute bit. Plan on getting a spiral bit for another future project!
 

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