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Hello. I am Dave Dillon in Michigan and operate a small woodworking company making specialized custom accessories from my dedicated basement shop.

An accident in 2012 ended my 26-year profession as a journeyman brick, block, stone, & tile mason. To help subsidize an early retirement, I turned towards woodworking and haven’t looked back.

I am currently looking for ideas and advice regarding;
1. Finding the right plunge router(s) with a depth capacity of at least 3”, powerful but safe & easy to operate & handle,
2. Buying and/or building the right jig(s) for plunge routing different mortise types, sizes & depths.
3. Best router bits for 3”+ mortise depths and surface routing,

My wonderful, (24’ x 60’) basement shop includes the following upgrades & equipment;
1. Dedicated Power Panels: (4-110V breakers & 2-220V breakers with multiple waist-high outlets surrounding the entire shop),
2. Powermatic Turbocone: (attached to overhead central vacuum system with 4-2” ports & 3-4” ports surrounding the shop walls),
3. 24” External Exhaust Fan built into block wall,
4. JET 1300-CFM Air Filtration Unit,
5. JET 14” Band Saw w/riser block & upgrades,
6. JET 17” Drill Press
7. JET Belt/Disc Sander
8. JET Lathe & Extension w/ stands,
9. Powermatic Benchtop Mortiser,
10. DeWalt Planer & stand,
11. Craftsman Router in Kreg Table,
12. Porter-Cable Fixed-Base Router,
13. Porter-Cable Scroll Saw,
14. Bosch Jig Saw,
15. Craftsman Circular Saw,
16. Delta 6” Joiner,
17. Delta Table Saw,
18. Ryobi 12” Mitre Saw w/ Stand,
19. Ryobi Handheld Electric Planer,
20. Ryobi Drill/Diver Combo,
21. Ryobi Batteries w/ charging station,
22. Ryobi Mini-Drivers,
23. Black & Decker Drill,
24. Makita 1/2” Hammer Drill,
25. INCRA Miter Gauge,
26. INCRA Box Joint Jig,
27. Porter-Cable Dovetail Jig,
28. Torsion Box Table: (4’ x 8’),
29. Dremel 9200 Rotary Tool,
30. Dremel Rotary Drive Extension Cable,
31. Dremel Rotary Tool Press,
32. Dremel Station w/ custom cabinet,
33. Clamps of all types & sizes,
34. Chisels - Stanley Sweethearts & Craftsman,
35. 200+ Router Bits,
36. Jigs & Templates: (bought & custom-built),
37. Electronic Calipers & Set-up Gauges,
38. Porter-Cable 150-psi Air Compressor,
39. Lathe Turning Equipment,

I look very forward to hearing from the members here about choosing the right plunge router(s), bits, & jigs to rapidly produce many, accurate, clean, smooth, and fairly deep, mortises.

I would also love to hear personal learning experiences regarding any of the upgrades and/or equipment listed above.

Thank you and be safe,
DTDillon
 

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I'm not sure if any router has that much depth of cut. The 1617 is only 2 1/4". I'm sure my Hitachi M12V and V2s don't go that deep. I needed to make some deep mortises a couple of years ago on a door frame and I switched to a longer bit after going as far as I could with a carbide spiral. I would have done them on my drill press with the mortising attachment I have for it if I could have but it would have meant standing some pieces on end and I'm not sure if I have the height for that so I was stuck with a router. If you have a choice then either buy a mortiser or get the mortising attachment for your DP. It's a much better option in the long run. If you can't do that and you are in production mode then I would set up two routers both with the same guide bushing and one with a longer bit. Do the initial mortise and then drill out most of the remaining waste with a hand drill and finish the bottom and sides with the second routter.

You should copy and paste your tool list into your profile so it is there permanently. I needed to know if you had a drill press so that I could suggest the mortising attachment. It's something we may need to refer to from time to time.
 

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Is it possible you could get better use from a mortise cutting machine? It has a square chisel with a bit running through it, so it cuts mortises with great accuracy and easily handles a 3 inch deep mortise.

I'm not sure I've seen a 3 inch bit that would work, and even if you find one, you will need to square up the round drill cut with a chisel by hand, not my idea of fun.

The pictures below are of a Jet mortising machine, and a mortising bit for the machine. Cost is a bit more than most routers, but the convenience, especially in a commercial shop, is worth the investment. The Jet is about $350.

If you're not familiar with these machines, here's a YouTube video.
 

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Is it possible you could get better use from a mortise cutting machine? It has a square chisel with a bit running through it, so it cuts mortises with great accuracy and easily handles a 3 inch deep mortise.

I'm not sure I've seen a 3 inch bit that would work, and even if you find one, you will need to square up the round drill cut with a chisel by hand, not my idea of fun.

The pictures below are of a Jet mortising machine, and a mortising bit for the machine. Cost is a bit more than most routers, but the convenience, especially in a commercial shop, is worth the investment. The Jet is about $350.

If you're not familiar with these machines, here's a YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pf_vbnoFQ4
He has one, Tom, Item #9 on his list. He also has a 17" drill press.
I would do the mortises as deep as I could with the router and then drill them out by hand and chisel them out the final depth. I have done them 3 1/2" deep in solid core doors for automatic door bottom installation, but from my experience, it is a very dangerous operation free hand with a jig,and a $300. door can be ruined in a flash. I worked very cautiously and slowly , definitely not a production operation that way. The door mill work shops do it with a horizontal router and the door laying flat on a table.
We used to mortise door locks in with a brace and bit or drill motor and a chisel, up to 6"deep all the time, or the old Stanley door lock mortising router that clamped to the door, before the millwork companies started to do it before shipping.


Herb
 

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Dave it might help if we had an idea of what you are needing to make mortises that deep for.
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum Dave.
 

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David
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Welcome to the forum, Dave! When you get a minute complete your profile with first name to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well. We won't remember either after this thread even though you told us...

Nice cache of tools and quite a large shop - show us some photos when you're ready.

David
 

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Dave, it sounds like you already have the correct equipment. as chapels and others have pointed out, making a mortise that deep with a router is no mean feat - think of the lateral stress on the bit at that depth (if you can find a decent affordable bit that long). So at best, it will require hogging out the waste and then cleaning up. A router will be essentially pulverising the wood in the mortise - slow, hot and dusty.
it does depend on what you want to mortise - for doors, one can still get a drill driven lock mortiser, for example.
 

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You asked for upgrades for some of the tools you listed in your shop. Here are a couple of pictures of chip collectors for the DeWalt 735 planer. The 735 has a powerful chip extractor that will throw chips 15-20 feet. A standard dust collection chip collector will fill up really fast with the fluffy output from the 735. Several inventive folks have chosen to build a separate box, not connected to a DC system. The approach is to have a dust port that connects to the planer, and an air outlet port covred by a screen. The reviews on these were pretty good, but there were some problems with the filters clogging, but each drum or box was very effective at containing the fluff.

My suggestion is to vent the port into the larger, lower box and to add a piece of ply several inches lower than the vented top, with a deflector to divert the airflow away from the top chamber. I like the idea, but have not yet built this. Pix of a couple of versions, plus a video.

Since the blower in the 735 is so powerful, the positive pressure in the chamber will allow use of a liner, which will make disposal easier. The fluff is so expansive you will likely have to empty it frequently, so a liner makes even more sense.

The round version in the picture does not use a filter, just a screen, which did clog and will need to be cleaned off frequently, just as you would clean a lint filter in a clothes dryer. It will also require a gasket of some sort around the rim and some way of clamping the lid to the container. I doubt it needs to be air tight. I would probably add a deflector of some sort to the top to direct the chips downward.

Video
 

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If you want to go big you could go the route of a chain mortiser. Years ago I was buying something from an old fellow who had been a machinist. He showed me something similar to the rig in the attached video. He had acquired various chains, blades,cross feed table and various other parts sprockets etc. out of an old abandoned factory. He had adapted an old heavy duty circular saw as the power source. It was all mounted on a large heavy walled pipe on which he could pull a lever and plunge the saw. The table was stationary but he could move what he was cutting into back and forth as well as side to side.

 

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You can buy chain mortisers Brian. The log house builders and timber framers use them.
 
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