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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, a little background...

I've been looking, on and off, to decide which dedicated mortising machine to consider. Then I ran across the Trend machine. You can probably guess that I don't have the scratch for a Leigh or table version of the Powermatic (719). My planned use for M&T's is furniture for the new house. After that any M&T equipment is likely to collect dust between uses.

Things I am considering is by using a dedicated mortiser, I will still have the tenons to deal with. Most of you will probably say that's not an issue...I would probably agree over time. The Trend seems easy enough to deal with mass-producing several mortises and tenons with the same settings.

So now for the questions...

Do any of you run the Trend and how do you like it...? Anything to watch out for with the Trend...?
Are there those of you who would recommend a dedicated mortiser regardless of the reported ease of using the Trend...?

Thanks in advance...Nick
 

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Another member mentioned it so I had a look. It's pretty pricey. I use a mortise attachment for my DP. I think retail is around $130. I don't do mortises often enough to warrant a purpose built machine. Tenons get done on the table saw with a Delta tenon jig, roughly the same price as the mortise kit. However, I've seen home made plywood jigs that ride against the TS fence that will do the same job for basically nothing. You can probably find them on the net. The only advantage of the Trend type tool is if you want to mortise into the end of board. That's hard to do with the DP attachment and the board may be too long to fit. I made a screen door a couple of years ago and I wanted to use floating tenons which meant I had to make a jig and use a router to mortise the cross members. It looked similar to the Trend one and worked the same and there might be pictures in my uploads. It was purpose built for that job and I took it apart when I was done.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Another member mentioned it so I had a look. It's pretty pricey. I use a mortise attachment for my DP. I think retail is around $130. I don't do mortises often enough to warrant a purpose built machine. Tenons get done on the table saw with a Delta tenon jig, roughly the same price as the mortise kit. However, I've seen home made plywood jigs that ride against the TS fence that will do the same job for basically nothing. You can probably find them on the net. The only advantage of the Trend type tool is if you want to mortise into the end of board. That's hard to do with the DP attachment and the board may be too long to fit. I made a screen door a couple of years ago and I wanted to use floating tenons which meant I had to make a jig and use a router to mortise the cross members. It looked similar to the Trend one and worked the same and there might be pictures in my uploads. It was purpose built for that job and I took it apart when I was done.

Thanks, Chuck...I think it was the same thread that got me to look at the Trend.

Truth be known, I already have a wooden jig that I use for slots/grooves/shutters, etc... right now it's adjustable for different angles and could be used for mortises except that it is set up for my 1/4" router.I suppose I could make another for the Bosch or Ridgid...

And I did get a DP attachment when I got the Walker Turner DP a few months ago...

You may have hit it on the head that I might not be doing enough M&T work to warrant any additional expense...that has been on my mind for a while as well.

Thanks for your thoughtful response...
 
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I once had a Trend M&T jig. I wasn't very happy with it because the tenons and mortises made with it didn't fit together very well. The jig's accuracy wasn't good enough to satisfy me and there was no way to make minor size adjustments to improve the fit of the joints. Some were too tight and some were too loose. I ended up buying a Leigh FMT and never looked back, because the FMT has an adjustment to let you get perfect fitting mortise and tenons every time and none of the other router M&T jigs on the market could do this. A few years later I gave the Trend away.

Routers can make great mortises that are very accurate in size and with smooth sides. You can build any one of several router mortising jigs from readily available plans and get great and accurate mortises every time. I would be telling you to buy a Mortise Pal if they were still being sold. The Mortise Pal let you easily make router mortises in both pieces and then use "Floating Tenons" to join them.

Floating tenons, where you make a mortise in both boards like with the Mortise Pal, and then make tenon stock that fits between them is the best way to go if you can't justify the cost of an FMT jig. The Mortise Pal made it easy, and at a very reasonable cost, but router mortising isn't all that hard to build a jig to do it. Cutting a tenon the correct size and thickness on a the end of a piece that needs to fit the mortise in the other piece exactly, is the difficult part, but making a mortise in both pieces and then making a floating tenon to fit between them is much easier to do accurately.

You can cut tenon stock in long strips the width and approximate thickness that you need, not counting the 1/2 round ends of the mortise using your table saw. Then run them through your surface planer until their thickness perfectly fits the mortises. When you need a floating tenon you can cut it to length as needed. The 1/2 round ends of your mortises become a place for the excess glue. You don't really need to make the tenons with rounded edges. The strength of the joint is in the glue bond between the flat sides of the mortise and the tenon. If they fit well, you will have a strong glue joint. Leave the 1/2 round ends of the mortises for the excess glue to go. It becomes a benefit.

I bought my FMT because I was facing a project that required just over 1,600 M&T joints. The FMT paid for itself with that one job. With the trouble that I had making M&T joints before trying to make them with a router I might still be making M&T joints the square chisel bit way and then hand fitting the table saw cut tenons to fit into them with no two exactly alike I might still be working on that job if I hadn't bought the FMT when I did. I was terrible at the hand fitting part. The FMT makes it easy because every mortise and matching tenon fit together just right. I can even interchange pieces, and the tenons of several parts will all fit any matching mortise. No more pairing and custom fitting is necessary. A CNC is the only other way to make them all fit together and interchange this accurately.

Charley
 

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Still some more food for thought along mine and Charley's posts: the jig I built was pretty simple. I didn't see any plans for one but I knew what it needed to do. I didn't get it dead center in my pieces but it didn't need to be. It was anywhere from 1/16 to 1/8th offset (never measured to see how much) I just had to remember to register the jig on the same face of the door parts every time I used it and that would ensure that all the pieces were flush on that side. Even if you bought a jig you would still want to do that. If you needed a small offset at a joint you might be able to do that just by changing guide bushing size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Charley/Chuck...thanks for your input...

I did find a couple of review videos re: the Trend that point out some sloppiness...don't think I need to get in that mess for the money they want...

I have to laugh looking back at the evolution from when this all started. I threw out all my old furniture and am selling my house. The only thing I have is boxes of stuff. When I buy the new house I won't even have a chair...LOL... So that is how this started...the notion that when I get the new house, I will be building all my furniture...

That lead into wanting to use M&T, and then don't need that many so I'll use my router and Delta tenoning jig, and then I'll use the DP attachment, and then why make it so hard, buy a mortiser, and then window shopping, and then "well, if I'm gonna spend 350 bucks, why not look at the Trend", and what's wrong with spending the bucks for an FMT, and so on...next thing you know Darwin wants to catalog me into the "nuttso" species...LOL...

So I really appreciate the down to earth discussion and your experiences to remind me to keep my head on straight and find the most reasonable solution.

The last thing I'm looking for is a "build it, they will come" scenario. I'm sure that once I finish tables and chairs, M&T's will go by the side. That means it's important to fit the fix to the need. Thanks for pointing that out...

When all is said and done, I'm likely to go with routered mortises and floating tenons...which has always been in the back of my mind as THE alternative.

Thanks again...
 

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The door I built was the first time I went with floating tenons and I did find them easier. One of the issues with using that tenon jig is getting every tenon the right size. I tried adjusting the jig to size the tenon but material I've read since then suggests to shim your board instead and leave the jig alone. This eliminates the variations in tenon thickness caused by slight differences in board thickness and despite the fact that I run all the pieces through my planer first there are still minor variations from piece to piece in thickness. By mortising both sides of the joint you can size the tenon to fit correctly which is much easier in the long run and more easily repeatable.

It seems that you have rethought the plan of buying the plan of buying a new house and repopulating it with furniture right away that you've built yourself. To do that in any reasonable timeline you would would have to work at least 10 times faster than I do and that's not a testament to how fast I work. It's a testament to how badly I procrastinate and how easily I get side-tracked. I would be sitting on stolen milk crates for months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The door I built was the first time I went with floating tenons and I did find them easier. One of the issues with using that tenon jig is getting every tenon the right size. I tried adjusting the jig to size the tenon but material I've read since then suggests to shim your board instead and leave the jig alone. This eliminates the variations in tenon thickness caused by slight differences in board thickness and despite the fact that I run all the pieces through my planer first there are still minor variations from piece to piece in thickness. By mortising both sides of the joint you can size the tenon to fit correctly which is much easier in the long run and more easily repeatable.

It seems that you have rethought the plan of buying the plan of buying a new house and repopulating it with furniture right away that you've built yourself. To do that in any reasonable timeline you would would have to work at least 10 times faster than I do and that's not a testament to how fast I work. It's a testament to how badly I procrastinate and how easily I get side-tracked. I would be sitting on stolen milk crates for months.
LOL...You're absolutely right..."repopulating...right away" and "build yourself" are definitely oxymorons. Don't throw out your old milk crates...I will need them...:grin:
 
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Nick,

another reasonably priced floating tenon tool is the Bead Lock. The floating tenon stock comes ready made, but you can buy a special router bit if you are bound and determined to make your own. The nice thing about the Bead Lock System is that you don't even need a router to cut the mortises. A powered hand drill and drill bit is all you need to make the mortises using the Bead Lock jig as a drill guide.

All you need to do to use it is align the jig to a pencil line across the two pieces to be joined, then attach a clamp to hold it in place. There are three holes in the Standard Bead Lock jig. You drill those three holes and then shift the drill guide piece and drill two more, and your mortise is cut. Do that to both pieces and then cut a floating tenon of the needed length from some of the tenon stock and you are ready to glue it together. The jig comes with several thicknesses of shims to put behind the drill guide piece for offsetting the drill guide to allow you to make an offset joint.

I had the standard Bead Lock jig and used it quite heavily for a while. With just a little practice, I was able to create some very good joints with it, but somehow along the way I decided that I had to have "real mortises and tenons" because I was making chairs with angled joints. Looking back, the only real problem was that the Bead Lock jig only let me make one length of joint, but a different drill guide piece and drill would let me make both 1/2 and 3/8" thickness mortises and floating tenons. The accuracy of the jig was very good though, as long as I was careful to align the jig to the pencil mark. I had the original jig (before Rockler Painted it blue). My original jig came with the 3/8" drill guide and a few 1' long pieces of 3/8 Bead Lock floating tenon stock.

For $30 the basic Bead Lock jig is worth buying, just to see if you like this method.

https://www.amazon.com/Beadlock®-Ba...2&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=original+beadlock+jig

The new pro version is considerably more expensive and I doubt that it's new features are worth that much more, but it would make offsetting the joint easier than with the basic jig and included shims.

https://www.amazon.com/Beadlock-Pro-Joinery-Kit/dp/B00QTZM9M2


In a weak moment I gave my basic Bead Lock jig to a woodworker wannabe friend a few years ago.

Making angled joints with it, like for chairs, will require making some wedge spacers to hold the drill guide part of the jig in just the right position, but I think it can be done. I never tried doing that with it. Everything that I used it for only needed flat 90 degree joinery. I had bought it almost 50 years ago when I first started making furniture and haven't used it in probably 30 years. (my reason for forgetting to tell you about it - until now).

Charley
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Charley...thanks for the additional thought...very kind of you...

The jig looks interesting...I gather it would be easier to buy the stock but it looks easy enough to make.

Gonna have to give this some thought.

Right now I'm playing with a jig I had made to do small, mortises, slots, shutter slots, etc... Will have to make a new one for the 1/2" router.

I also found that my tenoning jig doesn't cut true and I get slightly angled tenons. Looking at the jig, the face adjuster is hard-screwed to the base and unable to change the angle. Gonna have to work on this a bit. Shouldn't be a biggie...need to elongate the hole the screw goes through seems to be the only fix. Will take it apart next week and see what can be done. I may just shim it like Cherryville mentioned.

Thanks again...
 

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Nick,

It might be easier to move the miter bar on the bottom of the jig. When I first bought my table saw tenon jig I remember having a similar problem, and think I fixed it by moving the miter bar in the existing mounting holes. Check to see if the face of your jig is parallel to the blade and miter slots.

Somewhere I can remember seeing plans for a DIY jig that had the general shape of an FMT jig. If I can find those plans I'll post a link to them. It looked like a good option to an FMT since it even had the lower clamping plate that could be angled for chair making.
I think I saw it about 5 years ago.

Nick, I just looked at your profile to see if we were close enough for me to demonstrate the FMT for you. We were close enough at one time, but no longer. Before moving to NC, I lived East of you in NY over near the CT border. I spent the first half of my life up there, second half here in NC.

Charley
 

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There are a variety of shop made ones that either ride against the fence or ride on the fence. If I didn't already have the Delta one I would make one. Maybe I should just sell the Delta one come to think of it. This one and several others I've seen are made for the Biesemeyer style fence but could be adapted to a Unifence: Homemade Tenoning Jig - HomemadeTools.net I would make the vertical stop wider, in fact maybe make a 90 leg for better stability. One of the methods I read for shimming to size the tenon was an example for a 1/2" tenon where you make the initial inside cut for the tenon face using a blade with full 1/8" kerf and then insert a 5/8" shim behind the piece and make the cut for the other tenon face. That will give you a perfect 1/2 tenon every time.

It might be worth mentioning too since Charley brought up the beadlock system is that dowels don't score much lower than tenons do strength wise. Someone posted a basic home shop test a few years ago using either a pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder and a pressure gauge to see how much pressure was needed to destroy various joints. Obviously butt and biscuit joints died first. Pocket screws were in there somewhere too but did much better than I thought they would. At the top end of the scale were dowels and tenons and they weren't far apart. That's not terribly surprising since both are versions of the same thing. So a multiple dowel joint is still a viable alternative to and M&T joint in my opinion. But lacking the sophistication factor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nick,

It might be easier to move the miter bar on the bottom of the jig. When I first bought my table saw tenon jig I remember having a similar problem, and think I fixed it by moving the miter bar in the existing mounting holes. Check to see if the face of your jig is parallel to the blade and miter slots.

Somewhere I can remember seeing plans for a DIY jig that had the general shape of an FMT jig. If I can find those plans I'll post a link to them. It looked like a good option to an FMT since it even had the lower clamping plate that could be angled for chair making.
I think I saw it about 5 years ago.

Nick, I just looked at your profile to see if we were close enough for me to demonstrate the FMT for you. We were close enough at one time, but no longer. Before moving to NC, I lived East of you in NY over near the CT border. I spent the first half of my life up there, second half here in NC.

Charley

Right on, Charley...it's the miter bar that needs to move a scosh at one of the screws. Easy fix, once it's apart...

Lots of ideas you guys have come up with...one of 'em's gonna stick...thanks...

So I guess you're out of much of the cold...although it hasn't been bad up here...no snow, generally in the 30's or 40's...but wind chills in single digits or below zero a couple of days. It's almost February so it'll start getting warmer...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There are a variety of shop made ones that either ride against the fence or ride on the fence. If I didn't already have the Delta one I would make one. Maybe I should just sell the Delta one come to think of it. This one and several others I've seen are made for the Biesemeyer style fence but could be adapted to a Unifence: Homemade Tenoning Jig - HomemadeTools.net I would make the vertical stop wider, in fact maybe make a 90 leg for better stability. One of the methods I read for shimming to size the tenon was an example for a 1/2" tenon where you make the initial inside cut for the tenon face using a blade with full 1/8" kerf and then insert a 5/8" shim behind the piece and make the cut for the other tenon face. That will give you a perfect 1/2 tenon every time.

It might be worth mentioning too since Charley brought up the beadlock system is that dowels don't score much lower than tenons do strength wise. Someone posted a basic home shop test a few years ago using either a pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder and a pressure gauge to see how much pressure was needed to destroy various joints. Obviously butt and biscuit joints died first. Pocket screws were in there somewhere too but did much better than I thought they would. At the top end of the scale were dowels and tenons and they weren't far apart. That's not terribly surprising since both are versions of the same thing. So a multiple dowel joint is still a viable alternative to and M&T joint in my opinion. But lacking the sophistication factor.

The fence on my Darra James can take a fence jig...something to consider. I think my first shot is to straighten out the Delta...then I can play.

Dowels aren't a bad idea either...my wife's grandmother left her some chairs and their solid as a rock. One was damaged and I could see there were two dowels holding the front legs on...chairs are older than a couple of us put together...:grin:

Thanks to both of you for all your additional input...lots to think about...
 

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For mortise and tenon joints I have a Delta mortiser. It collects dust along with the powermatic tenon jig for the table saw. I also have the beadlock system and that collects dust as well. The beadlock system is not very precise and you have to buy the router bits to make the tenons out of your material. The stock beadlock tenon material is poplar or something relatively soft. I have a simple little milescraft doweling jig that is more useful than either the mortiser or the beadlock. Additionally I use the Kreg pocket hole jig a lot and find that to be as strong as anything else out there. The only issue with pocket screws is you need the locking pliers to keep your parts from moving during assembly.

One thing I have considered is the Festool Domino. The Domino makes mortises for floating tenons. It has router bits to make your own tenons or buy the beech ones they make. The jig is very adjustable and comes in two sizes. I thing if I bought one I would get the big one because it does what the little one does plus the bigger tenons. The Festool Domino is expensive but makes short work of floating tenons.

I have looked at the FMT and Wood Rat jigs. They look interesting but they lock you into certain types of construction methods. The FMT is a very nice jig but it is as expensive as the Domino and is a one trick pony. The domino also has break down connectors you use instead of the wood tenons. That makes the domino a little bit more versitle than the dedicated jigs. You can build your project, break it down and assemble it on site.

Consider the pocket screw method. You will not find it used by custom furniture makers but as time and technology progresses I think the pocket jig will gain acceptance in "Fine Furniture" because of its simplicity and strength.

Nothing says you cannot use all the above as I do.
 

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Right on, Charley...it's the miter bar that needs to move a scosh at one of the screws. Easy fix, once it's apart...

Lots of ideas you guys have come up with...one of 'em's gonna stick...thanks...

So I guess you're out of much of the cold...although it hasn't been bad up here...no snow, generally in the 30's or 40's...but wind chills in single digits or below zero a couple of days. It's almost February so it'll start getting warmer...
Nick,

It's been above freezing here for most of this Winter, but we will be in the teens at night a few times over the next two weeks, according to the Weather people. Then I hope the worst will be over for us and it will start getting warmer. We do see snow here, but usually only an inch or so from one or two storms per year. One of my main reasons for moving here was the really cold Winters in NY. Here for me, Winter is usually just a few weeks of bad Weather, but this has been the wettest Winter since I moved here. We are getting inches of rain every few days (our monsoon season), but it's nice and dry in my shop and a good reason to spend lots of time there.

Charley
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nick,

It's been above freezing here for most of this Winter, but we will be in the teens at night a few times over the next two weeks, according to the Weather people. Then I hope the worst will be over for us and it will start getting warmer. We do see snow here, but usually only an inch or so from one or two storms per year. One of my main reasons for moving here was the really cold Winters in NY. Here for me, Winter is usually just a few weeks of bad Weather, but this has been the wettest Winter since I moved here. We are getting inches of rain every few days (our monsoon season), but it's nice and dry in my shop and a good reason to spend lots of time there.

Charley

And actually it's been abut the same here..maybe a bit warmer. Last couple of weeks we had a few days below freezing but nothing too bad..it was more the wind. In the past, the Hudson River used to freeze...mountains of snow in the streets that we used to dig tunnels into. In the next couple of weeks it'll start warming up and I'll get some work done on the boat...wiring, fiberglass work on the radar arch, hatch lens, cockpit teak, raise the seats in the flybridge...no biggies, just one bite at a time stuff...

Good luck with the rest of the winter...enjoy your time in the shop...looking forward to what you produce...

Again, thanks for all your input...Nick
 

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Nick,

I once walked across the Hudson, back about 1962 at a point just South of where the indian Point power station is located, then walked North to the Bear Mtn. Bridge, back across to the East side, and then back to the starting point. The ice was almost a foot thick and it had been 20-30 below zero F every night for about a week. You have had a pretty mild Winter, so far, but you will likely pay for it in February and March. Spring arrives about a month earlier here and Fall arrives about a month later when compared to NY too.

It has gone below zero here a couple of times for one or two nights, but most Winters here have only gone into the low teens a few nights. It usually drops to 25-45 at night and 50-60 in the afternoons. We have had 2 big snow storms in the past 35 years here. One was 10" and the other about 8". We usually see one or two snow storms a year of 1-2" and then a couple of ice storms a year. Some have been pretty bad, but when snow or ice falls here, the afternoon temperatures and Sun usually make it disappear quickly. Before moving here I can remember one NY snowstorm where we had 37" in one snowfall and drifts as high as 11' across a road near my house. It was 3 1/2 days before the plows opened my dead end street, and they did it with a bulldozer. Shortly after that one I began trying to convince the company that I worked for to transfer me South, but it took me 4 years to be successful.

Charley
 
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