Jerry-meister, Here are several things:
Do you realize how funny it sounds for you to speak of how cold it is in TEXAS, after moving from ALASKA? You got me tickled on that one! I figured you would be out in your shop wearing Bermuda shorts!
As is so typical, Bob gave you an excellent presentation with appropriate photos to show the "hollow chisel mortising bits". These can be used as Bob has indicated - with the drill press mortising kit for some drill presses. Also, (and what I would do if mortises were often necessary for me) is to have either a dedicated mortising machine or a drill press specifically set-up for mortising. Bob's photos also show how he has tackled the hold-down issue - which is so critical when cutting mortises. He used two- vices to create a much better hold-down than what my (Delta) kit came with, and the hold-down is what takes so stinking long to get perfectly set-up. Great job, Bob!
Jerry, knowing the precision that you desire - you will probably do best with a dedicated mortising machine, there are several on the market; and they keep you from having your drill press tied-up. You are the kind of guy that will get it, use it, perfect it and then wonder how you ever did without it in the first place. I gotta ask you again, though; In the finished project, will the mortise joints be visible to a casual observer? I ask (mostly because I've forgotten if we already covered this) wondering if a simple multiple dowel joint will work just as well for you.
Tell your wife I will be keeping her surgery on my mind and in my prayers. In 1980, I built a house for a friend - long story short, I fell 28 feet into a masonry scrap pile. I landed on "all fours" - like a kid crawling. I broke both forearms, both shins, 3 ribs and 6- vertebrae. I had two follow-up surgeries and over 950 sutures and about 150 staples. I say this to point out that my (resultant) lower back surgery was difficult, but 25 months after the fall, I was "as good as new". That back surgery (although not "elective") was the best thing that I have ever done for my health. By the way, I no longer climb 40 foot ladders - I'll be 60 on my next birthday and ever since that fall - heights bother me more than most people.
Message to Mike: Hey Buddy GET A GRIP, don't YOU remember that Jerry is a perfectionist personality type? Jerry considers things "6 ways from Sunday", but once he sets-out to actually do the work he has confidence in his methods and produces some truly AMAZING workmanship. Some of Jerry's first questions were pertinent to getting angles accurate to standards that many of us never consider, but it wasn't HOT AIR; after Jerry shared photos of some of his work I NEARLY DROPPED TO THE FLOOR - IT WAS THAT GOOD! I asked one big favor from Jerry and so far he has delivered: Please don't show that to my wife or she will expect me to stay in the basement woodshop 24/7 until I can make something that nice! Then, she would be disappointed in me forever!
Hey Mike, By the way: Did you get my [personal] email with the job offer? I think it has been about a week since I sent it. I know you work while I sleep, but please let me know if you didn't receive it so I can re-send it.
Later guys, Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
OPG3 Tweak everything!