Mortise and tenon and the X-carve

One of the first things I wanted to try on the X carve was to cut a mortise and tenon. I actually have had the X carve for a while now and And finally got a chance to give it a try. I knew because I was going to have to cut the end of my material, I would have to cut a hole in my waist board to accommodate the length. because I would be cutting the material on its end, I would also need a way to hold the material in place. So if I was going to make a jig or fixture, I figured I might as well make it so it will also hold the material for the mortise as well.

Rip plywood to size and add rabbit for T-track



I started out by ripping some plywood to 3 inch strips and 1 and a half inch strips, The 3 inch strips will make up the bottom portion and the inch and a half strips will be used for the top. I then decided to cut rabbits on all the strips before I glued them together this saves me from cutting dadoes later, just a little quicker.

Glue each section together



Once all the rabbits were cut I could then glue the 3 inch strips to the inch and a half strips, making sure the rabbits are aligned

Screw the two sections tougher and add support


I then screwed the first section to the second section creating a T-shape. I then used a small piece of scrap material to make a corner brace and screwed it into place making sure the jig is kept square.

Screw T- track to fixture


Then I could screw the T- track into each groove. I did this by drilling holes along the bottom of the      T-track and countersinking the holes for the screws

Cut out section of waste board


Now it is time to cut a section out of the waste bored. I use the CNC itself for this task as this allows me to align the fixture with the cut line, ensuring that the jig is in line with the machine. The hole I cut out measures 2″ x 8″

Add block to the bottom of the waste board


I screwed a block to the bottom of the waste board to allow for more support and also another place to clamp to if necessary.

Attach the fixture


I held the fixture in place by using the hold down clamps and making sure it is in line with the hole I cut with the router.

clamp the material to the fixture


Next I could clamp the material into place by using hold down clamps and T bolts in the T track. I was careful to make sure that the material is square to the table in both directions

Draw the mortise and tenon


I drew a simple tenon in sketch up by just drawing a square the same size as my material and then drawing the proper size mortise in the middle

Load tenon into easel


I then loaded the tenon into easel. And then make sure the tenon is cut out on the “outside path” and the outside of the material is cut out “on path” It is also important to make sure the outside portion is cut first. This is down by selecting edit and then going to “bring forward” a few time until its all the way forward.

Load mortise into easel


I then load the mortise into easel. Here you want to make sure the tenon part is set to “fill” and the outside portion has a depth of cut of zero. You also need to turn the whole thing 90 degrees. here you may need to add to the thickness of the tenon by adding some width. I find with loading SVGs from sketch up, when ever you use the “fill” it cuts it about 25 thousands to small. So in easel under the shape tab, I add the 25 thousands. Another important note is to make sure your position is set to 0,0 that way you know to position the centre of the bit right at the corner of the material.

Position the bit


Next we need to position the bit to the very corner of the material. This is because we set the drawing right at 0,0 in easel.

Cut the tenon



Finally we can cut the tenon we want to make sure that the outside is cut first and then the inside cut second. If it cut the inside first, you would only be left with small conners which would just break off if you tried to cut the outside second.

Cut the mortise



Next we position the bit for the mortise by making a mark of the thickness of our material and aligning the center of the bet with that Mark and the edge of the board. We can then go ahead and cut the mortise.

Test the fit


Finally we can tester fit and if it is a slightly snug, fit then you are good to go!!



X carve made router lift

Dowload plans and easel file here:

Cut the components out using easel   

Open up the easel file and click file, copy project. Then you can delete all but one component and carve it out. I recommend doing it this way instead of carving all at once so you can check accuracy in between each operation.

Attach V wheels and Deleon nut


I first took the V-wheel mounting plate and attached two side pieces to either side using screws. Then Attach all four V-wheels using the M5 socket head bolts with 2 washer to allow for the proper clearance. I used T-nuts here so you won’t need a wrench when adjusting the rollers. then screw the delrin nut in place.head bolts with 2 washer to allow for the proper clearance.

Adjust roller


You can adjust the rollers by prying them over in the slotted holes with a flat head screw driver, making sure the are tight to the maker slide. Then go ahead and tighten down all the v-wheel bolts.

Attach the front plate

First attach the router clamp to the front plate using screws and glue from the back. Then you can attach the front plate to the carriage with screws.

Seating the lead screw


First sandwich the flanged bearing in-between two nylon nuts at the top of the 4 1/2″ long M8 lead screw. Then it can be hammered into place on the top plate.

Attach top plate


The top plate can be attached to the maker rail by using two self tapping screws. then you can screw the lead screw into the delrin nut.

Attach the support legs

The support legs are attached to the maker sides via two socket head M5 bolts and two T-nuts. Then it is screw two the top plate.

Adding the router clamp support

First cut out the support using a table saw or band saw. Then making sure that the router clamp is square to the front plate, you can attach the support using screws. Next drill a hole at the bottom of the front plate that lines up with the maker slide T-track. Here a T-nut and M5 hex bolt can be used for the lock.

Attach the top and make a fence


Finally you can attach the lift to your router table, or make one and share with us!!!

slot mortiser plan

I finally have finished the plans for the slot mortisers and i’m very excited to see what you guys think. I’m currently offering the plans for free in exchange for some feedback. Weather you build it or not I would love for you to look over the plan and let me know what you think. If you do build it, let me know if there are any mistakes or improvements to be made. You can leave me a comment here on the web page or you can email me at I would appreciate if you could leave feedback comments about the plans off the youtube channel. There will be a full build series on my youtube channel here:

there will also be a full website article to come as well.

I recommend the sketch up version because you can pan camera and even edit plans to your liking:

sketch up version: slot mortiser plan download.

PDF version: slot mortiser plans download

You’ll need the latest version of sketch up to view. You can download a free version here:


Slot mortiser article

Slot Mortiser
If you watch woodworking videos on YouTube then you probably know about Matthias Wandel and his slot mortiser. Matthias really come up with an amazing design that incorporates a lead screw and a incremented hand wheel that allows you to precisely adjust the cutter to correct height. Matthias machine, even though not exactly what I wanted to build, gave hope that it was possible to build a bench top domino.

slot_mortiserMatthias Wandels Slot mortiser

When coming up with a design I had one thing in the mind, quick set-up. I knew if there was any fiddling or math to get a good result it would sit in corner while I find a simpler way of doing it. So with that in mind the domino has reference marks and indexing pins so guess what my mortiser will have.Easier said than done…
To use reference marks would mean the work piece must be moveable instead of the router. So how to you move the table up and down without any unwanted slop? I didn’t get this the first try…


I thought about this long and hard and decided to go with a scissor lift. The next hurdle was x and y movement. Keeping a small foot print in mind cause I want to be able to store it away and easily be able to put it on the bench when needed I ruled out drawer slides for the left and right movement simply cause of length, but for the in and out they would work just fine. My first idea for the left and right movement I went to the domino again for inspiration and decided on a router mount that swiveled on a bearing giving a range of about 2″.

IMG_0693 IMG_0694

I should mention that as the ideas come I would make a rough sketch up diagram. So from that I started building and it was an epic fail. There was all kind of issues but mainly the scissor lift (made from aluminum ) was just to lose and made a rough inaccurate mortise. And the bearing mount for the swivel was also to sloppy with no real way to tighten it up. Back to the drawing board.
I ended stumbling on the inclined plane height adjustment by staring at my failed mortiser. The table side supports had tapers cut into them basically for appearance and at that moment it came to me that if I make a mating taper and sliding it back and forth it would raise and lower my table WITH lots of support underneath it.

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 3.14.12 PM

It was kind of a eureka moment but still had lots of question whether it would work. As for the left and right movement I scraped the swivel all together and decided on first a bushing and rod set up but then a drawer slide.
I figure at this point I would just go at it in the shop and see how it goes and from this point on everything seem to just fall into place. It did take a lot of shop time to get a final product but in the end I think it was worth it.


Quick, very quick as far as a tool used to make floating tenons, it perfect. Sense having in the shop I tend to find other uses for to. If I need any slot at all, I want ro use it just cause it is so quick to set up.

Cheap to build, about a 1/3 of a sheet of plywood
Small foot print takes little space compared to other mortisers
Easily remove the router if need else where, just a 5/16 nut driver and comes right out
Clean accurate slots.
Fun to make!!


Short left to right motion, travel is only about 3″ which is a sacrifice made to keep the foot print small but could be easily modified if you wanted.
Shallow depth of cut, due to the small cutters(1/4, 5/16, 3/8) you can only get about 1 1/2″ deep
Dust, no real way to collect dust