I’m not exactly Norm, but I do have specialty tools that make the job go faster. These tools are solely for mortise and tenon work and are typical of those available in the 18th century.
The joiners’ mortise chisel (don’t call it a pigsticker please) has a thick blade to provide plenty of strength. Its large oval handle allows easy directional control and provides a broad butt end to spread out the force of a mallet blow, saving both chisel and mallet. The broad sides of this chisel’s blade are slightly beveled away from the cutting edge to allow a little extra clearance in the mortise. One English manufacturer is making accurate copies of traditional joiner’s mortise chisels. Ray Illes mortisers are available at tools for working wood.
The mortising gauge’s arm features 4 sets of pins, carefully filed to match 4 of my most used mortise chisels. Laying out a mortise is as simple as determining where I want it to go. See PW’s Arts and Mysteries Dec 2006 issue for Dean Jansa’s article on how to make these yourself.
Under the gauge is my homemade 19″ tenon saw, a copy of one found in the Seaton Chest. Thankfully, saws like this are being reproduced by Mike Wenz. When stock wider than 3″ is to be sawn for a tenon, a long saw simply does the job faster than a short one. Before I made this saw, I used an 18″ frame saw. While I prefer this back saw, that frame saw performed adequately.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.