I’ve been on vacation in Portland for the past week, so no woodworking — or any shop time — lately. But I’m back now and was able to sneak out for a couple of hours this afternoon.
I’d already cut all of the tenons for the rails, and the bottom mortises last week – when my router bit broke. I picked up another bit, and also tried a technique I’d read about for routing mortises. I cut a stack of 1/8″ MDF shims so I could have the bit set to full depth, but plow out just 1/8″ or so in each pass. This was particularly important because these mortises are at the very top of the stiles. I had problems with blowing out the tops on my previous attempt.
With three (nominal) 1/8″ shims the first cut would be 1/8″ for a 1/2″ deep mortise. The MDF is undersized of course , so the first cut comes in around 3/16″ deep.
I stopped the mortises about 1/8″ shy of the correct length to avoid breaking out the top. Then I used a 3/16: chisel to square the ends and pare out the top end to the correct length. You can see there isn’t a lot of material left there. You definitely don’t want to pry against it! A better approach would be to leave the stiles long, lay our and cut the mortises to the correct length and then cut the excess material off of the tops. Live and learn.
I beveled the ends of the tenons and dry fit everything. One tenon is a little loose, but the rest are a snug fit. I may glue a thin shim of veneer to the loose tenon on general principles, although I’m not sure it’s necessary.
With a good fit up up verified I started sanding all of the parts. I also shaped the bottoms of the stiles with a rasp. I have everything to 150 grit right now, but then it was time to make dinner. I’ll sand everything to 220 tomorrow and glue it up with Old Brown Glue. The finish will probably be oil and shellac.