Saturday, March 08, 2014

Mortise Appliance

A reply to yesterday's pig sticker post asked about the reference to a "mortise appliance". I used the term "appliance" a little tongue in cheek because it is so simple. The basic idea is from Robert Wearing's book Making Woodwork Aids & Devices and is mentioned in Schwarz's Workbenches in the chapter on Maintenance & Appliances.

I've added a board making it "L" shaped to move the work piece off the edge of the bench but the principle remains the same. It gives an easy way to clamp the work piece on the bench top over the leg.

The appliance/jig in the vise:

Holding the work piece:

Like many of the most useful bench appliances, simple, easy to make and is used almost every shop day. It and my bench hooks live next to each other within easy reach under the bench.


  1. Anonymous10:34 AM

    Why didn't you just hold the end of the stock down on the workbench with the F-clamp or a holdfast? This is how many people secure the workpiece for mortising. Why the extra appliance in use with the F-clamp or quick clamp?


  2. Yep, they do and I expect it it works for them.Try both and see which works best for you. There usually isn't a single right way to do things.

  3. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Actually, my question was about the advantage of this extra work as I don't want to build an additional appliance when it is just another way of doing things without added value. Not to say the appliance you show doesn't work.


  4. I find it increases lateral stability over other ways, the bench provides all that is needed vertically how ever you clamp. Would you find it useful, I haven't a clue but the original version is just a board clamped in the face vice. If you want to see if it is a useful technique, the next time you chop a mortise reach into your scrap pile for a board and give it a whirl.