Mid-week tool sneak peek no. 22

February 22, 2012

Once again I took a little trip out to visit with the crew at ToolSelect.com to share my opinions on a tool they sent me to tryout in the shop, General Tools EZ Pro Mortise and Tenon Jig. It arrived at just the right time, since I was about to start building Samantha’s Mirror Frame. If you haven’t seen the first half of the build video, check it out here – Samantha’s Mirror Frame Pt 1.

Mortise and tenon joinery is one of the foundations of good construction. It’s been used for centuries, not just in furniture construction but especially in timber framing where it’s kept many a roof and wall together. From buildings as small as summer cottages in the middle of a scenic meadow to monstrously looming cathedrals in the center of sprawling metropolises. In short, it’s a useful joint!

While it’s been a cornerstone of good construction for centuries, it’s not always the easiest joint to master. Ask two woodworkers how to cut it, you’ll get two different answers. So it can be confusing for beginners and tedious for more advanced users depending on how they approach it.

There have been a number of jigs created to help get around all the confusion and assist woodworkers in constructing solid, tight fitting, reliable mortise and tenon joinery every time. Not all of them live up to the hype, some are just downright ridiculous and even more are ridiculously priced.

The mortise and tenon jig I had a chance to tryout in my shop was made by General Tools. It’s designed to be simple to use, easy to setup and allows the user to cut both the mortise and tenon side by side.

The beauty in that design is that there’s no need to load up the first piece, cut the tenon, then remove and reload with the mating piece for the mortise. Both are clamped in the jig simultaneously and the user moves from one to the other.

Is it a jig I’ll be using every time for cutting mortise and tenon joints? Is it something I think lives up to it’s promise? Would I recommend it to ALL woodworkers looking for a M&T jig? You’ll have to watch to find out…

Standard features include:
* Fully assembled, ready to use right out-of-the-box.
* Includes bushing to create 1/4″, 3/8″ & 1/2″ joints.
* Use with a plunge router to cut fully aligned mortises and tenons ranging from 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide and from 1 to 3″ long.
* Can be mounted directly on a workbench or onto a board that can be clamped in a vise or to a bench. 
* Easily handles stock  from 1/2″ to 1-1/2″ thick
* Can cut multiple mortises in a single long piece.

For more information on these and other great tools by General Tools visit their website at www.generaltools.com.

You can also find it through our affiliate links at Woodcraft.com, Rockler.com or Amazon.com.

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Comments (6)

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  1. John Verreault (aka Johnny_Vee) says:

    Great episode Matt. Did you recently get a new camera? The quality of the videos seems to have jumped up a fair bit. Do you get to keep the tool or is it a “loaner”?


    John (aka Johnny_Vee)

    • Matt says:

      I wish I had a new camera! All the footage is filmed by ToolSelect.com. It’s actually all them, I’m just a participant.

      Regarding keeping the tools, that is one of the big benefits of participating. Of course, if you’re not happy with the tool, it’s still yours lol!

  2. Ian Mansfield says:

    I bought this tool to assist me make a number of rectangular frames 2.1 meters long by 1.9 meters wide. The timber I will use is approximately 60 mm by 20 mm. It would appear that I could clamp the 2.1 m pieces in the jig in a horizontal position to cut the mortises. However to cut the tendons on the 1.9 m pieces I would have to mount the jig high into the air or make a hole in the floor so the timber has somewhere to go.

    On the other hand it may be possible to turn the jig ninety degrees so the tendons could be cut with the timber in a horizontal position. I would appreciate your advice as I have not yet received the jig and I could return it unopened if it is not suitable for my task.

    Finally I have read an earlier review which was not favorable and I am wondering if the manufacturers have made any modifications to the jig to address it’s earlier short comings.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Ian,

      I was not a big fan of this jig when I tried it out. I can’t say that I’m a fan of it now either, I ended up selling it to someone else who was more interested in it than I was. It’s a neat idea, and I’m sure once you become familiar with it it can result in decent fitting mortise and tenon joinery.

      But I found it to be not as easy to setup as they claim and quite honestly I could do something very similar by building a homemade jig like this one over at my friend Marc’s website that a viewer sent in http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/viewer-projects/bryans-router-mortising-jig/

      This jig is only for creating the mortises, but in my opinion that’s the hardest part versus the tenons. Not sure if this helps…

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