Mortise Rail MR4
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Adding a PlungeBar to your router turns it into an effective mortiser, with a quick and accurate single-handed action.

Most mortising is done with the wood held flat,  like on a workbench. Just under the baseplate is the cutting zone, so we must be careful. Holding the wood is not as easy as in the CamLocks. 

It needs some kind of horizontal holding devise. Shop made mortise rails can be tailored to your project. Your workpiece is clamped in or to it and tracked under the cutter as you plunge down to make a close row of holes. Track the wood back through the bit, at full depth, and you have a mortise.

Rounded ends can be squared with a chisel, or left round if they will be hidden by the tenon shoulders.

We have devised a few options over the years...  

The shop Made Rail

Shop made mortise rail comprising two uprights in the Camlocks and a simple rail across both

Shop made mortise rail comprising two uprights in the Camlocks and a simple rail across both

You can make a simple shop-made Mortising Rail on the WoodRat using plywood and a couple of lengths of wood at minimal cost but useful for more than mortises, as it will make classic raised and fielded panels .


You can use it to field a panelled door, either with a conical cutter, or (with the panel clamped at an angle to the rail), with a straight cutter. You can cut on the down-cut or climb cut, leaving a far cleaner finish than when cut on a table saw. You can see the cut and adjust its angle as required. 

The MR4 Mortice Rail

The MR4, (like the WoodRat), is made from a 4" x 2" extruded aluminium channel.

It bolts directly to the Sliding Bar and can be loaded with pairs of rails and stiles for cupboard doors. It can be tracked left to right to make grooves for panels and mortises.

The Dagger has a locating pin and the tee slot under the channel can be set with pegs to catch the pin and control the size of the mortises. Making a cupboard door with the MR4 is far quicker than with a chisel mortiser and any other kind of tenoner. The mortises can be placed opposite each other and the panel groove automatically lines up its mortises. You can make a batten with slots in it for any number or mortises.

There are two positions for it, using the upper and lower parts of the Sliding Bar, and you can gain extra height by using the Raising Plate under the Base Plate. There are finger slots in the bottom of the profile that allow you to push the work up to datum under the Base Plate. This allows you to accommodate different widths of stile, and mortise them equally to depth, length and position. 

The maximum section of workpiece is 83mm x 140mm or 3 1/4” x 5 1/2”. 

Drilling holes and Slots

A router bit with a good end cut will give a very clean-cut hole. The control you get with the precise positioning of the WoodRat enables board games and a many other applications, slots in drawer bottoms, a rack for your dovetail bits, key holes made with dovetail bits, holes for draw pins for tenons, and so on.