DIY Network

How to Mortise Using a Router and Corner Chisel

David Thiel demonstrates the correct way to mortise using a router and corner chisel. These instructions show how to use a trim router to produce accurate results quickly.

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mortise using router and corner chisel
  • Time

    30 Minutes

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Set the Trim Router's Cutting Depth

Mark the location of the hinge on the door.

Use a fluting bit on the trim router with the cutting depth set to the thickness of the hinge.

Step 2: Build a Template

Place a template over the door. Build the template with legs that fit over the door. Cut a hole in the top piece that works with the base of the router. (The template limits the movement of the base so it cuts only within the confines of the mortise.) Make an alignment mark on the template to indicate where it should be aligned with marks on the door.

build template with legs that fit over door

Step 3: Cut and Clean Out the Mortise

Clamp the template to the door to keep it in place, then use the router to cut the mortise (Image 1).

Clean out any extra material with a chisel. If you have a square hinge, use a corner chisel to square off the corners (Image 2).