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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm thinking the near future may hold a new piece of machinery for the shop. I've looked into mortisers and am curious who is happy with theirs and what model they have. In my shop it would get a fair bit of work as I have plenty of furniture projects in the works but again it's a hobby shop and not a business. Most reviews I've read seem clear that most are not familiar with how they are used and have unrealistic expectations. The biggest complaint I hear is the cutters are poor quality and dull. From what I've read and I expect is in the manuals is that the cutters need sharpening first much like chisels.
 

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I think all manufacturers are shipping product with only cursory sharpening these days. Surprised table saw blades don't arrive dull.

Here's info and video on sharpening these chisels: https://www.finewoodworking.com/2014/06/02/how-to-sharpen-hollow-chisel-mortising-bits

Some sharpening gadgets for those chisels https://www.amazon.com/mortise-chisel-sharpener/s?k=mortise+chisel+sharpener

I've looked at a number of these and of like the PowerMatic, but the following article makes me rethink the choice: Here's an interesting website on mortising machines with lots of info, and some editor ratings that look pretty informative. https://www.popularwoodworking.com/questions-and-answers/benchtop-mortisers/

Hope this helps. interesting in that last article the comments about RPM differences, and also about cheap bits.
 

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I have the Powermatic...
does everything I want...
LeeValley Chisels and their sharpening cone have proven to been a good value and quality...
the table and clamps are 1st rate...
the Jet is a lighter weight version...

I had a Delta and absolutely hated it...
 

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I wanted to make mortises years ago and couldn't afford a mortising machine so I got the mortising attachment for my DP instead. I was using it recently and realized that the DP and attachment has a far greater range than the dedicated mortiser will do. Mortisers only have about a 6" travel I think where the DP could do something over two feet tall or thick. Plus you eliminate the footprint of another machine and the cost is around $120 https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0000223B4/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new

I agree with getting the diamond cones from LV for sharpening them. Even just spinning them by hand will sharpen the edges of the chisel to razor sharp. 2 or 3 seconds in a drill is probably enough.
 

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I bought a Delta years ago and it works fine BUT over the years I haven't used it enough to justify the price I paid for it. It all depends on how much you will be using it. In my case I could have bought something else that I would have used more. With the number of mortises I have made I could have just as well used my plunge router. I bought it because I had a customer who was big into doll furniture but that dried up pretty quickly. It was good for the small joinery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Morning Chuck,

I guess I wonder how well you can secure the wood using a drill press? I have an old Clausen drill press that doesn't have the geared table raiser and is a real pia to move up and down. It is adjustable speed though and works well for my needs. I'll have to check the HP rating but I think it's an old commercial unit I picked up from a friend some years ago. It's a free standing unit as well. Turns out the DP has a 3/4 HP motor. Pictures attached....
 

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Hi Steve that is a nice DP Clausing makes nice equipment. We had a Clausing metal lathe at a shop I used to work at it lasted forever. I wonder if you could rig up a scissor jack between the base and the table to make it easier to raise the table up and down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Steve that is a nice DP Clausing makes nice equipment. We had a Clausing metal lathe at a shop I used to work at it lasted forever. I wonder if you could rig up a scissor jack between the base and the table to make it easier to raise the table up and down?
Hey Roxanne,

Yes I had looked at that a few times and about the only thing I came across was using a lift like that used on a boat trailer. I just haven't quite figured out how that would be attached securely. I installed a 12 volt lift on our 25" travel trailer that works quite well and that style could likely be adapted. I even have a few 12 volt 10 amp power supplies that are spares for the observatory. Thanks for reminding me.....
 

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Morning Chuck,

I guess I wonder how well you can secure the wood using a drill press? I have an old Clausen drill press that doesn't have the geared table raiser and is a real pia to move up and down. It is adjustable speed though and works well for my needs. I'll have to check the HP rating but I think it's an old commercial unit I picked up from a friend some years ago. It's a free standing unit as well. Turns out the DP has a 3/4 HP motor. Pictures attached....
You need to add the clamping mechanism for the DP attachment to an auxiliary table you clamp to the table on the DP. The attachment clamps onto the DP's quill just above the chuck. I think most sizes are standard these days but I'm not sure what you would have. The attachment comes with different size bushings to accommodate several sizes of quill. My Delta 16.5" is the largest size at I think 66 mm. It takes about 10 minutes to attach everything to the DP and start making mortises.

A camper or RV lift jack might be the ticket for quick height changes on the table.
 
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Hi Steve,

This one is on sale right now until Monday. Seems to have good reviews.

https://www.grizzly.com/products/Shop-Fox-Mortising-Machine/W1671
The Shop Fox at Grizzly runs at 3450 rpm. IMO, 3450 rpm is too fast for a mortiser. I have a Jet, which runs at 1725 rpm and works great. I've owned mine for at least 30 years. The Powermatic also runs at 1725 rpm. I don't use my Jet any longer, unless I have a project requiring particularly deep mortises. For most purposes these days, I rely on my CNC, or my Festool Domino.

Although the price is clearly obscene, the Festool Domino, which uses loose tenons, is the fastest, most reliable and versatile solution for mortise & tenon work. You can use it in place of conventional M&T joints, and can also use them for edge gluing boards. The fit tends to be tighter than biscuits, and the overall results better. The Domino works best for regular casework. For larger work, the Domino XL works better. Just offering a more versatile alternative to a dedicated mortise machine.

Here's a link to the Domino 500: https://festools-online.com/media/catalog/product/cache/e6b5fb7bfcf8f21ce74679c09f82fe9c/5/7/576693-festool.png
 

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You need to add the clamping mechanism for the DP attachment to an auxiliary table you clamp to the table on the DP. The attachment clamps onto the DP's quill just above the chuck. I think most sizes are standard these days but I'm not sure what you would have. The attachment comes with different size bushings to accommodate several sizes of quill. My Delta 16.5" is the largest size at I think 66 mm. It takes about 10 minutes to attach everything to the DP and start making mortises.

A camper or RV lift jack might be the ticket for quick height changes on the table.

I have an old Walker Turner 15" DP and the mortising attachment does not fit over the chuck...

Thanks for posting the size you have...will have to measure the attachment to see if a different one would work over my chuck.
 

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ratcheting trailer strap is way easier..
Easier and cheaper but you would have to move the table into the general range before using it as you can only wind up so much of the webbing before the turnbuckle is full. A trailer jack wouldn't have as much limitation nor require as much physical effort but it would cost many times more money.
 

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I have an old Walker Turner 15" DP and the mortising attachment does not fit over the chuck...

Thanks for posting the size you have...will have to measure the attachment to see if a different one would work over my chuck.
Nick if you need precise sizes let me know and I'll go measure what I have. I thought I only had two sizes of bushings but the current picture shows three. The attachment with no bushings added fits the Delta 16.5. One other size was either 44 or 45mm as I recall.
 

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