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So after much debate and trial I found, rather it found me (thanks camel camel camel) and I ended up with Powermatic's PM701 bench mortiser. Typically it sells for $599 but I was made aware of a price drop and at $405 w/Prime shipping I jumped. $195 discount easily covered the cost of the chisel set. That evening I was checking and the price was up to $500.

Anyway the hollow chisels came the following day and were set aside. The mortiser was due the next day and was to be delivered by Amazon. Sure enough on Friday morning I checked on the order because I was advised via email it would be a day late and it showed as being in route that day for delivery. In fact the tracking on Amazon actually shows the movement of their truck updating every few minutes it seemed. And it was indeed delivered in 2 days having been shipped form California. This was a sold and shipped by Amazon item.

So after getting the 92 pound box in the shop and unboxed I put this baby together. I quickly decided this baby needed a dedicated rolling cabinet although one person can pick it up although it's a bit awkward and very heavy. You young bucks can have a go at it I guess. I assembled this on my adjustable height workbench to give it a quick checkout.

I was amazed how sharp the chisels were and the mortiser comes with a cone sharpener. Assembly was quick, straight forward, and easy. I used the 1/4" mortise bit to test on a laid out mortise location on some 1" soft maple scrap. Marking out the mortise I started with a cut at each end and then spaced the cuts leaving about a 1/4 between to ensure the hollow chisel bit is biting into wood on all 4 sides. When those were done I went back and did the places in between. This left me with a nice clean mortise. I rotated the wood 90 degree and made a second intersecting mortise as if I were installing a skirt board on an end table. Nice clean intersection. The great thing is that while it does take a bit of effort it really isn't much more than if I were drilling.

What I also came to realize is that I want a sliding table to clamp the wood to. What I found ready to use online was either too small, too cheaply made, or just not fit for this. I then looked for plans and found this one from WoodSmith The hardware will set you back a few bucks but it looks large enough and sturdy enough to last a lifetime.

And with cutting into walnut, cherry, oak, and maple I'd like to make accurate cuts without making a lot of scrap. This should be an interesting project. So far finding the parts and pieces means multiple vendors but most of it should be here this coming week. Problem with living in the country is nothing is nearby which is why we live in the country.......
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I should mention that the sliding table I'm going to build isn't necessary but I wanted a more controllable and accurate means of making these cuts. This is something that will make it very easily repeatable. The Hold down that comes with the PM701 does work but is a bit clumsy to use, at least for me. It also doesn't give an easy way to move the work in a controlled means being that it is not a smooth move.

Maybe it would be so if I waxed the table a bit but still not nearly as easy as the sliding table will allow where I can make movements in both axis very concisely and in very small increments if needed. I've already thought of a few minor improvements I can make on this table but will build it as is and then see if they warrant any changes.

Guess I'm looking for about the same control I had on the old milling machines. Fortunately I have access to both a milling machine and a metal lathe through a good friend fairly close by (30 minutes). I'll post pictures of the project as it progresses.....
 

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nice score...
 

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Nice score, Steve...

Got a question for you...what accounts for the round cuts in the side of the mortise in your picture...?

Do you have the chisel opening left/right or in/out...?

I'm real close to getting the same machine...(closing is the 17th - new shop)
 

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Terrific buy on a great machine. Those mortises really look good and the edges are crisp. I'm with you about the importance of a proper stand.
 

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You may know about this old trick bit if not here it is.

When you insert the hollow chisel put a dime between the stop and the top of the hollow chisel. Insert your drill bit and let it just touch the bottom of the hollow chisel. Tighten up the drill bit. Then loosen the set screw for the hollow chisel and move it up till the top of the chisel mount touches the bottom of the mortiser. This gives you enough clearance for chips to exit the chisel and not heat up and burn your bit.

Occasionally use a very fine diamond stone on the four outside flat edges of the hollow chisel. Just a few strokes. Then they make a cone shaped diamond home to polish the inside cone of the hollow chisel. Hone when ever you feel a lot of resistance.

When cutting your mortise, start with the two outside edges to get a nice clean mortise. Then start on one side and drill only about half the distance of the bit width and progress to the other end. So if you have a 1/2" mortise bit then step over about a 1/4" inch each stroke. This takes a little more time but you get a better cut and a straighter mortise.

When you insert a new chisel in the mortiser, leave the drill bit out. Use a ruler to square the bit side up with the fence. Since the fence is fixed you should adjust the hollow chisel. Use the dime trick from above. After your get it square and insert the drill bit, remove the dime and recheck the squareness to the fence and tighten the hollow chisel.

With my advise you will be come a real chiseler, and can be called a dastardly chiseler.
 

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You may know about this old trick bit if not here it is.

When you insert the hollow chisel put a dime between the stop and the top of the hollow chisel. Insert your drill bit and let it just touch the bottom of the hollow chisel. Tighten up the drill bit. Then loosen the set screw for the hollow chisel and move it up till the top of the chisel mount touches the bottom of the mortiser. This gives you enough clearance for chips to exit the chisel and not heat up and burn your bit.

Occasionally use a very fine diamond stone on the four outside flat edges of the hollow chisel. Just a few strokes. Then they make a cone shaped diamond home to polish the inside cone of the hollow chisel. Hone when ever you feel a lot of resistance.

When cutting your mortise, start with the two outside edges to get a nice clean mortise. Then start on one side and drill only about half the distance of the bit width and progress to the other end. So if you have a 1/2" mortise bit then step over about a 1/4" inch each stroke. This takes a little more time but you get a better cut and a straighter mortise.

When you insert a new chisel in the mortiser, leave the drill bit out. Use a ruler to square the bit side up with the fence. Since the fence is fixed you should adjust the hollow chisel. Use the dime trick from above. After your get it square and insert the drill bit, remove the dime and recheck the squareness to the fence and tighten the hollow chisel.

With my advise you will be come a real chiseler, and can be called a dastardly chiseler.
That is a very good deal on the Powermatic - I paid full price but it'll be worth every penny in the long run. Easiest tool to use in my shop.

The Powermatic comes with two integrated spacers for both large and small chisel bit - you don't need a dime - keep the change!

You can also align the square bit with your stock in place too - it's how I do it on my Powermatic as I also check the plunge along the layout pencil layout along the workpiece. The important thing is to get the fence square overall so the mortice isn't 'stepped' as you go down the cut and creating a 'twist' with the insertion of the tenon.. I've had no trouble getting mine to work and ad a full 1/8" to the depth of the plunge to accommodate the waste that won't come out from the bit end. I make a centered tenon first on my radial arm saw and pare the mortise to fit.

I also pay attention to the tension on both the horizontal rollers and the vertical stop to create a snug but movable fit on the workpiece. It can be done with practice and is part of getting clean accurate cuts. Plunging into solid wood by spacing the cuts before cleaning out the intermittent spaces is also a good idea. It's all in the instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice score, Steve...

Got a question for you...what accounts for the round cuts in the side of the mortise in your picture...?

Do you have the chisel opening left/right or in/out...?

I'm real close to getting the same machine...(closing is the 17th - new shop)
One of the instructional videos I had watched said to make the end cuts and then leaving space between them make the next cuts. It also said to have the open side of the hollow chisel positioned so the chips went into the already drilled 1st holes so I worked right to left and had it facing right. Now watching several more I see it facing toward the operator which makes more sense to me as most of the waste is outside the mortise. All went back when finished and made light fast passes to finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As Brian mentioned the PM701 has two spacers in place that swing in/out and the upper one is the spacing they use for the chisel to get the drill bit properly positioned. After the bit is tightened in the chuck then you loosen the chisel holder, move fully up, and lock down to be in the user position. On videos I had watched from before this I saw both nickels/dimes being used, not together but either.

As for the test cuts they were quick and simple just to test the ease of cut. I had done nothing more than move the fence in place and did not check for square as you normally would or is that wood?

Once I get the materials to build the sliding table I'll get that made and then determine the size of the rolling cabinet for this setup. The sliding table will be clamped to the cabinet as I intend to use it at the drill press as well. Only issue getting the parts right now is the length. I can get the 3/4" 1018 steel rod in 20' length about 1.5 hours away from home for $93.60 which is almost double of what I need or I have to order it and pay almost twice the cost of the steel in shipping.......
 

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Nice new toy, Steve, and Christmas is long gone!
 

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That's a great machine! I always wanted one but I went with a cnc. $6,000 and I still can't cut a square hole!! 😉
The sliding table is gonna be a great addition. 👍
 

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One of the instructional videos I had watched said to make the end cuts and then leaving space between them make the next cuts. It also said to have the open side of the hollow chisel positioned so the chips went into the already drilled 1st holes so I worked right to left and had it facing right. Now watching several more I see it facing toward the operator which makes more sense to me as most of the waste is outside the mortise. All went back when finished and made light fast passes to finish.
You got it! Really a very simple tool to use once you get your bearings. Really speeds up a lot of work. I also bought a set of pretty cheap set of bits to start with and they work fine in soft and hard species - just sharpen them up until they can cut you easily and it's all good. You got a great deal on yours, BTW.
 

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Nice score, Steve...

Got a question for you...what accounts for the round cuts in the side of the mortise in your picture...?

Do you have the chisel opening left/right or in/out...?

I'm real close to getting the same machine...(closing is the 17th - new shop)
I was wondering the same..
and why all the tearing... dull chisels???
 

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Steve..
did you hog out your mortise before hand????
 

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I was wondering the same..
and why all the tearing... dull chisels???
I'm going to guess at some of the potential causes, as I have had to deal with the same issues:

1) In this case, the bit 'square' alignment is off - or there's movement in sliding the piece along- resulting in stepping in the cuts. Takes a little practice and some test holes to get that sorted out before you commit to the workpiece. Not a huge issue as you pare the mortise some anyway and the shoulder hides it all - but, a twisted opening will twist the tenon - not good. All in the setup.
2) Soft woods tear pretty easily - set as shallow a bit>chisel gap as you can to keep this under control.
3) Dull chisels and bits will make some fuzz - you have to clean out the mortise too as all the shavings don't exit the bit, especially at the bottom where the bit is all that's cutting. I add 1/8th" to the desired mortise depth to minimize cleanout.
4) Boring speed matters too - a nice smooth, slow bore will keep the workpiece in place, etc. Until you figure out how to use the clamp and rollers it can be a tad clumsy but one you've go it things go very well.

Hope that helps...
 

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Sorry guys late on getting back to this. This was a very fast and not well executed test. I was looking mainly at the chisel sharpness and how much pressure it would take to make the cut. I quickly made the 1st cut and followed with the others not checking square at all. Heck I didn't even check depth. I had this old piece of soft maple from a previous screw up on the bench so I just used it. I normally would have checked to make sure the bit was square to the wood, the fence was square, and the depth of cut set but as I was simply testing the bit I didn't do any of this. It was quick and simple.

I'll go back and do a proper test after finishing the sliding table. I've got a ton of work to get this thing done properly but should prove worthy in the end.
 
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