Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser - Router Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser

Bench top Mortiser Cross-Slide Vise

Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser-mortiser-cross-slide-visec.jpg Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser-mortiser-cross-slide-visea.jpg Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser-mortiser-cross-slide-viseb.jpg Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser-mortiser-cross-slide-vised.jpg Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser-mortiser-cross-slide-visee.jpg Cross Slide Vise for Benchtop Mortiser-mortiser-cross-slide-visef.jpg

Here is a new addition to my woodshop.
Iíve had the Powermatic bench top mortiser for a few years and have cut many a mortise on it. Itís a great tool, but I have been envious of the full-size mortisers with the sliding table. Even though my mortises are crisp with the machine, set-up, alignment, and moving the work piece to cut the mortises has been time consuming. Getting the perfect alignment has always taken too much time, especially when boring only a couple of mortises for a project.
Iíve been thinking of installing a cross-slide vise on the mortiser for a couple of years and finally got around to it. I found a great article on popularwoodworking.com with a great solution for adding the vise.
Popular Woodworking - 3-D Mortising Upgrade

The problem with using a cross-slide vise on bench top mortisers is that the clearance below the chisel is usually 4-5 inches and these vises can range from 5 to 7 inches tall. They also are configured to clamp the work piece perpendicular to the mortiser table.
The solution is two-step:
1. Either add riser blocks to the mortiser (if available) to gain proper clearance from the chisel, or build a riser table and mount the vise.
2. Modify the cross-slide vise to orient the clamp parallel to the table.
Both of these solutions are outlined in this article (see link above).

I started by modifying the vise (Grizzly G0164, 4Ē vise for $45.95) so that the clamp and Y-axis threaded rods are on the same side of the vise, pointing toward the operator. The article shows you how to do this, by removing the Y-axis rod and tapping new mounting plate holes on the opposite side. It took all of about 30 minutes to do this. I also removed the original screw handles for the X/Y-axis movement and replaced them with a couple of 5/16-18 star knobs I had sitting around. The threads on the vise handles is 8 mm, slightly larger than 5/16Ē. Since the knobs have a threaded brass insert, I just cross-threaded them on to the rod posts and the fit is tight.

To build the riser table, I used scraps of plywood and MDF for all the components. Itís a very simple table to build; a few dados and glue the whole thing together. I modified the construction from the article a little. For the interior supports to bolt the mortiser to the table, I doubled each support using two pieces of ĺĒ plywood. I dadoed out 11/32Ē wide by 11/64Ē deep channels in the four pieces (opposite sides of two pieces for each support), in-line with the mounting holes on the base of the mortiser column, glued two matching pieces together. This gave me through bolt holes in the supports to attach the mortiser to the riser table. You could used long hex cap bolts to through bolt all the way to the bottom of the table, but I used some 5/16-18 cross dowel nuts and 3-1/2Ē long socket head cap screws. I think that either of these modifications from the original article will give much better holding power when securing the heavy mortiser to the table. I wouldnít trust four lag screws set into the edge of ĺĒ plywood to hold it in place.

After assembly, I rounded over the edges, a little sanding, and painted the table to match (close enough) the Powermatic mustard gold color. The whole system is bolted to my rolling stand.

Iíve already cut a few mortises with the new rig. It took me about a quarter of the time to mount the piece, square up the chisel, set the depth and plough out the mortise. And fine-tuning is miles ahead of the old table hold-downs, which required tapping and checking each piece. Now with a slight twist of the X/Y knobs, I can line up the mortise in a couple of seconds.

I think Iíll add some outfeed supports on the table for stabilizing larger pieces.

If you do a lot of mortising and only have a bench top mortiser, Iím sure youíll find this upgrade well worth it. And even if itís only a few mortises every now and then, this project is a great addition to your tool arsenal. The vise cost me $55 (including shipping) and the bolts and nuts $5. Itís a pretty cheap upgrade that has made my woodworking life a little bit easier.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 09:59 PM
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Clever and well done. Without reading the article I would have never known it wasn't a store bought rig. Excellent job on the matchup.
I've made a few mortises with my benchtop mortiser and I can sure see the usefullness of this set up. Thanks for posting!

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-07-2009, 02:19 AM
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Excellant job, Michael. When are you going into commercial production of them? <g>

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-10-2009, 10:02 AM
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Well, that is another project you have shamed me into!!!!!!

That vise is still available but I will have to do some research and see if it will work with my Jet.

Nice work and a great improvement. Should make your life much easier.


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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-10-2009, 11:13 AM
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Well, after looking at my Jet, it should be a cinch to build a table for it, as you did.

My only other question has to deal with squaring the vise in the vertical and horizontal to the bit.

Is yours adjustable or not?

If not, did you just shim it or was your table perfect and did not require any further adjustment?

If is is adjustable, how did you accomplish this?

Oh, by the way, I just ordered the vise from Amazon.

I am giving my wife your email address!


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-10-2009, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cross slide vise for mortiser

Thanks for the kind words. The mortiser table is working great for me. Ploughing out the mortises is soooo much easier.

As for the squaring of the vise to the chisel, I made sure that when I cut the stock, that everything was exactly square and similar components were cut on the table saw at the same time. After assembly, I double checked the flatness and parallel of the vise table and the mortiser head mount platform and both were dead-on. And finally when the vise and mortiser head were assembled, I put a 1/2" chisel in the chuck, clamped a flat piece of maple in the vise and used my machinist square to check for squareness. Everything was perfect.
Of course you can always shim the mortise head or probably the vise, if it isn't right, but with careful cuts of the table pieces, including the dadoes, you shouldn't have any issues.
Post some pics when you get yours done. It's great to see everyone's designs and modifications.


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Originally Posted by timbertailor View Post
Well, after looking at my Jet, it should be a cinch to build a table for it, as you did.

My only other question has to deal with squaring the vise in the vertical and horizontal to the bit.

Is yours adjustable or not?

If not, did you just shim it or was your table perfect and did not require any further adjustment?

If is is adjustable, how did you accomplish this?

Oh, by the way, I just ordered the vise from Amazon.

I am giving my wife your email address!
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-10-2009, 11:30 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

One last question. Cutting the L shaped boards seem to be the most critical.
Did you cut them on the table saw and finish them on the bandsaw or did you do them entirely on the band saw?

I am talking about the top edges. I assume the bottom and back edges were done on the table saw.


Just remember what my father always said, " Half the people in this world are below average!", and everything in life will make a hellova lot more sense.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Default Cross slide vise for mortiser

I cut them on the table saw and finished the inside corner on the band saw. I think this is the best way to keep the two table surfaces parallel to eachother. I tuned my TS fence and TS miter gauge just before making the cuts, to be sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by timbertailor View Post
Thanks for the feedback.

One last question. Cutting the L shaped boards seem to be the most critical.
Did you cut them on the table saw and finish them on the bandsaw or did you do them entirely on the band saw?

I am talking about the top edges. I assume the bottom and back edges were done on the table saw.

Last edited by Michael H; 10-11-2009 at 08:01 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 08:21 AM
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One of those tools that makes a fella want one.

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xplorx4 View Post
One of those tools that makes a fella want one.
You too, eh Jerry?

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