|Review by Geedubs||posted 12-28-2010 08:55 PM||6063 views||0 times favorited||4 comments|
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause…or at least a facsimile of him. Like many, I used to ogle the mortising machine Norm would use on New Yankee Workshop and say (to myself of course), ‘Yah, right, like I’ll ever have a machine like that!”. Well, thanks to some unexpected events, I recently found myself with a little extra cash and combined that with the sudden passion to own something I thought I would never have. Caveat—-had to be a good deal. So I started investigating brands, reviews, prices, etc., concluding that lower price point would be a critical factor. I then began looking at Craiglist and found that there happened to be quite a few machines available at the time. To meet my critieria, it looked like Delta, Jet and Shop Fox were the most likely culprits. Since service is always a concern for me (I live in a somewhat isolated location on the Oregon Coast), I called the Shop Fox manufacturer (Woodstock) and asked about the availability of service centers. Surprisingly, I was told they had no information on that but they would be glad to send me parts if needed. Not the answer I was looking for. So I honed my search to Jet and Delta since both seemed to get good reviews. My answer came in the form of a Delta 14-651. The guy claimed to have had it for two years and used it for only one project. He had the riser block and all four of the chisels and said it was like new. Well, I discovered that the machine was in good condition but there was considerable surface rust, both on the chisels and machine parts. However, it looked like I could easily clean it up…seemed to work fine…and so I grabbed it for $150. When I got home I took the machine apart, cleaned everything, removed rust, lubed the rack & pinion gearing, and then sanded and waxed/buffed the base. Not too tough. The chisels were another story. It took considerable time cleaning them, sanding and honing. I used Bob Lang’s article in Popular Woodworking as a guide since I had never sharpened hollow mortise chisels before. The last thing I did was put a coat of wax on the outside of the chisels.
I have now tested the machine briefly. It runs smoothly, quietly and seems to do a good job of mortising, including in some beech that I experimented with. Patience is a virtue, I think, when mortising and I am still working on learning the best feed rate. I am thrilled to be able to unload my drill press mortising attachment (an add on Craiglist forthcoming to some deserving buyer) and now have the luxury of a dedicated mortiser. My first project will be the build a rolling stand for it with flexible storage options. Time and use will tell more but at this point I am very pleased with the Delta 14-651. I gave it four stars because the quality of the chisels appears to be a little below par and due to the limited amount of testing I have been able to give it so far. What I do appreciate is that a good service center is available within a reasonable distance if needed.
-- Todos los dias aprendemos algo nuevo.