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Jet / Powermatic X-Y Mortiser

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Review by pintodeluxe posted 01-14-2015 08:29 PM 6951 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Jet / Powermatic X-Y Mortiser Jet / Powermatic X-Y Mortiser Jet / Powermatic X-Y Mortiser Click the pictures to enlarge them

I started with a Delta benchtop mortiser, and found the need to upgrade to a bigger machine. The Jet JFM-5 is basically the same as the Powermatic 719-A. The longer handle and the 1 hp motor make this machine easier to use than benchtop mortisers. I realized that most benchtop units don’t hold the workpiece very well, and require you to use your hand like a clamp to hold the workpiece in place. The Jet solves that problem with a sturdy face clamp.
CLAMP
The clamp keeps the workpiece square to the fence, and prevents it from lifting up as you retract the chisel. I must say, the clamp works great and prevents the workpiece from moving. The clamp also has a quick release feature, just like a high quality bench vise. No more tedious threading, just slide the vise to the workpiece and clamp it in place.

X-Y TABLE
I initially wondered if an X-Y moving table would introduce more errors into the mortising operation. After I gave this machine a good workout I realized that was not the case. Since the clamp prevents any movement, and the dovetail ways keep the table on track, there is absolutely no slop in the mechanism. Just like a jointer, it has adjustable dovetail ways for both front-to-back and side-to-side movement. I was amazed how easily the table moves side-to-side, yet perfectly accurate as well. The sturdy metal hand wheels are a nice size, and easily move the table as needed.

STOPS FOR REPEATED CUTS
I think what really makes this mortiser easy to use are the stops for repeated cuts. There are stops that control the extent of side-to-side movement. Then there is a workpiece stop that registers the stock in exactly the same position each time. For centered mortises, you can cut all like joints without changing settings. For off-center mortises, I cut half the joints then switch the workpiece stop to the other side of the mortiser. Use the just-cut mortises to reset the workpiece stop, and finish the other half of the job.
Even for tricky cuts like making 3/4” wide through mortises with a 1/2” chisel, it was no problem. I just cut in from both sides, and the cuts met perfectly in the middle.

MOTOR POWER
I gave little credit to the fact that floor mortisers in this class usually have a 1 hp motor. After all, my bench mortiser’s 1/2 hp motor usually kept the bit spinning. This Jet motor just hums along, and seems content to make 1/2” mortises all afternoon. In the end I’m not sure if it’s the extra power, longer handle, or gear ratio… but this floor model takes about half the effort to make large mortises.

BITS
I am using the same Woodcraft bits on both the floor and benchtop machine, and the bits work better in the floor model. They make less noise, perhaps due to less chuck runout, but I didn’t measure it. I thought that extra long Powermatic bits were required, but in fact this machine accepts most any mortising bit. There is a chuck extender included, and you use the extender for standard length bits. Remove the extender if you happen to use long-auger Powermatic bits. I only use the standard length auger bits.
Shank size – there are 5/8” and 3/4” shank sizes commonly available. Use the bushing that matches the size of your chisel shank. The Jet also includes a 1-1/8” bushing.
The bits are secured with a brass screw and flat screwdriver. I will change that screw to a tool-free knob. In fact, the lever that comes with the Powermatic 701 is compatible so I ordered one.

HANDLE
The handle is plenty long for good leverage. The handle angle is adjustable, just pull the handle to the side and rotate it forward or backward as needed. This is a feature I would not be without. Most mortisers are built this way, but some are not.

BASE
The base is heavy and sturdy. It features a shelf for bit storage.

CONS
Pretty much my entire experience with this machine has been positive, but my only suggestions for improvement concern storage. The latch to open the door is located very low. It would be better if the latch were higher and easier to reach. To solve this problem I will add some magnetic tool trays to store accessories in a more convenient location. There is one shelf inside the base, and below the shelf is open to the floor. It would be nice if there was a second shelf, but I can add a plywood shelf pretty easily.

Pretty minor quibbles. I can highly recommend this machine for anyone who makes lots of mortise and tenon joints. Here are some modifications I have made to the machine to make it even more user friendly… http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/46209
Cheers!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush




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pintodeluxe

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12 comments so far

View Fishinbo's profile

Fishinbo

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#1 posted 01-14-2015 09:55 PM

Thanks. Something to consider in the future.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

9454 posts in 1483 days


#2 posted 01-14-2015 10:01 PM

Xy tables and vises are awesome.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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goggy

74 posts in 3413 days


#3 posted 01-15-2015 12:00 AM

Great review and nice features.

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AandCstyle

3052 posts in 2254 days


#4 posted 01-15-2015 01:26 AM

Congratulations on this addition to your tool stable!

-- Art

View Reedo's profile

Reedo

5 posts in 2375 days


#5 posted 01-15-2015 09:50 PM

Thanks for the great review. Just curious why you preferred the Jet over the Powermatic. Did you have a chance to try the Powermatic? The reason I ask is I was learning toward the Powermatic after reading so many rave reviews for that machine.

Jim

-- Thanks, Jim

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5657 posts in 2810 days


#6 posted 01-16-2015 04:05 PM

Hi Jim,
The Jet JFM-5 and the Powermatic 719-A actually share the same castings. They are identical except for the color. There is a tilting head option on the 719-T.
Thanks

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View stevo_wis's profile

stevo_wis

127 posts in 3024 days


#7 posted 01-16-2015 06:37 PM

I have the powermatic equivalent of this mortiser and my clamp doesn’t hold the work very well. It clamps the piece from the front and it seems no matter what I do, the piece always lifts off when the mortiser is pulled back up.
I have racked my brain trying to come up with a way to attach a hold down with very little luck.
Any suggestions?

-- Stevo

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pintodeluxe

5657 posts in 2810 days


#8 posted 01-16-2015 07:59 PM

I think Steve already found this, but for anyone else with the same problem, this is what I recommend…
http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/46209

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View rhett121's profile

rhett121

14 posts in 1309 days


#9 posted 01-21-2015 01:19 AM

I have this same mortiser and I have enjoyed it as well. I used to have a tilting Powermatic but the Jet is a great replacement for about 1/2 the price.

View Reedo's profile

Reedo

5 posts in 2375 days


#10 posted 01-21-2015 12:56 PM

@rhett121 Do you have any regrets about not having the tilting feature of the Powermatic? I don’t have a current need for the tilting feature but I worry if I don’t get it now, I may regret it later. For those of you with HCM’s, what do you think of tilting vs. non-tilting?

Jim

-- Thanks, Jim

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5657 posts in 2810 days


#11 posted 01-21-2015 04:29 PM

Here’s the thing on the tilting head… it is said to be useful for chairmakers. Well I make chairs, and I can tell you it tilts the wrong way! Usually seat rails are set at an angle to the chair, but that would require the mortise to tilt front-to-back, not side-to-side. The only application I have for side-to-side angles is with Morris chair armrests. However laying the angled armrest on the table has problems of its own. It would leave the armrest unsupported in the middle, and that wouldn’t work well. I prefer to use angled blocks to cut any angled mortise I may need. So for me the tilting head wouldn’t have any value.
Actually every review mentions how neat the tilting head is, and that they have never had occasion to use it.
So I guess I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View rhett121's profile

rhett121

14 posts in 1309 days


#12 posted 02-04-2015 10:37 PM



@rhett121 Do you have any regrets about not having the tilting feature of the Powermatic? I don t have a current need for the tilting feature but I worry if I don t get it now, I may regret it later. For those of you with HCM s, what do you think of tilting vs. non-tilting?

Jim

- Reedo

Sorry for the delayed reply. I bought the PowerMatic about 15 years ago and I don’t even know if Jet made one at the time. It was a nice feature for the project I was working on at the time (a small scale timber project) but when I moved across the country I sold it. I bought the Jet about 6-7 years ago because my local Woodcraft had a
sale on them @ $500 and I couldn’t resist. I haven’t missed the tilting feature since, as pintodeluxe pointed out, the one time I wanted it to tilt, I wanted it to tilt front to back and not side to side. It’s a great machine none the less.

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