drill press mortising attachments of your dreams...

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Forum topic by JeffP posted 06-24-2015 09:53 PM 1410 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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573 posts in 1415 days

06-24-2015 09:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Ok, sorry about the title, couldn’t resist.

Anyway, currently it seems like one of the few power tools I haven’t added to my new shop is something to do mortises with.

I have considered going with round-ended mortise/tenons and build one of Matthais jigs.

I have considered digging deep in the piggy bank to buy a mortising machine and just make the tenons on the table saw.

Now I’m thinking that since i have an old bench top drill press sitting around gathering dust…maybe I can put that to use for this purpose.

Woodriver has a mortising attachment for a drill press. On sale for $100 at woodcraft right now. There are no reviews of it there, and very few reviews of similar devices elsewhere on the web.

So, what is the collective wisdom here…other than initial setup hassle (which would be one-time for me), is there a major difference in ease of use or quality of result between this and say a $300 low-end mortising machine?

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

4 replies so far

View bonesbr549's profile


1557 posts in 3090 days

#1 posted 06-25-2015 12:41 AM

Do some searching on the topic and you will find the general consensus is they don’t work. Not enough oomph to do anything with. Generally the posts starts out ”...I bought it with the intention to do mortises, and did not work well so it will go for a great discount.

I’ve done M&T about every way you can think of from slot mortisers (grizzly) that worked fine, I did the Domino that was a floating tenon job that is excellent but very expensive.

I’ve done them with a router and jig, and that worked well to.

I sold the domino and bought the Powermatic 719T and not looked back. It was not cheap but it will last a life time and its great.

I will admit I miss the domino on occasion, and I sold it for just shy of a new one and it almost paid for the full size one.

If budget is the deciding factor, I’d go router and floating tenon.

A small bench top would be nice but has limitations, and finally the big boy, but they aren’t cheap. But you only scream in pain once (buying it).

Good luck.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2994 days

#2 posted 06-25-2015 12:53 AM

I had a small drill press I didn’t like so I got a bigger one.
Then, while I was considering what to do with the old one I stumbled upon a Delta Mortising attachment in Lowes. It had been $100 and was on clearance for $44. I bought it. Took a lot of “creative engineering” and “outside the box” thinking to make it fit. It comes with 4 adapters to clamp onto the spindle of your drill press. 3 of them are smaller than mine and 1 was larger. None of them fit.
I had to make a sleeve to fit over my spindle and inside the larger adapter. It worked. Then the next problem is the work holding clamp was very crappy and hard to adjust. Also, would not stay put if you got it in the correct position. I did away with this and got me a Palmgren X-Y cross slide positioning vise. This cost about $70, but now I clamp my work piece in the vise and crank the hand wheels to position it under the bit. Sweet. I am pretty happy with my setup now. If I would have paid retail for everything I would have $130 in the HF drill press, $100 in the Delta mortising attachment, and $70 in the vise. So about $300 and that’s not counting about 10 hours of my time making it work. BUT, It’s cheaper to buy a real mortising machine in the first place. I am still very happy with my X-Y cross slide vise regardless and would have put that on any machine for this purpose..

View robscastle's profile


5078 posts in 2227 days

#3 posted 07-06-2015 12:16 PM


Do a mortising machine search on the site and read all the posts, there is a multitude of information available regarding Hollow Chisel Mortisers.

-- Regards Rob

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3983 days

#4 posted 07-06-2015 02:14 PM

Tried the mortising unit on my drill press. Gave it away after many attempts to make it work well.
In my not so humble opinion, don’t waste your time and money.


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