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Delta Mortiser on CL or Shop Fox

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Forum topic by fiddlebanshee posted 07-28-2015 01:48 PM 761 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2410 days


07-28-2015 01:48 PM

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/tls/5113496782.html

I’m pondering if I should make a move on this? He’s kinda close to me, and I have asked if I can come on Friday with a piece of wood and try it out. Is there anything specific that I should watch for? Is there anything missing from it, as far as you all can see from the picture? Is the price reasonable? They sell for about $340 at various online outlets, so I figured if this works it might be a good deal.

So since I posted this I found this for $100. 3/4 hp. Wonder if this is a better deal than the delta? Only thing I think is missing from this one is the lever, but that would be relatively easy to fix, I think.

http://frederick.craigslist.org/tls/5087556834.html

Thanks in advance.

-- As if I needed another hobby!


23 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1834 days


#1 posted 07-28-2015 02:53 PM

Price seems fair given the apparent condition, you can always offer less and see if he’ll budge. I have the older model, from the 90’s I believe, and I traded some lumber for it, but the guy had it listed at $80. Was missing 2 bits, and the chuck key.

The 14-651 for $340 should come with 4 chisels/bits, the chuck key, the tool holder (on the back) and the riser block. If this machine is missing any of those, time to negotiate. Replacement bits can be pricey, with Lee Valley wanting around $50 per chisel/bit (there are cheaper and more expensive options). Additionally, I don’t know what chuck key the 14-651 uses, but with the 14-650, the OEM chuck key was a weird size and was no longer available for replacement (I had to grind down a Jacobs chuck key). Someone else can chime in, but if its missing, I’d negotiate in the cost of ordering an OEM replacement, it is around $25 shipped. The riser block is around $40. I’ve not done anything yet that required the riser.

If it’s missing anything, he may argue that $150 is a great price for an almost new machine. Well, say it’s missing two chisels, now you’re $250 into it. That’s not a good deal, in my opinion. But, if he went down to $100, even $125, I’d take it, because I probably wouldn’t order those chisels until time came that I needed that particular size.

As for things to check on the machine :
- Check to make sure the fence knob loosens/tightens and the fence can be adjusted
- Check to make sure the hold down can be moved and secured
- Check that the depth stop can be adjusted
- Check the movement of the lever, and that the motor/chuck assembly moves through the entire range of motion smoothly
- Pop the access cover to the chuck open, and give it a quick visual inspection, its a pretty straightforward machine, and hard to mess up, but might as well check.
- Run the machine and make a mortise. Be sure to set the bit depth correctly (just a tad below the chisel). Make sure there’s no odd motor noises.

Long story short, if all the parts are there, and it appears to work, and it looks like its in great condition, I think the price is fair.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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Julian

1037 posts in 2155 days


#2 posted 07-28-2015 02:59 PM

I have the same mortise except mine is painted grey; perhaps an older model. I also found it on Craigslist and paid $100. Mine had some rust on the table and chisels/bits. $150 sounds reasonable to me if complete and clean. I rarely use my mortiser. I often use my router with a mortising jig.

-- Julian

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2410 days


#3 posted 07-28-2015 03:05 PM

Why do you not use your mortiser? Does it not give you accurate mortises, or is it more complicated than the router setup? I’ve had less than stellar results with the router, and my drill press is a bit underpowered to do this on a larger project (like furniture with a lot of mortises). So that’s why I am looking at this, and I’d be interested in your experiences.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1834 days


#4 posted 07-28-2015 03:28 PM

The Shop Fox looks like the lever has been removed, but it is there, it is the black rod you see near the bottom left, and the handle portion is visible behind the switch housing. I don’t however, see the hold down on the Shop Fox.

Having no experience with the Shop Fox, here a link to the Wood Magazine review, which have both mortisers.

Just a quick search shows many available replacement parts for the Delta. I’m not seeing so many, well, any, for the Shop Fox. I’m sure you could probably get them, but it might be more work. I’d probably go with the Delta, it looks to be in much better shape, and if they both have the chisels they came with, it’ll have 3 more than the Shop Fox, which only comes with 1/2”.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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rwe2156

2198 posts in 945 days


#5 posted 07-28-2015 03:30 PM

BingEd brings up good points re: lost or missing parts.
I saw a post somewhere the guy couldn’t find a check key for some model of Delta mortiser.

Hard to advise depends on what you’re doing.
I just can’t convince myself that 1/2HP is enough but that’s what they all come with.

I have a 1HP PM floormodel and mortices over 3/8” and 2” deep I can say you will be glad you have the 3/4.

If he has all the parts, I would go with the Shopfox for the little extra power.
I don’t think the machines are that different, but you can check the reviews.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2410 days


#6 posted 07-28-2015 03:37 PM

BinghamtonED: Thanks for both detailed answers! Much appreciated. I still don’t see the lever, but I called WoodTech (which makes the Shop Fox) and they said that all parts are available through Grizzly. I had the same sense that it might be difficult to get replacements for the Fox, but apparently not so. The lever assembly is about $20 with all components.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2410 days


#7 posted 07-28-2015 03:38 PM

Rwe: Yes, I’m tempted by the Shop Fox because of the extra power. It also has a swivel base that lets you mortise longer pieces. Not sure if the Delta has that feature.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1834 days


#8 posted 07-28-2015 03:48 PM


I saw a post somewhere the guy couldn t find a check key for some model of Delta mortiser.
- rwe2156

Yeah, that was me :) Found a Jacobs chuck key with the right size, wrong pilot, and ground the pilot down. My model is the predecessor, the 14-650, and the chuck key is obsolete. The 14-651 doesn’t list many obsolete parts, and the ones that are listed as obsolete, are either not items that you would break (or if you did, you probably broke the rest of the mortiser), or items that can be readily found at home improvement stores.


BinghamtonED: I still don t see the lever, but I called WoodTech (which makes the Shop Fox) and they said that all parts are available through Grizzly.
- fiddlebanshee

It’s there (green circles). I’d be more concerned about the apparently missing hold-down (red circle).


Rwe: Yes, I m tempted by the Shop Fox because of the extra power. It also has a swivel base that lets you mortise longer pieces. Not sure if the Delta has that feature.
- fiddlebanshee

The Delta post can be unbolted from the base, and rotated 180 degrees. This is what people do when they upgrade the mortiser with an X/Y vise. It essentially puts the table behind the mortiser.

As far as power goes, I haven’t run into any limitations with mine, yet. But, I mainly do furniture items like tables, which don’t require huge mortises. I probably wouldn’t try larger than 1/2” chisel with mine, taking it slow. But, just did some 1.5” deep, 3/8” wide mortises in ash, and it plowed through it no problem.

My mortiser looked to be in similar condtion to the shop fox, and it cleaned up great. If all the parts are there, and you don’t mind purchasing chisels, it could serve you very well.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2410 days


#9 posted 07-28-2015 03:57 PM

So I think the guy did away with the shop fox fence and hold down. From what I am reading on reviews the holddown is useless with thinner than 2” pieces because the fence has no cutout and the hold down cannot travel further down than about 2”. So he made a fence and probably uses clamps with his. But I will clarify this. It would be a major let down for me, despite the higher horsepower.

So I’m about 60/40 leaning towards the Delta. The Shop Fox owner has not replied yet to my email but it’s not been very long since I sent it. I have an appt to look at the Delta on Friday. I’ll be sure to take a printout of your post with me to check that everything is there, including the chuck :)

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1834 days


#10 posted 07-28-2015 04:09 PM

It looks like the fence is still there, but the hold down is gone. My model of the delta (14-650) had a similar issue, with the hold down being limited by the fence. When I have to mortise a smaller piece, I just put a piece of scrap under it, to raise it up to where the hold down can work. Not a big problem. Also, the hold down, at least on the Delta, can be flipped over to give you a little extra height when mortising taller pieces.

IMO, though, using clamps to hold the piece down is going to slow down productivity and be a PITA. You can, however, make a new table with adjustable hold-downs. Do a search, people put T-Track on the back fence which allows you to add them. But, I’d probably just go with the Delta, as it appears to be ready to go as-is.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4858 posts in 2278 days


#11 posted 07-28-2015 04:30 PM

I have the Delta and a floor standing Jet mortiser. I think the Delta is a serviceable unit, and it sure made a lot of mortises for me before I upgraded. It will cut accurate mortises, but your hand is the only thing holding the workpiece to the fence. The force of the mortising bit wants to push the workpiece away from the fence, and there is nothing to resist this force. This is how most entry-level mortisers are built.

One notch up from these models is the Powermatic benchtop unit, which has roller wheels to keep the workpiece against the fence. There are several brands that have incorporated this feature with varying success. Examples include the Steel City (Wood River) and one of the Rikon models.

When you are ready for larger projects or use a mortiser more frequently, consider a full floor standing model. They have a x-y table that easily positions the workpiece relative to the chisel. A large powerful vise holds the board in position until the mortise is complete. My Jet clamp has a quick-release vise that sure is a hand saver.

Even a basic benchtop unit is much easier than a mallet and chisel.
Good luck with whatever you decide on.

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

View Julian's profile

Julian

1037 posts in 2155 days


#12 posted 07-29-2015 02:28 PM

Why do you not use your mortiser? Does it not give you accurate mortises, or is it more complicated than the router setup? I get cleaner mortise holes with my router set up. And I found it easier when making mortises in large pieces. Just my preference.

-- Julian

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2410 days


#13 posted 07-29-2015 02:40 PM

Julian: k thanks for letting me know. It’s always interesting to me to learn other peoples preferences and compare them to my own practices to see if I could improve mine.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1490 days


#14 posted 07-29-2015 11:37 PM

Bench top mortisers are limited to 1/2” chisels, I believe, so I don’t see why 1/2 h.p. wouldn’t be enough. For one thing, you’re driving the chisel into the wood quite slowly (the chisels don’t cut fast, and require a lot of pressure to cut). The auger is there only to bore out the center and remove the chips cut by the chisel.

I have the Delta (they have 2 models, and I’m not sure which one you have in your photo). I never found horsepower to be lacking. I did make an X-Y table for mine that works very well, and speeds up the procedure considerably, especially for multiple mortises.

Mine also has the rack and pinion fence adjustment, but you lose that feature when you have the riser block in place. So I also modified the riser block to enable the rack and pinion to still work.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2410 days


#15 posted 07-30-2015 12:17 AM

Thanks Runswithscissors for your reply. I never heard back from the shop fox owner so I gather it is going to be the Delta. Good to know that the 1/2 HP is sufficient power. It’s the bench model 14-651. I’m going to look at it on Saturday. Did you make the x-y table from Shopnotes #100 from July 2008? I was just looking at that this afternoon.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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