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Mortising jig on a drill press or dedicated mortising machine?

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Forum topic by scott_v posted 1734 days ago 6157 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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scott_v

13 posts in 1735 days


1734 days ago

I plan to build Shaker and Mission style cabinets and furniture. Should I invest in a dedicated mortising machine, or can I get away with using a mortising jig on a drill press? I have limited shop space and am hoping I can make quality mortises using the DP. Also I’d appreciate some brand/model recommendations.

Thanks!

Scott Vroom


6 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3647 posts in 2259 days


#1 posted 1734 days ago

I would go for a dedicated hollow-chiself mortiser.

I confronted the same issues a few years ago when I decided to build a Morris Chair, coffee and end tables, and TV cabinet. I talked to some of the guys who gather for woodworking seminars on winter mornings at a local machine shop, did a lot of reading, and came to the conclusion a dedicated mortiser would be a better way to go.

The problem most guys had with the drill press attachments is they kept coming loose, which makes neat, repeatable mortises a little tough to get. It is also hard to get enough leverage with most attachments to plunge into hardwoods.

I wound up with a Jet JBM5 (bought it on sale at Menards 3+ years ago for under $200). I outfitted it with a wider table (from Rockler), and mounted it on a plywood base with a cleat across the front so I can keep it stabilized on my bench with only one clamp.

The Jet is not perfect, but it compares favorably with machines from Delta, ShopFox, etc. with one notable exception: the fence can be a pain to set. The fence is attached to a steel hex rod that is held in place by a thumb screw. There is no rack & pinion fence adjustment (like the one on Delta’s mortiser), so getting the workpiece centered on the table is more trial & error than I am comfortable with.

I have figured out how to install and align the chisels to get the results I want.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2173 days


#2 posted 1734 days ago

Hey Scott
No contest a dedicated hollow-chiself mortiser is quick and easy the only thing I like better is my Multi Router.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View papadan's profile

papadan

1111 posts in 1964 days


#3 posted 1734 days ago

I have a Delta Mortising attachment that didn’t work worth a darn on my old benchtop Ryobi drill press. After getting my Delta full size drill press it works very well.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

405 posts in 1960 days


#4 posted 1733 days ago

Dedicated mortiser is my first choice. A router and sharp chisels is my second. Drill press mortising is a far distant 3rd. If you plan on Mission furniture, you will appreciate the speed associated and accuracy with the dedicated machine.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2470 days


#5 posted 1733 days ago

You can get by with a drill press attachment. But it’s no contest: the dedicated machine does the job better.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1140 posts in 2587 days


#6 posted 1733 days ago

Have you looked at the Mortise Pal? http://www.mortisepal.com/ I like mine so much that my dedicated mortiser is gathering dust.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

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