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Mortising jig on a drill press or dedicated mortising machine?

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Forum topic by scott_v posted 10-22-2009 05:29 PM 6387 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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scott_v

13 posts in 1829 days


10-22-2009 05:29 PM

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

3865 posts in 2353 days


#1 posted 10-22-2009 05:47 PM

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

112334 posts in 2267 days


#2 posted 10-22-2009 08:55 PM

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

1156 posts in 2058 days


#3 posted 10-22-2009 09:03 PM

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

442 posts in 2054 days


#4 posted 10-23-2009 02:45 PM

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 2565 days


#5 posted 10-23-2009 03:35 PM

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 2681 days


#6 posted 10-23-2009 06:53 PM

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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