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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 12-23-2009 03:23 AM 2438 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13345 posts in 3870 days

12-23-2009 03:23 AM

My mom wonts two morris chair, but thats a lot of mortises and tenons so think I might need to get a a benchtop mortiser, I am looking at the Powermatic or the Steel City model. I will cut the tenons on my Unisaw with my tenoning jig. I try to set up my Hitachi Benchtop Drill Press with a mortiseing kit but the drill press is to little to do any of the mortises. I am trying to make this project as easy I can, I dont know what I got my self into :)

24 replies so far

View lew's profile


12424 posts in 3953 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 04:38 AM

Remember the unwritten law of woodworking, CJ. “Every new project requires the purchase of, at least, one new tool”!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View jack1's profile


2117 posts in 4224 days

#2 posted 12-23-2009 05:21 AM

Check out the Delta. Look for used, that’s what I did, they are out there. You can build your own stand if it doesn’t come with one.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View skidiot's profile


85 posts in 3842 days

#3 posted 12-23-2009 05:26 AM

I make mostly Arts & Crafts style furniture for myself. I got a Jet mortiser from a guy on Craigslist. It was hardly used and I couldnt be happier. Make mortise and tenon joints a joy to work with.

-- skidiot northern illinois

View patron's profile


13640 posts in 3538 days

#4 posted 12-23-2009 05:59 AM

definitely time to upgrade !

and for momma ,
nothing but the best .

happy holidays charles .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Huckleberry's profile


218 posts in 4050 days

#5 posted 12-23-2009 06:17 AM

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to mortise machines. This is what I do when it comes time for the tool purchase of that sort.

1. How often I am going to do that type of joint work? If it is only a few times I will then look for a less expensive option. The bead lock from Rockler at around $80 may require some fine tuning but can be worth its weight in gold. Well then there is the more expensive and more versatile option and that is the domino. From a production stand point this tool far surpasses any bench top mortiser. From an economical stand does it justify its cost to you?

All mortise machines are the same and to the same thing but offer very little flexibility as does the other tools. It essentially comes down to a personal preference and do you have the room for a one job horse to set there and take up space?

Good luck on that venture and let us know what you get.

-- I cut it twice and the damn thing is still too short!@#$%

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3870 days

#6 posted 12-23-2009 06:19 AM

I will use mostly use mortisers in my Art of Crafts peices, or when ever I need to cut mortisers.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3678 days

#7 posted 12-23-2009 06:22 AM

All I can add is that if you ever think you might use angled mortises there are mortise machines that tilt to give you the angle. I dont think Powermatic’s benchtop does, but General makes a nice machine that tilts…I am not a chair maker, so just thought maybe it would be handy for that. Keep us posted on what you come up with.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3486 days

#8 posted 12-23-2009 06:30 AM

the only thing i would add is use a router and round the tenons with a file or rasp i think that would be easy cuz if u mess up it’s hidden anyway just as long as u get the good glue strenth and the wood to wood contact of flat shoulders u know. i figure if u get a morticer are u gonna make alot of things with it right now or even in the near future? save the dough and buy something better like a bigger drill press there about the same price too mabee a little more change but not to much.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3744 days

#9 posted 12-23-2009 07:02 AM

We do woodworking to keep us warm at night, so tools take a high priority in our lives. I have found CL the very best deals all of the time. Recently seen a newer model Unisaw with 52” Biesmeyer fence for $600 and just today I found a small 1 1/2 hp older model shaper for $200, I could go on and on. I see bench mortisers a lot on CL. We never use such a machine so we don’t have one. If it is just a hobby for you, I certainly would look to get it for not more then 50% retail cost off of CL, this way you will not be out much money for something you may not use much.

-- .

View degoose's profile


7243 posts in 3552 days

#10 posted 12-23-2009 03:06 PM

Use a router to cut the mortises…Top of the range is the Leigh FMT… I have one ,.. but yet to use it…because I wanted one… Other wise just use the router with a fence… and held in the bench vise…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3396 days

#11 posted 12-23-2009 03:27 PM

I built a boot rack, needed a lot of mortises for that, My first impulse was to buy a small drill press and the mortise attatchment, then it occured to me I really should just get the dedicated mortiser, cause that was what I needed, later I got the drill press. Both are Craftsman, I know… Craftsman. But the mortiser and the drill press are good, and have held up at least 3 years now, with no sign of fading, setup is a lot easier. The decision to get the mortiser was probably my first good decision regarding tool that I made,

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View Woodwrecker's profile


4200 posts in 3773 days

#12 posted 12-23-2009 04:35 PM

Get what you need to make Mom happy.
That in itself justifies the price.
And getting more toys…uh, I mean tools is icing on the cake!

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3864 days

#13 posted 12-23-2009 04:43 PM

I have almost completely abandoned using traditional M&T joinery, unless its a design point like a thru joint or something. In my opinion, floating tenons are superior for many reasons. All pieces are cut to finished length, no need to worry about trimming cheeks or cutting tenons too thin. I have a nice mortiser, and it rarely gets used, mainly just for decorative square plugs. Do what your comfortable with. On a side note, I would look at using elastic webbing for the seat, makes for a far more comfortable sit. Makes sure to post pics and good luck.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3870 days

#14 posted 12-23-2009 04:49 PM

Thanks guys for the help.

View j_olsen's profile


155 posts in 3369 days

#15 posted 12-23-2009 05:11 PM

I got lucky and fell into a Jet morticer fo $50 at a garage sale i found on Craigslist and got the tenon jig thrown in for free!!

-- Jeff - Bell Buckle, TN

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