Mortising Machine comparisons

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Forum topic by AZWoody posted 03-29-2016 10:53 PM 445 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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680 posts in 646 days

03-29-2016 10:53 PM

As I’ve been working on redesigning my shop, I pretty much have settled on where I want everything but the one thing I want to change is my mortising machine. I currently have a Shop Fox benchtop and it works fine. It has a 3/4 hp motor and so far has enough power to do what I want but the biggest problem is the table.

I really would like an X-Y table because I believe it would make things much more efficient and accurate.

Looking around, pretty much all the models seem the same. Grizzly, Powermatic, Baileigh, Jet, etc. There are some small differences in the way the tables have stops, etc but I’m drawn to the Baileigh because it actually has hold downs that clamp the wood down.

One person on this site mentioned that the wheels are plastic, which hopefully I could replace with metal but is there anything I’m missing in the other ones, especially the Powermatic that would make it a better choice?
On these, it really seems that this is the case of one factory, different paint jobs with very minor differences. Event the price of the Powermatic is practically the same compared to the others, which is rare for that company.

The Baileigh model I am looking at is the MC-1000TT. Now, for a couple hundred less, I can get the same model but without the tilting table. Would I miss it if I don’t get that? If it does add convenience, I’m not averse to paying extra for it.

Any thoughts?

3 replies so far

View jmos's profile


716 posts in 1792 days

#1 posted 03-29-2016 11:14 PM

I have the Powermatic and the clamp works well even though it only clamps from the side. Looking at the pics of the Baileigh it appears to have a side clamp and top clamps. The Baileigh also has tilt in two direction, where my PM only tilts in one direction. I have yet to use the single tilt, so I don’t know if I’d use the dual, but it’s never bad to have more options.

I upgraded from a bench top Delta and the difference is night and day, so I think you’ll be happy with whichever floor model you go with. I can strongly recommend the PM.

-- John

View JBrow's profile


750 posts in 342 days

#2 posted 03-30-2016 04:04 AM


I echo jmos comments regarding the Powermatic. I have their mortiser and find the hold down clamp works fine. The work piece does not budge when pulling the chisel out of the first cut. However, since I use ¾” stock, my experience is based on a ¼” chisel set.

I was confused by which mortiser you referred to regarding plastic handles. I did run across a reviewer (don’t remember where) who stated Powermatic’s mortiser had plastic adjusting wheels. They do look like they could be plastic, but I found a magnet sticks to the rim of the adjusting wheels. I think they are metal. I found the Powermatic arrived tuned up and ready to cut mortises, although I did adjust the table to square. The head slides firmly and is mounted snuggly to the frame while operating smoothly. I have detected no flex in the head when making pairing cuts with a ¼” chisel set. Both Powermatic and Jet offer 5 year non-commercial warranties.

I doubt that I will every tilt the table since I so dislike resetting the table back to square. The Powermatic tilt mechanism is as simple as it gets. Unlock the table and move the table to the angle with your hand and lock it into place. Not a very good table tile mechanism in my opinion – but does hold its locked position well. If I ever need to cut angled mortises, I will use ramp blocks and only if these will not work will I grudgingly tilt the table.

I cannot speak to the other brands, but I would think a $1000 will buy a decent machine no matter which one you ultimately choose.

View AZWoody's profile


680 posts in 646 days

#3 posted 03-30-2016 04:41 AM

The Beileigh I read had plastic wheels for the X-Y table. That would be kind of disappointing but it seems it has decent features. It’s the one I’m leaning to. I would normally think the Powermatic would be the obvious choice but it’s looking like there’s not much of a real difference amongst the units so price will become a factor in choosing.

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