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Recommend a dedicated mortiser?

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Forum topic by Bertha posted 03-10-2011 06:42 PM 6503 views 0 times favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


03-10-2011 06:42 PM

I’m in the market for a dedicated mortiser. I would appreciate any input regarding the following:

1) Does anyone have a particular square chisel mortiser that they like/ hate?
2) Having quality heavy plunge routers, should I make a jig instead?
3) Is there any argument for the expense of a Leigh, etc.?
4) Should I build a horizontal system instead?
5) I don’t like the idea of the Domino, etc. (please forgive me); should I reconsider?

Any comments greatly appreciated. I’ve been hand-chopping mortises for a few days now & my old benchtop mortiser is out of commission. I like the idea of a dedicated station that sits in a corner of the shop, all the willing to cut square holes in stuff. I really like the Powermatic but it’s a bit pricey (go figure).

Looking at:

1) the JET 1/2HP at $300
http://www.amazon.com/Jet-708580-JBM-5-Horsepower-Mortiser/dp/B0000223M4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299774703&sr=8-1

2) the Delta 1/2 HP at $275
http://www.amazon.com/DELTA-14-651-Professional-Mortising-Machine/dp/B00006K00N/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1299774703&sr=8-2

3) the ShopFox 3/4 HP at $240
http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Fox-W1671-Heavy-duty-Mortising/dp/B000J0UTL6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1299774703&sr=8-3

4) the Powermatic 3/4 HP at $440
http://www.amazon.com/Powermatic-1791310-PM701-Horsepower-Mortiser/dp/B000BX1JQU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1299774703&sr=8-4

5) the Grizzly 1/2 HP at $225
http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-G0645-Bench-Top-Mortising-Machine/dp/B0017IDWNQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1299774703&sr=8-5

6) the Laguna 1hp (and 300 pounds, LOL) at $775
http://www.amazon.com/Laguna-Tools-Hollow-Chisel-Mortiser/dp/B002UU5WSS

7) the Steel City at $320
http://www.amazon.com/Steel-City-25200-Bench-Mortiser/dp/B002KA0HJW

8) the General at $500
http://www.amazon.com/General-International-Hollow-Chisel-Mortiser/dp/B003FWIT3U/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hi_3

9) the Powermatic with tillter for $1150
http://www.amazon.com/Powermatic-1791264K-Model-Table-Mortiser/dp/B00064NGTW/ref=sr_1_9?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1299775182&sr=1-9

10) or heck, the Laguna multifunction at >$5000 (big lol)
http://www.amazon.com/Laguna-Tools-Function-Combo-Machine/dp/B002WVNHM8/ref=sr_1_78?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1299775280&sr=1-78

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog


54 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3123 days


#1 posted 03-10-2011 06:58 PM

I have the Jet JBM-5 (http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/1099 ) ... I have done a ton of mortises with it using the Jet brand chisels. No complaints whatsoever.

I have used the Powermatic, and it is a terrific machine, but for my budget and needs the Jet was the way to go. I do like the table and vises on the Powermatic.

—Gerry

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

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#2 posted 03-10-2011 07:02 PM

Thanks Gerry, I particularly like the tilt table Powermatic but like you said, $1000 buys a lot of mortise chisels. I already had the JET & the ShopFox in my Amazon basket & the JET’s looking like my guy. I’ve got some other JET machines that I’ve been quite happy with. Thanks!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3123 days


#3 posted 03-10-2011 07:06 PM

Rockler sells a replacement table for the Jet that is pretty nice … longer work area, auxiliary fence, and T-track rollers to hold stock against the fence ( http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/1100 ).

—Gerry

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

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#4 posted 03-10-2011 07:08 PM

Greetings Al, It’s kinda hard to recommend a tool to someone else, cause your taste may not be my taste in tools.

It also depends on how much you want to spend on a tool…expensive doesn’t necessarly mean the best.

Example: I have a Delta bench top model that I bought about 12-13 years ago. It’s the old style 14-650 Type II.

If it were me, and I was after a bench top model, I’d probably narrow it down to 3: Delta, Powermatic, or Jet. If your after a production model, then I can’t recommend one. I do build furniture, but the bench top is all I ever need…. I’d say in the $300-400 range should do it…..just my $.10 worth.


Edit> I put the Rockler replacement table on mine a while back….I like it….

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4541 posts in 2534 days


#5 posted 03-10-2011 07:08 PM

I also have the Jet and I consider it a perfectly adequate machine. However, I’ve developed a preference for routing my mortises and using loose tenons. For me, it is faster and easier. I use the Mortise Pal jig.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View teejk's profile

teejk

1215 posts in 2144 days


#6 posted 03-10-2011 07:11 PM

I have had the Delta for several years and use it a lot. From what I know, those in the $200-300 range are all about the same and as far as I can tell come from the same asian factory. mine came with a 4 chisel set (not the best quality but still working!)

it doesn’t cut a “laser” mortise but for $250 I didn’t expect it would. It’s close enough. I tend to oversize the tenons anyway and do fine-tuning with a sander or file to get a good fit. Where the fit is a bit sloppy, I find that modern glues do a pretty good job covering for me. You need some room to avoid glue-starving the joint anyway.

I like the fact that the machine has a relatively small footprint and I’m not fussing with a drill press attachment or routers/jigs. Mine just sits there and in a minute or so I can move a piece from the saw and be done with the mortise.

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#7 posted 03-10-2011 07:14 PM

Thanks all. I didn’t have any success finding Rocker’s mortise table but I did find the enclosed base version of the JET for around $1000.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=19787&filter=mortise%20table

To Rick, my needs are strictly modest & certainly no production work shall occur. I could probably get by with 1/4” & 1/2” chisels only, as that’s the size of hand mortise chisel I reach for most often.

To Rich, thank you; I think the JET is where I’ll go. I admire the floating tenons & really have no objection to the price of the Domino, given the quality. However, being a handtool guy, I tend to prefer the principle of the fixed tenon. I don’t really have a better excuse for my trepidation.

Do either of you fine gentleman have any experience with a horizontal mortiser? I like the idea but I recently dropped a ton on a new router table, PLUS, the footprint looks pretty large. Thanks again!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#8 posted 03-10-2011 07:14 PM

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#9 posted 03-10-2011 07:17 PM

Teejk, I too admire the dedication and small footprint. I tend to like tools that I can dial in & leave be. I also like to cut my tenons a hair fat & hit them with the shoulder plane. In a piece with 20 mortise/tenon joints, I’ll probably end up with 4 that are piston fit, cutting them by hand. With that lousy track record, I think any reasonable machine with a decent hollow chisel might improve my game. I don’t fret too much about slop in my joints, as long as the piece is square & without annoying gaps. Somthing else will fail before Tightbond III and a 1/16 inch joint gap. That’s my hope, at least! :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#10 posted 03-10-2011 07:18 PM

Rick’s in for the Delta. Is that the 3rd party Rocker table or a home brew?

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#11 posted 03-10-2011 07:19 PM

For the $300 pricetag, the ShopFox has a bit mor umph & it’s relatively highly rated (on Amazon, at least; for what that’s worth). I’m an admirer of ShopFox saws.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Don's profile

Don

514 posts in 2533 days


#12 posted 03-10-2011 07:22 PM

I’ve got the Grizzly Mortiser and it’s a really great machine. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the floor machines but it’’s a really wellbuiltmachine for the price.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#13 posted 03-10-2011 07:23 PM

Al,

Souds like a good choice on the Jet….you’d be hard-pressed to go wrong with it…..

I’m surprized you didn’t find the Rockler table in the magazine….I saw one not long ago..How about the master catalog?

No…..I’ve no experience with the horizontal mortiser…maybe someone will chime is that does, though…

I think it’s just a matter of picking your poison as to which one you want….

Al, that’s the Rockler table…..I think I gave around $40.00 for it….. keep looking ….lol.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#14 posted 03-10-2011 07:36 PM

Thanks Cessna, oddly enough, my local used scene in West Virginia is the pits. I’ll see a Craftsman or Ryobi table saw every few weeks & nothing much in between. I’d certainly have no objection to a used Powermatic! Of course, the floorstanding Laguna or Powermatic would be my first choice but kind of hard to justify when I don’t even currently own a bandsaw!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View wilterbeast's profile

wilterbeast

44 posts in 2109 days


#15 posted 03-10-2011 07:50 PM

I have the powermatic bench top and love it ( although i have to admit its the first one i own and only used one other that was a delta benchtop) for what its worth though the things i like about it is the way the fence adjust with a turn of a knob and the rollers used to hold the pieces against the fence, the unit as a whole is very smooth to run and has plenty of power for what i use it for. Also i think amazon is alittle high on that price, think mine was alittle cheaper.

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