Drill Press Mortising Attachment

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Forum topic by doncutlip posted 09-18-2011 02:19 AM 4422 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2832 posts in 3392 days

09-18-2011 02:19 AM

I just bought a 3/4 hp tall drill press from Grizzly. I was thinking about getting their mortising attachment for it. Anyone have experience with drill press mortising attachments, how well do they work and how do they compare to dedicated mortisers?

-- Don, Royersford, PA

20 replies so far

View OhhCrap's profile


33 posts in 2706 days

#1 posted 09-18-2011 02:50 AM

I have an ancient Delta/Milwaukee drill press with a Mortise attachment, gift from old friend. (Similar to Works just fine.

BUT the initial setup took some effort to get everything (Chisel holder, drill chuck and drill) in alignment just so. (And if you don’t you can wind up burning a drill)

As I already had a drill press, I keep this dedicated to making square holes. My only advise would be, make sure the chisel sets you buy can be used with dedicated machine you might buy later. Also bear in mind the golden rule when buying chisles YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!

-- Quality: There is hardly anything in the world that some men cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price are this man’s lawful prey.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5589 posts in 3030 days

#2 posted 09-18-2011 05:43 AM

I bought a Delta Mortising attachment years ago for my drill press….I used it till I finally learned better….It’s a bastard to set up…..Takes too much time to adjust, plus it ties up your d.p. so you can’t use if it need be..You’ll have to tear it down everytime when you want to use the d.p. I put it in the box, and bought a Delta Mortiser, dedicated to that one task only. My d.p. is always ready to go now. I would not recommend buying one for the d.p. They are a pain in the ar%&^#@ to use. If you can get a bench mortiser, I would say get it…..and stay clear of the d.p. attachment…...

-- My grandpa used to say: "Y'all come back when you can....come after dinner, and leave before supper.."

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3392 days

#3 posted 09-19-2011 02:00 AM

Well, one good, one bad, the score is tied.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2672 days

#4 posted 09-19-2011 02:13 AM

I bought one for my drill press, I think my first question on LJ was about using one and I also got mixed reviews. The set up was time consuming, the fence attachment for the table was lame, and there just wasn’t a lot of leverage on the handle. After trying to cut two holes in soft wood I put it all back in the box. A small benchtop mortiser is way better then a drill press attachment in my opinion.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View RTim's profile


60 posts in 2528 days

#5 posted 09-19-2011 02:20 AM

It depends on how often you’re going to make mortises. I have an aged Delta floor model drill press and an AMT brand mortise attachment for it (extra points if you remember AMT). It is a PITA to set up, but once set it cuts fairly nice mortises. I just plan my work so that all my mortises get cut so I can switch the drill press back. I don’t often make pieces using mortise and tenon joinery though. If you are going to be making mortises frequently then you would probably be happier with a dedicated machine.

Just my 2¢

-- Tim from MA -- "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franlin

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2398 days

#6 posted 09-19-2011 02:26 AM

I have one for my Delta DP. I like well enough and use it enough to want t but not enough to justify buying a dedicated mortiser just yet. The only difficult part I’ve found with set up is setting up the fence square with the mortise chisel…most of the time I can set the piece up square by hand and don’t bother with the fence.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2759 days

#7 posted 09-19-2011 02:55 AM

I have one for my Ridgid D/P and it works okay, just slow. I recently bought a HF mortiser and it works just fine. M and T are not something I do every day. If I did I would invest in a better quality dedicated mortiser.

-- Life is good.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2887 days

#8 posted 09-19-2011 06:08 AM

I have the Gristly mortiser in the plastic case with 4 bits, holddowns, and such to fit every drill press known to man. It cost $49.95 + shipping 4 years ago, don’t know about now. I have used the bodiddley out of it, and am getting ready to use it again on an Eastwood chair. It works fine on my 3/4 horse bench type drill press. I’d never used one before, so I read the instructions and set it up. The holddown is like most mortisers; it doesn’t work. Toggle clamps on the table do. I bought a pair of diamond sharpening cones from Lee Valley for the hollow chisels, and I use a small file (an old ignition point file—am I dating myself?) to touch up the drills. For the money spent, it was a really good deal. If you look at the chest I built, and try to imagine how many mortises are in it, you’ll get an idea how well it works. Did them all in one day. Took another to clean up the dp area.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4802 posts in 3796 days

#9 posted 09-19-2011 09:15 PM

Wanna buy my DP mortiser set up?


View rance's profile


4255 posts in 2996 days

#10 posted 09-19-2011 09:41 PM

As little as I do mortises, I’d still go for the dedicated machine.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2910 days

#11 posted 09-20-2011 12:23 AM

There are lots of ways to cut mortises and i have done most of them. I have used a mortising attachment on a drill press and I own and have used a dedicated mortising machine. I’m not a big fan of either.

My preferred way to cut a mortise is with a plunge router and I am a big fan of the Mortise Pal jig. I say this after a lot of (somewhat expensive) experimentation.

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

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3392 days

#12 posted 09-20-2011 01:41 AM

Thanks for all the replies. The Grizzly DPA costs like $65 now (inflated 50% in 4 years-what is it like medical or college tuition??); just saw Woodcraft has the Delta mortiser with a $50 rebate for $270. I don’t do a lot of mortises either, but when I do I want them right – no room for error on those joints.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3152 days

#13 posted 09-20-2011 03:46 PM

I have the Delta mortiser attachment for my drill press. It’s a pain to set up, but works well once you get it adjusted correctly. I very rarely use it though – it takes longer to get it installed and tweaked than it does to use a router and clean up by hand unless you’re doing a lot of mortises.

In retrospect, I probably should have saved my $$$ for some other little used accessory.


View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2904 days

#14 posted 09-20-2011 06:24 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I bit the bullet and got the Powermatic dedicated mortiser. I had a job to make four tables (16 legs, 32 mortises) and a really tight schedule. This was my first mortiser and – after a bit of practice – made me wonder why I hadn’t gotten one years ago. The mortises took about an hour instead of most of the day. – lol

I’ve never heard anyone rave about a drill press mortiser and after using the dedicated machine, I can’t imagine anything else.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2520 days

#15 posted 09-20-2011 10:23 PM

dedicated is my vote…I’ll echo Rick D above on all counts but will double the echo on tying-up the DP…seems everytime I got mine set-up, I needed the DP for its intended use. and I never thought it cut a nice mortise either. DP table sits high and side support was a problem. On a dedicated machine, the table only sits about 3” from the bench top and easy enough to clamp scraps as support.

I picked up a new Delta “dedicated” with a 4 bit set years ago for under $300. Bits were the cheap ones but they still work.

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