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Post Flood Dilemma: Do I replace my mortiser?

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Forum topic by thiel posted 10-14-2011 03:06 AM 1313 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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thiel

374 posts in 2759 days


10-14-2011 03:06 AM

Gang,

As some of you know, my shop was submerged (8ft deep) in Irene. I was insured, so while it’s been a lot of work to get cleaned up, I’ve had great help. (And really there are worse things in the world than buying all new tools with someone elses money!)

What I’m struggling with is some of the decision making. My shop has always been adequate, but a bit cramped, and with the insurance money I have the opportunity to really pick and choose what I want. So far, I’ve purchased a Sawstop and lots of Festool gear (as I said, there are worse things!) and I’ve been refurbishing some of my larger machines (dust collector, bandsaw, lathe, workbench…)

Here’s my dilemma: do I refurbish/replace my PM 701 mortiser? I am thinking of NOT doing it, instead investing in the largest festool router to plunge mortises. Also, I am getting a new drill press and I’ve decided on the Delta 18-800L which has a six inch quill stroke. I’m thinking that between those two tools, I should be very close to the power/mortise capacity of the PM 701, but I’ll be saving some shop space at the same time and maybe even have better flexibility.

Thoughts?

—David

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency


10 replies so far

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6856 posts in 2267 days


#1 posted 10-14-2011 03:19 AM

I say skip the mortiser. I hardly every use mine anymore. Instead, consider a homemade router mortising machine like the pantarouter on woodgears.ca.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

View thiel's profile

thiel

374 posts in 2759 days


#2 posted 10-14-2011 03:37 AM

Skarp… I was thinking more about plunge depth than power…. I think it plunges more than three inches!

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View Loren's profile

Loren

8314 posts in 3115 days


#3 posted 10-14-2011 03:40 AM

Plunge router mortising is fatiguing and you will burn out the router doing
it in a production setting – even a Festool.

If you just do occasional hobby mortising who cares, but for production
a router just won’t last like a hollow-chisel or horizontal machine.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2465 days


#4 posted 10-14-2011 03:52 AM

It really depends on what kind of work you are doing. Do you do enough mortising to justify a dedicated machine? I would say that a high quality drill press with a mortising attachment is more capable than a benchtop mortiser anyway.

If you are on the fence about it, wait.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3256 posts in 2142 days


#5 posted 10-14-2011 04:30 AM

I think that is good advice From David K. Wait until you see the need for mortises then decide whether you want to lay out the cash and how much you really want to spend. I agree that they are much nicer that a router and do a very nice job. They will outlast a router in many cases.

View thiel's profile

thiel

374 posts in 2759 days


#6 posted 10-14-2011 05:56 AM

I am just a hobbyist. I don’t do all that much mortising so I’m more concerned about capability than durability…

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3115 days


#7 posted 10-14-2011 05:04 PM

thiel, since this is for hobby and you don’t do much mortising – there is really no need for a production mortiser that takes space, and requires maintenance on your part. a good drill press and any decent router can produce mortises once in a while just as good (with jigs and proper setup of course).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5609 posts in 2699 days


#8 posted 10-14-2011 05:13 PM

Drill press mortising is a PAINFUL process. Even my cheapo HF mortiser is light years better than using a drill press for that task… Never done mortises with a router though. You’d either have to square up the mortises by hand, or round off the ends of all your tenons. Either process is time consuming compared to just cutting your mortises square with a dedicated mortiser. I guess if you don’t mind the set up time, and space is that much of an issue for you, just go with a drill press mortising attachment…

General Tool I believe has a new M&T router jig that is rumored to be a real winner. Might be worth checking out…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1546 posts in 3228 days


#9 posted 10-14-2011 05:25 PM

David:

Here’s a totally different thought. Since it appears that you are a “hobbiest” rather than a production woodworker, give some serious thought to embracing more of the traditional hand tool woodworking.

At the recent WIA conference I saw just how fast and accurate mortises and tennons can be cut with the proper hand tools on a good work bench, and a good work bench should definitely be on your list.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View ChuckC's profile

ChuckC

821 posts in 2402 days


#10 posted 10-14-2011 05:40 PM

How about a smaller bench-top mortiser? You can stick it on a shelf when it’s not needed.

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