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Forum topic by Joel_B posted 11-05-2014 12:46 AM 1583 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joel_B

294 posts in 842 days


11-05-2014 12:46 AM

I was considering a Leight Super FMT but maybe a mortiser and tenon TS jig would be a better option?
This one on Amazon seems likable:

http://www.amazon.com/Rikon-34-250-Mortising-Machine-Bench/dp/B00B4WKW4C/ref=sr_1_1?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1415147002&sr=1-1&keywords=mortiser

Any others in that price range to consider?

This will be for general furniture building, whatever gets the job done quicker and easier as my time is limited.

Thanks

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA


16 replies so far

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2177 posts in 1486 days


#1 posted 11-05-2014 03:10 AM

I think Delta has a model around that price range (I have it, but bought it 6 or 7 years ago). The biggest gripe on most of these is the cheesy hold down for the stock, and the lack of an x-y table. General makes one with a clamp hold down and an x—y table, but of course it costs a lot more.

I made an x-y table for my Delta which has proved to be very satisfactory, but not necessarily a project everyone would want to take on. I wrote it up, with photos, for LJs.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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CharlesA

3019 posts in 1259 days


#2 posted 11-05-2014 03:22 AM

If you compare bench mortisers, you will see that they look like they all came off the same assembly line. There are differences in QA, fit and finish, and some features on the table. I had never tapped a hunk of metal before, and I managed the x-y vise add-on with my used Grizzly. It is a great improvement—highly recommend.

It’s when you break into the second level mortisers that you begin to see real differences—more hp, larger capacity, large x-y vises, tilting tables.

My two cents.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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wseand

2754 posts in 2503 days


#3 posted 11-05-2014 03:24 AM

I just use my Drill Press and a chisel, so much more versatile. It doesn’t take much more time.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

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hoosier0311

702 posts in 1487 days


#4 posted 11-05-2014 03:26 AM

I have a craftsman model, it works OK, but the holdown is weak. has plenty of power for I do with it.I believe it was 150 bucks new,,,,about 7 years ago.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View Loren's profile

Loren

8295 posts in 3109 days


#5 posted 11-05-2014 03:57 AM

Do you absolutely require standard mortise and tenon
for the style of work you wish to do?

Loose tenon is easier to master well enough and
perfectly strong enough for most applications.

I only use mortise and tenon where I am making
delicate chairs. If you want to use it in order
to be a traditionalist, that’s fine, but it is certainly
more time consuming to do it well compared
to using a slot mortiser/jig and loose tenons.

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RobS888

1984 posts in 1306 days


#6 posted 11-05-2014 04:23 AM

I bought this baileigh last summer for $400 and it works ok. Pretty quick work. Changing the handle to slide the table is a pain.
http://wood.baileighindustrial.com/bench-top-mortiser-mc-625

But today I think I would go for the Rikon version for $350 with the wheel and easier looking handle.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/861204/rikon-mortiser-with-dual-axis-table-.aspx

I have a drill press attachment and this is much faster. I could finish a mortise requiring 6 plunges of a 3/8 bit in less time than 2 plunges on the drill press attachment and probably a regular mortiser as well. $350 isn’t bad for the Rikon.

If you have a 2 inch by 3/8 mortise, you plunge at the end, then rotate to the other end and plunge there, then every other 3/8 gap. Line up once, then clamp once then plunge away. The only two things I don’t like is there are no work alignments other than the edge of the table. I’m not good enough to do it by eye. And the Y-axis (front to back) is painfully slow to adjust.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View Joel_B's profile

Joel_B

294 posts in 842 days


#7 posted 11-05-2014 04:35 AM


Do you absolutely require standard mortise and tenon
for the style of work you wish to do?

Loose tenon is easier to master well enough and
perfectly strong enough for most applications.

I only use mortise and tenon where I am making
delicate chairs. If you want to use it in order
to be a traditionalist, that s fine, but it is certainly
more time consuming to do it well compared
to using a slot mortiser/jig and loose tenons.

I do have a benchtop drill press that I might be able to use but have to check if a mortise bit will fit.
But then I would a table for it.

- Loren

Are you referring to something like the Mortise Pal jig? I was considering that also but would need to buy a plunge router. I do like the simplicity of loose tenons and I think it would work for most of what I am planning to build like a bed frame and dresser. I don’t need to be a traditionalist but can when it makes sense. I have also seen videos of making mortises on a router table which I am currently building.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

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Loren

8295 posts in 3109 days


#8 posted 11-05-2014 04:40 AM

Tenoning bed rails using a table saw tenon jig
is the definition of fun. Not.

Yeah, Mortise Pal looks like it does a good job.
You won’t regret owning a plunge router. A
1.5 or 2 hp size model is a good starter, imo. The
larger ones are kind of clumsy to maneuver and
top-heavy.

I use a Jessem dowel jig for most work. I only
mess with tenons when I want to show off or
they are the best solution for structural reasons
or required by the style for reproduction type
work.

Tenons are something you should surely learn
to do well, but if you just want to build furniture
forms and play with proportions then they are,
to me, an unwanted encumbrance.

The reason m&t is held in such high esteem is
it is the oldest joint and can be cut and fitted
with hand tools only. Doweling in comparison
is relatively high-tech if you wanted to suppose
that in the old days you would not only have to
drill dowel holes in accurate alignment, you would
have to make the dowels as well.

View Joel_B's profile

Joel_B

294 posts in 842 days


#9 posted 11-05-2014 05:40 PM



Tenoning bed rails using a table saw tenon jig
is the definition of fun. Not.

Yeah, Mortise Pal looks like it does a good job.
You won t regret owning a plunge router. A
1.5 or 2 hp size model is a good starter, imo. The
larger ones are kind of clumsy to maneuver and
top-heavy.

I use a Jessem dowel jig for most work. I only
mess with tenons when I want to show off or
they are the best solution for structural reasons
or required by the style for reproduction type
work.

Tenons are something you should surely learn
to do well, but if you just want to build furniture
forms and play with proportions then they are,
to me, an unwanted encumbrance.

The reason m&t is held in such high esteem is
it is the oldest joint and can be cut and fitted
with hand tools only. Doweling in comparison
is relatively high-tech if you wanted to suppose
that in the old days you would not only have to
drill dowel holes in accurate alignment, you would
have to make the dowels as well.

- Loren

I am thinking loose tenon with a Mortise Pal or other jig might be my best option.
I didn’t want a big heavy mortiser in my garage anyway because I have limited space and it seems more labor intensive.
I wasn’t planning on using M&T for the rails. Most beds use hardware like this:

http://www.rockler.com/5-surface-mounted-bed-rail-brackets

Mostly I will be mortising the pieces for the head and foot boards.
I already have a PC 690 router I bought cheap off of Craig’s List a few years ago and have used it a lot.
I could buy a plunge base for it for $100, but there is no good dust collection for it which is a big problem.
So I think it would be better to get the Bosch 1617EVSPK for $200 which includes the plunge base and I could also get a RA1165 Under-Table Router Base for another $55 to use in the router table I am building. I was looking at getting a Triton router for that but the Bosch gives me a lot of versatility. I am still drawn to Leigh Super FMT, it is $300 more than the Mortise Pal but does a lot more.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2274 days


#10 posted 11-05-2014 05:53 PM

It really depends what you want the joints to look like. If you are making through tenons, and you want them to be square then a mortiser will be best. I prefer to use a mortiser over a router. Mortises are usually cut on the edge of a board, which requires you to balance the router on a thin edge while it sprays you with dust. Routers are great tools, and I use them all the time, but honestly I never liked cutting mortises with them.
As far as cutting the tenons, I like a dado blade best. One fence setting for all four sides of the tenon.

If you just need joints that are strong, but not exposed than any method should work.
Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2177 posts in 1486 days


#11 posted 11-05-2014 09:26 PM

Actually, there are two”styles” of entry level mortiser: the cast iron column, like the Rikon in the link, or the Craftsman in the photo, and the Delta, versus the double steel tube structure. Jet, Grizzly, and others have them in that style. One of the tubes comprises the gear rack that the pinion engages.

I have wondered how rigid the steel tube models are, whether there might be some flex in those tubes. Also, the gear rack seems always to be on just one of the tubes, which makes me concerned about binding. But maybe they are okay. I assume LJs with experience with those types can weigh in.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3019 posts in 1259 days


#12 posted 11-05-2014 10:32 PM



Actually, there are two”styles” of entry level mortiser: the cast iron column, like the Rikon in the link, or the Craftsman in the photo, and the Delta, versus the double steel tube structure. Jet, Grizzly, and others have them in that style. One of the tubes comprises the gear rack that the pinion engages.

I have wondered how rigid the steel tube models are, whether there might be some flex in those tubes. Also, the gear rack seems always to be on just one of the tubes, which makes me concerned about binding. But maybe they are okay. I assume LJs with experience with those types can weigh in.

- runswithscissors

thanks for the correction. I’ve seen so many different brands that looked identical (sort of like lunchbox planers other than the DW735), that I over-generalized.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View brtech's profile

brtech

893 posts in 2384 days


#13 posted 11-05-2014 11:11 PM

FWW #241 (July/August this year) has a review of benchtop mortisers.

Best overall were the Powermatic PM701 and the General International 75-050T. Best Value was the Wood River 151223. The Rikon 34-250 came out pretty good in the ratings, he Balleigh MC-625 came out poorly.

View hoosier0311's profile

hoosier0311

702 posts in 1487 days


#14 posted 11-06-2014 12:15 AM

Thinking more about this, if I had this to do all over I would have bought the DP attachment and saved the frogskins on buying a piece of equipment I don’t use often.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View hoosier0311's profile

hoosier0311

702 posts in 1487 days


#15 posted 11-06-2014 12:15 AM

Thinking more about this, if I had this to do all over I would have bought the DP attachment and saved the frogskins on buying a piece of equipment I don’t use often.

-- atta boy Clarence!

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