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Thread: Benchtop Mortiser

  1. #16
    I went through a great deal of research before I bought my mortiser a couple years back. The Rikon had nice features and I already own a couple of their tools. After many posts here, reading various magazine reviews and driving to local (sorta) places that have Rikon, JET and PM, I bought the PM701 and PM chisels. The PM seemed the most solid and consistent machine. I think I paid $620 including shipping. I LOVE that tool. I wish I had more PM equipment. YMMV.

    Aside: I have not found the lack of the x-y table like the Rikon has, to be any disadvantage. If I ever do, there are several videos showing how to easily make one from an HF x-y drill press style vise.

    Good luck Warren!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    6,202
    Quote Originally Posted by David Utterback View Post
    A limitation of the Delta benchtop that I recently discovered when building 2 entry doors is that the maximum capacity is a little under 5" which was too small for the door stiles.
    David

    This is why mine was taken off the base, and homemade base was made for it. I still have the OEM base, fence and hold down,,,,,somwhere???
    I have about 6 1/2" of clearance with the 1/4" chisel the way it is setup now.
    I could easily add another 2" spacer and get more if needed, but the wider the available depth, the more tedious the alignment for the Z axis becomes.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 04-06-2018 at 7:54 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    1,354
    I have the General International 75-075 and the sliding table makes all the difference in the world. Once you set the stops you can really crank out parts. I wouldn't bother with a machine without this feature. I've only used the tilting head a couple of times, but when I needed it it was really handy. I found that the better chisels that Lee Valley sells to be a huge improvement over others I've had. Sharpening, as noted above, is critical to good performance.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Three Rivers, Central Oregon
    Posts
    2,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    I have a General International mortiser and it works well. I learned through experience that the chisel and bits must be "sharp, sharp, sharp"! I have a "sharpener" that will cut a new edge on the inner edge of the chisel and a coned shaped diamond hone that hones/refines that sharpened edge. Then I flatten the outer edges of the chisel similar to the method Neanders use to flatten the back of a standard bench chisel. Most often just honing the inner edges of the chisel and a light "flattening" will make a great difference ONCE the chisel has been initially sharpened. I use a jeweler's file to sharpen the flat/straight cutting edge on the bits.

    Setup is also very important to performance of a mortiser. The bit must be sticking ever so slightly below the leading edge of the chisel so one is drilling out the majority of the material before the chisel squares up the corners.

    Ken, how often do you sharpen your chisels? How long does it take to do 1 chisel?
    Last edited by scott vroom; 04-07-2018 at 11:37 AM.
    Scott Vroom

    If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Bernard Baruch

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    6,202
    Scott

    I can't answer for Ken, but the chisels that came with my Delta were,,, Okay. Alright, let's just say that they needed some work.
    It probably took me about 10-15 minutes per chisel the first time, but the bit took the same amount of time, maybe more, by itself.There is no other way to sharpen that bit, than by hand, with a small ceramic stone set. It's not a normal drill bit. The leading edge is inside a flute.
    Now it just takes a minute or two to touch everything up.

    The sharpening set from Lee Valley is really nice. It's better than the model WoodCraft sells. I have both. These sets only do the chisels, you need to invest in small ceramic stones for the bits.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    334
    I have the old version of the Delta and added the riser from Delta~~2", and it has been a great machine for me. Made lots of "hobby" M&T's with it. No XV vise and consitent alignment of stock to chisel is no problem. I haven't use any fancier machines but every visit to Woodcraft includes playtime on the PM mortiser with all the built in holddowns and XY table. If I did a significant volume of MT's I would consider an upgrade. I suggest you keep looking for a used machine and grow from there. Good luck shopping.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    26,838
    Scott,

    I had the same experience as Mike Cutler. I have the chisels that came with the mortiser or it's a cheap set from Woodcraft. I honestly don't remember where I got the chisels except I know I didn't order them from some upscale place. Getting them in shape the first time took 15 minutes or so per chisel. After that rehoning a given chisel just takes a minute or two.

    To sharpen them I have a Woodcraft kit that reams or cuts a new inside face on the chisels https://www.woodcraft.com/products/m...sharpening-kit and then I hone with this tool from Rockler http://www.rockler.com/3-piece-morti...sharpening-set.

    How often will depend on the material that you are mortising obviously. When I built my extended version of Norm Abram's porch swing for my wife I ended up with over 100 mortises IIRC. I sharpened before I started and then stopped and honed once during the process. Mind you I was mortising white oak.

    As I said earlier. I used the Woodcraft kit once and since then all I have done is hone them with the Rockler cone shaped fine diamond hone. Then I touch up the outside edges on a flat diamond sharpener. It doesn't take long.
    Ken

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    441
    I have not heard about the 2" riser block. Would anyone know where one might be had? Thanks
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Elgin, TX
    Posts
    211
    I ended up buying a Woodtek 1 hp floor model used for less than a benchtop mortise. I have not used it yet. It needed some clean up and lubing with a couple parts replaced. It think it will be a nice one to learn on.

    http://www.finewoodworking.com/2002/...924-020-review

  10. #25
    Thanks, Glenn -- I have completed one larger table using the router/chisel approach and have pondered "faking" the through mortises. I just hesitate to fake something when it's my own work when I scorn others for the same thing! : ( If you have a mortiser and stil recommend the router & jig, that's a strong recommendation.
    Life is too short for dull sandpaper.

  11. #26
    And thanks again to all for sharing your insights and experiences -- it makes considering the machine a greater pleasure!
    Life is too short for dull sandpaper.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    334
    Hi David,

    I have had the 14-650 mortiser for over 20yrs and I must have ordered the riser when I bought it. I still have the original box!! The cat. # -14-611 and it raises the height under chisel to 5 3/4". Ii is a round casting with 4 bolt holes and I leave it on all the time. You could easily make one with a round block of a hard wood. Good luck shopping or fabbing.

  13. #28
    My next large project is replacing my overhead garage doors with carriage doors. I can buy a Delta mortiser and tenon jig on craigslist for $225, never been used. Most of my woodworking is cabinetry. I've thought about the Festool Domino XL700 for the carriage door joinery, but with accessories to utilize smaller bits I'm looking at $2,000ish. That would be the most expensive tool in my shop. Would the Festool be more useful for the extra money? I will have to save up to buy the Festool and delay the project.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    151
    I also have a General International like Ken, and I have 2 sets of chisels, the ones that were bundled, plus the aftermarket set the previous owner added in. I also have the sharpening kit, and I file & sharpen ALL my bits for cutting speed.
    One thing I did find, is that it depends on the wood you use.
    I bought it because I needed to chop 96 mortises in Maple legs and I experimented with both 1/4" and 3/8" chisels - it turned out that the harder woods like Maple and Oak make you go quite slowly and deliberately, or the chisels deflect. For a true straight cut, I chop in 2 - 3 steps.
    Mind you, I was going in 1-1/2" for these table legs.
    Under normal circumstances, with a "normal" mortise, it would go faster.
    I also don't use it all the time, but when I need it, WOW!
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Exeter, CA
    Posts
    288
    I bought a used Jet benchtop a couple of years ago (guy sold it because he hardly ever used it) and have used it in white oak with sharp, almost new chisels, love it. Haven't needed to sharpen yet but hear that, and how its set up (bit to chisel) is critical. Also read somewhere to polish the bit shank so the chips flow up easily. Randy

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