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Thread: Benchtop mortiser - anybody have one?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Benchtop mortiser - anybody have one?

    I am looking at purchasing a benchtop mortiser to do several large projects - a couple dining room tables, a china hutch, a workbench and some cabinets. Specifically breadboard table ends, leg joints and possibly cabinet door frames. I'd like opinions from you guys on what you have, or have used, and like. I am not finding a lot of reviews or information online about these machines, I assume they are not common in home shops (I've never seen one in a shop IRL) but they seem to be a good balance between something really expensive like a Festool Domino and the time and effort required to use hand tools. I'm leaning toward the Grizzly G0645 for price, and because I like the big cast iron table, but I don't know if any of the others out there have "must-have" features or a clearly superior fit and finish. I have absolutely NO experience with one of these, not even a drill press version, so I really need some advice.

    EDIT: Realized there was a very good thread about this subject a couple years ago, so no need to respond unless you want to. Always looking for advice.
    Last edited by Jon Endres; 03-31-2021 at 7:32 AM.
    Jon Endres
    Killing Trees Since 1983

  2. #2
    I was in tbe market about 4 years ago and looked at several of brands. I bought the PM701 because it was very solid, had features I wanted and had good reviews. (Fine Woodworking did a compare online and they graciously gave me a 2 week membership so I could go read it.) This is the PM701: LINK

    I caught it on sale for $550 at Tools Plus. It works well for me. Whichever mortising machine you buy, I recommend buying high quality mortising chisels and prepping them carefully - polish the outide until it is mirror like, and other tricks (search online).

    I also suggest trying to see the machine in person, if time, location and covid allow. I ruled out a couple machines because they felt "less sturdy" to me than the PM. I was on a business trip and their local Woodcraft had 3 brands side by side, which made it easy.

    Good hunting.
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 03-31-2021 at 7:48 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    SW Florida
    I will echo Fredericks recommendation on the PM701. Given I'm just a hobbyist, I didn't want to break the bank just for a home shop and this has proven to be a great machine.
    A wannabe woodworker!

  4. #4
    I have a PM floor type, but the principle is the same - there are other ways to accomplish them.

    For me, its a question of time and set up. Even though I'm not production shop, I don't have a lot of time to mess around with jigs and set ups.

    The the question, PM is the best of the bunch. That said, an XY table is really nice, you might take a look at Rikon and others.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Morocco IN
    I've been using the Baileigh MC-625 for several years and am quite happy with it. Very secure hold down, x-y table.
    You know, the worst ain't so bad when it finally happens.
    Not half as bad as you figure it'll be before it's happened.
    - Bob Curtin

  6. #6
    I have the Multico made in England. It's very high quality. It's been listed for sale here in the Sawmill Creek Classifieds only because I got a great deal on the Powermatic 720HD mortiser.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Kansas City
    I probably complained about my Delta mortiser in that old thread you found, and I'm still complaining about it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    SE PA, Central Bucks County
    I ended up having John TenEyck build me one of his mortisers, which use a router. I owned the Delta but never really liked it. Johnís design is portable, capable and well thought out. It does everything I need with mortising. Contact John and heíll tell you more.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Have the Delta version.. it is over 10 years old... not the best, but works fine for me...
    Just need to keep it sharp and added a longer table to make leg work easier...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Los Angeles, California
    +1 on Delta. I made an auxiliary table


  11. #11
    I have a Jet benchtop that I got on ebay. I like it. The thing I learned is spending time to learn to sharpen the chisels is paramount! Also the chisel bit distance makes a big difference, try different adjustments to see what works best.
    Last edited by Ron Citerone; 03-31-2021 at 1:46 PM.

  12. #12
    I havent needed an XY table myself, but I recall seeing some straightforward ways to make one from something harbor freight sells. If I ever need one, I'll go that way.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Cashiers NC
    Take a look at Matthias Wandel’s shop built mortiser on It is router based and very accurate and versatile. I use mine a lot.
    Charlie Jones

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Jones View Post
    Take a look at Matthias Wandel’s shop built mortiser on It is router based and very accurate and versatile. I use mine a lot.
    While this is a good idea, I'd suggest the panto router first, since it does mortising, but so much more besides.

  15. #15
    Search Morterly Mortiser, and Woodsmith / ShopNotes Mortiser. I built the Woodsmith / ShopNotes version, and like it. Been on my to do list for some time. Just waiting for a project to use it on. i have one of the first generation Delta's, that I bought to do a set of cabinet doors. Did exactly what I needed. Note the Morterly uses a guide bushing to guide cut, while the Woodsmith version uses the router base. Also check out Phil Thien's mortiser. Phil's name may sound familiar, as he invented the Thien Baffle
    Last edited by Bruce Wrenn; 03-31-2021 at 4:38 PM.

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