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Thread: Mortiser advise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    19

    Mortiser advise

    Hey everyone,
    I am beginning my investigation into which hollow chisel mortiser to purchase. I would love you advise. I enjoy buying tools once, when I can. I have seen several people use the Powermatic version, but want to see what other ideas there are out there. Thank you so much!

    Todd

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,638
    An indexing table is invaluable. I wouldn't bother with a mortiser without one.

    I have the General International 75-075 which is no longer sold, but which has served me very well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    1,265
    I have the floor standing Powermatic Mortiser and have used it for a couple of big projects and it did the job admirably, but it is a one trick pony.

    I recently bought a PantoRouter that is quite compact. I've done mortise and tenons using it as well as box and dovetail joints. I've also used it to cut mortises for floating tenons when I recently made some cabinets doors and jointed the frame pieces at 45 degrees.

    The PantoRouter has now become my go to tool for most joints.

    I most likely will sell my Powermatic pretty soon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    2,907
    Festool domino is a pretty good contender to a Mortiser. That what I use.
    Aj

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,461
    Iíve used a GI Mortimer for 20 years, it works well with Properly sharpened chisels...Rod

  6. #6
    If you're a "buy once, cry once" kinda person, this is a highly respected machine. I have the chain / chisel version and it's a dream to use.

    https://www.daltonswadkin.com/product/wadkin-dmv/

    B

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    473
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Sebek View Post
    Hey everyone,
    I am beginning my investigation into which hollow chisel mortiser to purchase. I would love you advise. I enjoy buying tools once, when I can. I have seen several people use the Powermatic version, but want to see what other ideas there are out there. Thank you so much!

    Todd
    I sold my powermatic mortiser and went with the festool domino. Much quicker.
    Brian

  8. #8
    I picked up a Powermatic 719T (tilting table) a few weeks back used in mint condition with a set of 5 chisels. High quality chisels/bits is key. I previously owned a ShopFox the other design mortiser on the market with a tilting column instead of a tilting table. I prefer the tilting table. To me the Festool Domino is even more of a one trick pony and kind of a high price Biscuit joiner but if it meets your needs and that's all you need then I like it more than other biscuit jointers. I do through slots on the mortiser though which can be useful when making jigs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Posts
    620
    Another vote for the Domino. My old benchtop HCM has sat idle since I bought the Domino. I like the speed and repeatability it provides and the joint it makes is much more precise and far stronger than a biscuit joiner. I suppose with any purchase, the type of work you do should play a major role in deciding which direction to go, for my work it has been a real timesaver and given great results.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    7,418
    Unless you need to cut a lot of square ended mortises there are better alternatives to a chisel mortiser. A Domino or router will do most things a chisel mortiser can, a horizontal mortiser, too, including really deep mortises. There are other options, too, but all of them eliminate the chisel in favor of a cutter that requires no sharpening and all cut cleaner mortises that require no hand cleanup. If you are set on a chisel mortiser, just be patient; they show up for sale here on a regular basis.

    John

  11. #11
    When I build an armoire or a vanity or book case or whatever I say "its built with traditional joinery" and I stick to that construction.

    I likely see about three old Wadkins or similar weight machines to what Brent posted a year. Usually with some chisels as well and usually about 1k or less to 1,500.00 at the high side.

    Roger whats an indexing table? My machine has a fancy stop system, ive never figured out how to work it just use pencil lines. Simple and easy.

  12. #12
    After I got over the wow factor, in my work the Domino was simply not the game changer I expected. I just sold my Dom500 for $200 more than I paid for it 2 years ago. Try as I might, IMO the fence is faulty but even registering off the table with everything clamped, the Domino just did not live up the accuracy narrative. My biscuit joiner is more accurate & consistent for panel glue ups.

    I have the PM floor mortiser - agree, its a one trick pony, but excels at that trick. That said, I've also used it for square dowel holes & table top button slots in the apron.

    Had to do over, if I were looking for a power mortiser, I'd go with a horizontal slot mortiser or a Pantarouter.

  13. #13
    my mortiser is not bang on bang on. I can be out about .003 and it has to do with fence clamping. i put a dial on it reefed on the clamp and found I could deflect it about .003 as the clamp is so powerful. Not a big deal and I could improve it so I dont need that much force.

    I want air clamps on a foot pedal and if so will rig it so it clamps from the back of the fence and not the front putting pressure on the back. Its a massive fence but you can still deflect it. I find it easier to mortise on the chisel mortiser than the horizontal as its easier to look down and see the pencil lines.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,638
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    Roger whats an indexing table? My machine has a fancy stop system, ive never figured out how to work it just use pencil lines. Simple and easy.
    Maybe I didn't use the right words, a moveable x-y vise/table controlled with hand wheels with stops that allow you to precisely position the work with respect to the chisel and move it defined distances. Makes it easy to cut dozens of identical parts without doing any measuring once you've done the initial setup.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    258
    I have owned or tried just about every conceivable mortising gizmo out there (both Festool dominos, Pantarouter, Multirouter, benchtop and floor standing hollow chisel mortisers, Leigh FMT, Shaper Origin, plunge routers, chisels, etc). They all have their pluses and minuses and some are faster/more fun/more versatile than others. The hollow chisel mortiser is definitely a one trick pony but can be a workhorse IF (and only IF) you really like making your tenons using a tablesaw and tenoning jig (or maybe a shaper). Is that what you like to do? Today, I rarely design projects around square tenons produced at the tablesaw so my hollow chisel mortiser sits mostly idle (since it doesn't do much else). In contrast, the Pantorouter can get used for a huge number of tasks of both the male and female joint variety (and it's more fun). Likewise, the domino is a fantastic tool for those projects where the joinery isn't the focus. I haven't found the issues that Robert Engel mentioned to be limiting in my use of either the D500 or D700 for most projects. There are certainly aftermarket add ons from Seneca or Woodpeckers that address the indexing issues.

    With that said, a domino isn't really a 1:1 exchange for a hollow chisel mortiser since the "method of work" is so dramatically different. And through tenons with a domino are not so pretty.

    For the OP, what are you planning to make with this tool? Do you need something really versatile (pantorouter) or fast and easy (domino) or are you looking to make a bunch of arts and crafts pieces with traditional square tenons (hollow chisel mortiser). If you plan to make a lot of different things with lots of different joinery, I think the question really is "do I really want a hollow chisel mortiser" or "do I really need to invest the $ and space into a big floor standing unit that I won't use often."

    R
    Richard Link

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