Chain mortiser

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Blog entry by Loren posted 05-18-2011 01:53 AM 5051 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a chain mortiser I picked up recently. These things aren’t too common these days, except for timber framers who use portable ones that clamp to the beam you want to cut a mortise in.

This is an older model stationary mortiser with a 2 HP 220 volt motor. It’s very powerful and can hog out these through mortises in a 2×4 in about 20 seconds.

The mortise this mortiser cuts is too long for cabinet doors, but it will work well for full-sized doors and for heavier joints in furniture. With today’s joinery options, you don’t need to use old-fashioned mortise-and-tenon joints to make strong furniture, but in terms of decorative appeal for certain styles, the through-mortise this machine makes can be very useful.

It can also make a stopped mortise, but the mortise does not have a flat bottom.

While this machine is certainly less versatile than a hollow chisel or slot mortiser, for what it does it is wicked fast.

4 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3905 days

#1 posted 05-18-2011 02:02 AM

You animal, Loren! If anyone deserves this machine, it’s you.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3904 days

#2 posted 05-18-2011 03:13 AM

That’s pretty cool Loren. I have wanted one of those clamp on types before. I ended up using my right angle drill with a self feeding fostener type bit and a big chisel. I have had any big wood jobs in a while there doesn’t seem to be has much of a demand for it these days.
With the one you have pictured, how clean is the hole when you make a through the board cut? Is there much tearout on the backside?

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Loren's profile


11251 posts in 4860 days

#3 posted 05-18-2011 04:01 AM

I haven’t used it much yet. I think tearout can be minimized if I replace
the backing board under workpiece. The present backer is pretty
torn up. I think it’s pretty much the same concept as backing up
a shaper cutter correctly; you don’t totally eliminate messed-up cuts
but you get a much higher average quality from part to part.

Also, the work can be flipped over to make cleaner holes on either
side. The entrance hole in the mortise iis cleaner than you’d expect.

The mortising chain looks like a chainsaw chain on first glance but up
close you’d see that it’s made differently and to a much higher
level of precision.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4195 days

#4 posted 05-19-2011 04:01 AM

Wow, its been many many years since I seen one of these. This brought back the memory of my first 2 man Mall chain saw.

So will you be using it to mortise the post for that new split rail fence your building? LOL
Thanks for sharing a memory.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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