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Reply by therealSteveN

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Posted on Best low cost Mortise machine?

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therealSteveN

6464 posts in 1458 days


#1 posted 07-28-2020 06:30 AM

You likely won’t see a lot of love for the Harbor Freight benchtop mortiser, but I look at them differently than most. I see them as a lever that you pull down to get the important part of the system, the extra sharp chisel, and pretty sharp bit down, and into the board you are mortising. Broken down into the smallest variable, that is pretty much all they are.

I have used a PM, and yes they have “gadgets” down to a science, and the options are good. BUT, they cost soooo much $$$$$$$$

The thing to know here is the HF bit/chisels are absolute JUNK, so you do have to spring for a really good set in the sizes you need for your work. Or just buy the sets as you need different sizes.

For them I'm going to suggest the Fisch.

https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/fish-premium-mortise-chisel-bit.aspx

If you are going to be working with 3/4” stock, just get the 3/8” set. And yes on my cheap HF mortiser I can punch out great mortises as quickly as someone with a 600 dollah PM. Along with the Fisch set, just get a good flat plate diamond stone (fine), and a set of those bell shaped honing cones for getting the inside of the mortise bit nice and sharp, because the sharp chisels is the thing you do need. Absolutely.

Lee Valley sells the best cones I have used. Drill press mounted.

https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop/tools/sharpening/files-and-hones/100265-large-cone-sharpeners-for-premium-hollow-mortise-chisels-and-bits?item=77J8122

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