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Are Drill Press Mortising Attachments worth it?

by lumbering_on
posted 10-05-2018 07:05 PM


34 replies so far

View Steve's profile

Steve

1585 posts in 1095 days


#1 posted 10-05-2018 07:11 PM

i’ve read mixed reviews. some say you don’t get enough leverage from the dp handles to drill a proper mortise.

I’ve thought about getting one for my older Delta.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5758 posts in 3006 days


#2 posted 10-05-2018 07:30 PM

I had one for my Delta, and if you only use it once or twice a year, it might be worth it. But it wasn’t all that easy to set up and if you plan to do a lot of mortises I’d suggest looking for an alternative.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3100 posts in 2861 days


#3 posted 10-05-2018 07:36 PM

I have a Delta kit similar to the one you posted. It does make a mortise, but not great. I don’t even bother with the fence or hold downs that come with it because they are such low quality. If you need an occasional mortise it would probably be OK, but if you want to use it a lot, and want consistency and precision, I’d suggest a dedicated mortise machine or something like the Leigh Mortise and Tenon jig.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 1003 days


#4 posted 10-05-2018 08:31 PM

Thanks for the replies. I was kind of thinking that it would be hard to get good results from a drill press. I want to start doing Shaker-style furniture, but I don’t know that the cost of a mortising machine is worth it.

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1446 posts in 2624 days


#5 posted 10-05-2018 08:33 PM

It almost certainly is, though you might be able to get away with a router or a domino if speed and efficiency are what you are after.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5542 posts in 2864 days


#6 posted 10-05-2018 08:46 PM

I would say not. I thought about the same thing years ago and decided against it. Because I thought it would be a pain to set up and take down every time you need to use the drill press. If I left it set up so it would always be handy then I would need another drill press, better to buy a mortiser. I still have not bought a mortiser though, because I now use my plunge router to make mortises.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5721 posts in 3756 days


#7 posted 10-05-2018 09:10 PM

It may be what you want in a pinch. I always prefer tools with a dedicated purpose.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1003 days


#8 posted 10-05-2018 09:51 PM

JADobson

I like the idea of a Domino machine, but I don’t see me needing enough loose tenons to justify the cost. In Canada it’s $1,200 for the smaller version. Now, if I win the LottoMax tonight. :)

Bondo,

I use a router right now, too. But I used a buddy’s mortising machine, and it was really nice having something easy to set up and I didn’t have to either square the mortise or round the tenon. I know it isn’t a huge deal, but Shaker furniture has a lot of M&T to deal with,

MrRon,

Agree, but my shop is on the small size, and my wife insists that we need to feed our son. :(

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Andybb

2112 posts in 1116 days


#9 posted 10-06-2018 12:45 AM

I bought the Delta used and used it once then gave it away. The other drawback (actually a real pain in the ass) is that it renders your drill press unusable while the mortiser is attached. I’d go with either a real mortiser or the other option is this no-cost router jig that works just as well. As long as you’re ok with rounding the tenons the mortises are actually cleaner than with a mortise machine. I’m new at mortises and bought a mortise machine off of CL too. It really is a toss up.


-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1362 posts in 2465 days


#10 posted 10-06-2018 01:12 AM

Short answer: NO! I have a Delta drill press. Works great. Bought a Delta mortising attachment a few decades ago. Total waste of money. Sits in the original box to this day and the two chisel/bit sets I bought reside in my drill press accessory cabinet.. Echoing all of the other comments: drill press doesn’t give enough leverage, fence sucks, hold downs suck, fence hard to adjust, and more.

Did I mention that I have a virtually brand new Delta drill press mortising attachment and two bits for sale? PM me for a sweet deal! At least 20% off new retail!

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

254 posts in 1288 days


#11 posted 10-06-2018 01:20 AM



Short answer: NO! I have a Delta drill press. Works great. Bought a Delta mortising attachment a few decades ago. Total waste of money. Sits in the original box to this day and the two chisel/bit sets I bought reside in my drill press accessory cabinet.. Echoing all of the other comments: drill press doesn’t give enough leverage, fence sucks, hold downs suck, fence hard to adjust, and more.

Did I mention that I have a virtually brand new Delta drill press mortising attachment and two bits for sale? PM me for a sweet deal! At least 20% off new retail!

- Kazooman

I agree.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1003 days


#12 posted 10-06-2018 01:59 AM

Andy, thanks for the video, I use the edge guide with a block of wood, but that router jig looks better.

Kazooman – ah…I’ll pass. :)

View Richard's profile

Richard

11307 posts in 3545 days


#13 posted 10-06-2018 03:24 AM

I have a set that I bought from Lee Valley and I’m quite pleased with them.

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 1003 days


#14 posted 10-06-2018 03:38 AM


I have a set that I bought from Lee Valley and I m quite pleased with them.

- Rick S.

Edit: I just saw the picture you posted – are they not for the actual mortising machine?

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2112 posts in 1116 days


#15 posted 10-06-2018 06:42 PM


Andy, thanks for the video, I use the edge guide with a block of wood, but that router jig looks better.

Kazooman – ah…I ll pass. :)

- lumbering_on


I looked long and hard for the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to do this without a mortising machine and this was the winner! I bought a Shop Fox mortiser on CL for $150 just to compare. Other than having to round the tenons it’s about the same. Great feeling of accomplishment going from never having done M&T to having good fitting tenons with really crisp shoulders. You don’t see the mortises. That being said, the Delta tenon jig my buddy lent me is the cat’s meow!

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#16 posted 10-06-2018 11:26 PM

I’ve had this Delta mortise for years, and have built many a Shaker style furniture…..and other types, also….If you plan to build a little or a lot of furniture that has M&T joinery, I would highly recommend getting one of these…When I first started out making M&T, I too purchased a Delta mortise for the drill press…..That sucks….!! Too much set-up time, it usually doesn’t work right, and I’ve still got the mortise in the original box and all the attachments……!! It just sits in my cabinet taking up space……!! The bench top mortise is the way to go for making good, tight mortises, and you can always count on it being ready to go when you are….!!!

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1362 posts in 2465 days


#17 posted 10-07-2018 12:20 AM



I ve had this Delta mortise for years, and have built many a Shaker style furniture…..and other types, also….If you plan to build a little or a lot of furniture that has M&T joinery, I would highly recommend getting one of these…When I first started out making M&T, I too purchased a Delta mortise for the drill press…..That sucks….!! Too much set-up time, it usually doesn t work right, and I ve still got the mortise in the original box and all the attachments……!! It just sits in my cabinet taking up space……!! The bench top mortise is the way to go for making good, tight mortises, and you can always count on it being ready to go when you are….!!!

- Rick Dennington

Hey Rick! Perhaps we could go in together with a “two for one” sale. Your Delta drill press mortise gizmo with my Delta drill press mortise gizmo. Perhaps we could get about five cents on the dollar.

Not my best tool investment. Your experience may vary.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#18 posted 10-07-2018 02:46 AM

Kazooman,

Do you REALLY think we could make any $$$ on the “two-fer sale….? I think when I bought mine about 1989-90, I paid $35.00 for it…..With inflation, I think we could prolly double our $$$...Whatda think…?

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3916 posts in 1087 days


#19 posted 10-07-2018 09:39 AM

More a question of leverage. On a DP there is minimal leverage, and what you do is allow the bit to drill into the wood. With a mortiser, sure your bit drills out most of the wood, but the leverage needed to shear off the remaining wood allows very sharp chisels to work.

I’ve long said among mortisers the high priced ones have better holding, and working capabilities, maybe larger tables too. It’s the bit that does the work, sharp chisels work, dull ones do not, but I’m a firm believer the leverage a mortiser imparts is far greater than a DP.

Those LV bits, and ALSO the sharpening stones are very nice, and can make a poor mortiser make good mortises.

-- Think safe, be safe

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2931 posts in 1735 days


#20 posted 10-07-2018 02:20 PM



- Rick Dennington

Hey Rick, nice picture of a museum exhibit. What does your shop really look like eh? 8^)

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3100 posts in 2861 days


#21 posted 10-07-2018 02:35 PM

+1 – Splintergroup

Rick – your shop is so clean and organized that I am feeling like a total slob since mine has some tools strewn about and dust here and there. Guess I need to up my game. How do you keep all of the fine dust from settling everywhere?

I’ll throw my Delta mortiser in with the other two and make it a trifecta. 3 for 1 sale, buy one at half price, get 2 free, plus a plethora of mortising bits.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

672 posts in 1261 days


#22 posted 10-07-2018 03:12 PM

From time to time I’ll do M&T joinery. I finally just bought a Jet JM5 and I’m glad I did. I might not use it for 6 months, but when I need it I just dust it off and get to work. I have been tempted to upgrade, but this unit works fine and is light enough to pick up and move, as needed.

Just did a big two door cabinet for my sister, and it was all M&T joinery. Happily, I didn’t botch one joint. And thank goodness I didn’t have to do the whole thing with chisels and my tenon jig. The JM5 is fairly basic, but once I got familiar with it I can do good work.

And I’m with Earl. How do we keep dust from covering everything? My approach is to wait till cool weather in the Spring and Fall, put a big fan in the door to suck out the dust and then work everything over with an air hose. Levitate the dust and suck it out of there. Works pretty good.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#23 posted 10-07-2018 03:13 PM

splintergroup,

What you see is what you get…..!! My shop gets just as dirty as anyone else’s , but after the project is finished, it’s gets cleaned, vacuumed, and dusted…..!! Just do a little house keeping…..:)...!! Take a look at my woodshop pictures under my profile….You’ll see what I mean….!!

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#24 posted 10-07-2018 03:23 PM

EarlS,

Thanks for the nice comment on the shop….Like I told splinterman, I like things to be neat and clean…A messy shop can be a dangerous shop if you’re not careful….Cleaned after each project….!! I have d.c. going to all my major machines, and shop vacs hooked up to things like sanders, pocket hole jig, occilating spindle sander, etc….When dust settles, I just clean house…!!! And….. we’d need to locate 3 “suckers” that would take them off our hands….That may be hard to do, and they may be hard to find…..:)....Who wants a drill press mortising attachment for their drill press…..?

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1003 days


#25 posted 10-07-2018 03:37 PM


splintergroup, What you see is what you get…..!! My shop gets just as dirty as anyone else s , but after the project is finished, it s gets cleaned, vacuumed, and dusted…..!! Just do a little house keeping…..:)...!! Take a look at my woodshop pictures under my profile….You ll see what I mean….!!

- Rick Dennington

I bet you just love sharpening, too. :( ;)

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#26 posted 10-07-2018 03:48 PM

lumbering_on,

Nope…...! I do not like sharpening anything…..I have an antique collection of planes I got when my father-in law died, and I took them home, cleaned the rust off of them (soaking in solution for about a week), buffed them, and painted some…..I built a plane till for them, and they are not sharp, or never have been…Display only….! There are some really old ones…A #2, a #4, a #6, and a couple of old block planes….a #5 jack plane….all very dull…..The only thing I try to sharpen is my chisel sets….Marples from England….the originals….!!!

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#27 posted 10-07-2018 04:13 PM

I (we) got a little off-track from the original posters question and comments, and went somewhere out into left field….Sorry ‘bout that….!!

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

20582 posts in 2369 days


#28 posted 10-07-2018 04:47 PM

I have a Jet drill press mortise gizmo to contribute. Now what can we get?

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

20582 posts in 2369 days


#29 posted 10-07-2018 04:48 PM


- Rick Dennington

Hey Rick, nice picture of a museum exhibit. What does your shop really look like eh? 8^)

- splintergroup

I’ve been to Ricks shop. It looks just like the picture.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1003 days


#30 posted 10-07-2018 04:59 PM

I’ve been to Ricks shop. It looks just like the picture.

- firefighterontheside

I think I could eat off those floors.

If my wife ever saw that shop, I’d have to explain to her why I keep telling her that shops are suppose to have three inches of saw dust and wood in every corner of the shop. :(

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#31 posted 10-07-2018 06:14 PM

The shop looks a little different now than it did in those pictures….I’ve up-dated some machines and tools since that pics was taken…..!!

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3707 days


#32 posted 10-07-2018 06:18 PM

Bill,

Maybe we can all pool all of our mortising attachments, put them on eBay or Craigslist, and make a few coins…!!!

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2112 posts in 1116 days


#33 posted 10-07-2018 08:25 PM


The shop looks a little different now than it did in those pictures….I ve up-dated some machines and tools since that pics was taken…..!!

- Rick Dennington

I wonder if there is a business opportunity like Merry Maids I use for the house. “Shop Maids”. We will come and clean your shop once a month!

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

20582 posts in 2369 days


#34 posted 10-10-2018 05:38 PM

I’m afraid I’m out of the club. A guy came to buy a lathe from me today. He saw the attachment and bought it too.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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