Mortiser for the masses

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Review by Karson posted 03-01-2008 05:17 AM 7024 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Mortiser for the masses Mortiser for the masses No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I had been looking at this mortiser for sale by Wilke Tools in PA. It was being sold at $245 plus shipping. And then one time I went looking again and they had it for sale at $185.00 I ordered it.

It didn’t come with any chisels. What sets this mortiser apart from others for a reasonable price is that it has an X, Y and Z alignment.

The table as shown in the two pictures moves from left to right about 7” so you can cut a 7” mortise without loosing the grip on the piece of wood. The lower swinging bar moves the table left and right. The center knob moved the table surface front to rear. So to get the chisel aligned is just a matter of locking in the wood and then turning the knob to get the chisel into the correct position.

When the mortiser arrived the back fence was some 1/8” aluminum angle and when you tightened the wood locking knob the wood ended up at about 87 deg. I replaced it with some thicker aluminum angle and I also put a shim under the back edge so that at rest the fence is about 89 deg and when I tighten the wood knob it moves into the 90 deg position.

I also put some 150 grit sandpaper on the front edge of the wood locking lever with double face tape so that I don’t have to tighten the wood as tight to keep it from moving. That also lessens the flex in the back fence. I’ll probably either replace it with a solid block of steel or try to find some steel angle that is a true 90 deg.

I already owned a Delta mortiser but i wanted one that was more user friendly. This one is it. It works like the expensive models.

Wilke has gone out of business or merged with someone else but here is the mfg web site. It is the second picture in the web site.

When my son Dave who is 11 was making the table for the fair at the school. I showed him how to align the chisel on the lines, and when you get to the end move to the next one. He was making 6 mortises in one board for the table top. He got started and I went into the house to get the camera. When I came back he was all finished and was setting in a chair waiting for me.

So almost simple enough for a caveman to do it. At least an 11 yr old LumberJock.

I bought the chisels that I use from Grizzly, because the shank size on the chisel is larger than those used on Delta and Jet etc. The chisels were sharpened with a diamond cone from Rockler. See review here

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5738 days

12 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 5106 days

#1 posted 03-01-2008 05:20 AM

thats cool. I’ve never seen a hollow chisel mortiser with an X, Y, Z alignment. i guess you learn something every day.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6879 posts in 5317 days

#2 posted 03-01-2008 05:27 AM

Great review Karson.

I guess David is a natural huh?


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5738 days

#3 posted 03-01-2008 06:00 AM

Thanks guys.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Jamie's profile


161 posts in 5152 days

#4 posted 03-01-2008 05:49 PM

I had been looking for a mortiser for a few weeks now. Like teenagewoodworker, I had never seen a benchtop mortiser with xyz alignment. I finally bought a Jet JBM-5 after reviewing different ones. I got it ‘lightly used but in excellent condition’ off of ebay for $103.50. I should get it in the next few days. I’m anxious… Makes me wonder if I could somehow retrofit an xyz vise to it… :)

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5137 days

#5 posted 03-01-2008 06:18 PM

this is a great machine. Take a look a thte steel city one too. The design is nice

-- making sawdust....

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5738 days

#6 posted 03-01-2008 08:49 PM

This is the only benchtop mortiser that I’ve seen with X,Y,Z. I missed a powermatic that was being sold in the paper.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 5212 days

#7 posted 03-02-2008 02:44 AM

Thanks for the review Karson. You are very thorough.

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5738 days

#8 posted 03-08-2008 10:00 PM

I just received a Laguna catalog in the mail and the Mortiser that I reviewed looks very similar to the the Laguna Benchtop Mortiser being sold for $345.

They have a hollow Chisle Mortiser with Stand that looks like the first item in the MFG link that I posted above Model MS3840. Laguna price $650.00

The Laguna website mortisers

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 5082 days

#9 posted 03-09-2008 12:31 AM

Thanks for the review, Karson. I gotta ask, Have you ever lost anything in your shop? Not trying to be rude.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5326 days

#10 posted 03-09-2008 12:35 AM

Just looked at the pictures, Karson. That’s one mighty fine pile of ”stuff” you got behind that thing!
Reminds me of when I get done doing something!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5093 days

#11 posted 11-07-2008 03:47 AM


Just stubled across this review from your recent post about a mortise attachment for a drill press. I noticed you mentioned you bought it from Wilke Machinery. My entire shop is filled with Bridgewood tools from Wilke. You can imagine my disappointment when they folded. It was only about an hour from here. They have reopened as C.H. Wilke, a couple of blocks from their original location, but no longer carry the Bridgewood brand. Their web site is-


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5189 days

#12 posted 11-07-2008 08:55 AM

Great acquisition Karson.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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