King - MA-1050ST (Rating: 1)

What appealed about this product was both the tilting head and the fact the table slides, at the price point of around $500 CDN. I bought it shortly before we moved 3 years ago so never had much of a chance to use it. One of the hold downs broke during that limited period of usage, and that was replaced without a problem. In the interim i used biscuits and other joinery for the rest of the project. A couple years later I was still unpacking and organizing my shop, and I unpacked it for a project earlier this year, start using it, and began having some issues. At this point, warranty is gone.

Long story short, it turns out that when the hollow chisel is in the mortiser, it is not square to the table. Really? I barely used it, it is still bolted to mini-pallet it came on, and it was moved inside the wood moving crate I got from the store when I bought it. Out of square, really? It's hard not to come to the conclusion the parts weren't machined correctly when I picked it up from the store.

It is out by about 1/16" over an inch of travel. I had several pleasant telephone calls with the sales rep, who indicated he couldn't do much more than send me another chisel to try, acknowledging in the same breath that I'd be better off just buying some decent chisels at Lee Valley. The other chisel he sent was no different, the sides are parallel to the shaft but still not square to the table or parallel to the fence. After that, he said there isn't anything he can do since it is past the warranty date. I argued that, since the product is really just a couple large pieces of cast iron, there likely is a machining/casting issue not likely to be impacted by the user over a time period of 3 months or 3 years, but that did not hold weight.

I could not find any reviews of this product several years ago when i bought it, so want to share. I guess one learning from the story is that when buying any inexpensive equipment, be sure to check for everything, even simple things like squareness. As always, you usually get what you pay for. And that seems to be a lesson it takes four or five decades of living to truly sink in . . .

I'm using it again now for another project (soft wood, shallow mortises) and am starting to come around to the idea of a Domino, 'point and shoot joinery' as someone once said on a podcast. Why don't those things get cheaper over time?

My options include finding a machine shop to rectify the problem, or getting rid of it and buying a Domino when I can find a project or projects to justify it. I have a fairly small shop now, so the space saving would be nice also.

Hope this helps