Powermatic - Benchtop Mortiser, Model PM701 (Rating: 5)

Here's my very first review, it's about time I started giving back on this site. I'm building a four drawer chest that I'm working on through the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop. Actually I'm building two chests, one in the class and the other one is a copy I'm making at home. This is a big step up for me, and I'm finding building the second one at home is requiring me to purchase some tools. Enter the powermatic PM701 mortiser.

I was in need of cutting mortises for the drawer blades, and this machine fits the bill nicely. I picked up this machine new in the box at the Downingtown Woodcraft, along with a 1/4, 5/16 and 3/8" mortising bits. The machine was well packaged, with a significant amount of whatever petroleum product to keep the machined pieces shiny. It took me about 15 minutes to get this baby set up on my bench and install the 1/4" bit. Set up was a breeze, nothing more than installing the lever and wiping it down. I did follow some online advice and I sharpened up the chisel part of the mortising bit before using. I marked up the mortises and away I went.

The 1/4" bit cut through hard maple without any problems. The mortises are clean and accurate. I was surprised how quickly it took to get this accomplished, by the last mortise I was moving right along. Just a little clearing out of renegade material and the mortises were all set to be fitted to the tenons.

I read on an online review where someone was complaining about this machine and gave the mortiser lower marks for being a one trick pony; he was saying for the money it should do more than just cut mortises. I couldn't agree less, this machine does exactly what it is designed to do and appears to do it well. Cutting these mortises was really presenting me a challenge, I really didn't want to try to do this by hand. I am very happy with this purchase, I know it will get some good use. Sorry about the sideways picture, not sure why it's loading that way. Hope this review is okay.