So I was watching The Woodsmith shop on T.V. the other day and i really liked the square chisel and auger bit they were using on the drill press, so when i went to LOWE'S to get some wood I thought I would check the price. I find myself checking prices a a lot then buying things later.. lol… So anyways after an hour of looking and being unable to find one of these great tools, I made 3 mistakes. (1st mistake) I walked up to a Lowe's employee thinking he could help, after asking if he worked in the tool department and if he had a general knowledge of woodworking tools he confirmed that he did, (2nd mistake) I asked if they sold a square bit to make mortise and tenon joints.. The man looks at me and says "what kind of tin are you cutting"???(mistake 3) I should have just walked away, but instead I stood there wasting 20 minutes of my day to explain to him what a mortise and tenon joint was just for him to say "no we don't carry anything like that, you need to look online or contact someone like rigid or dewalt and see if you can special order it because that sounds like a special made tool". Point being Lowe's really needs to hire people with more knowledge or tell their employees not to lie about their knowledge. I mean there is nothing wrong with not knowing something but hey I am new to woodworking and even I know what the joint is..
I once asked Skippy Stockboy in an HD if they biscuits. Looking puzzled, he pointed toward the front of the store and said "Burger King across the street has biscuits, I think".
Anyway, the mortising attachments for the DP are a mixed blessing. If it's something you will use once a year or less, they may be worth having….otherwise I'd figure out a different way to cut mortises. The are finicky to set up, the short handle of the DP doesn't offer enough leverage for the larger sizes, and the Delta set I have came with a pretty poor chisel set. Just on of those "caveat emptor" things (IMHO).
I've used both the attachment for the drill press and a dedicated mortising machine, both PC if I recall. They both had the same two issues-getting the chisel part perfectly square and the bits tend to snap under the load.
It's so difficult to mount the chisel square so each consecutive cut lines up perfectly with the one before it, that the inside of the mortise still needs to be smoothed with a hand chisel. I think it may be that the set screw has already made a dimple that it keeps falling into. So if the chisel is not set perfectly square the first time, it will never be after that. Still, it's good for hogging out more wood than a drill bit by itself would do. Just have to keep in mind it's not a finished mortise but rather, a rough mortise in need of finishing up.
I'm not sure if the bits breaking might have been due to poor quality bits or if they were simply not mounted properly. I believe the tip of the bit and the cutting end of the chisel have to be aligned just right or there will be too much stress on the bit. It may also be that I was trying to hog out too much wood at a time, but that's hard to determine since it takes some muscle to drive it into the wood in the first place. One thing is for sure, it works best to go a little at a time. I would go 1/2" to 1" and back off, then again until I reach the given depth. This is especially so when first starting a mortise, as the wood being pulled out has nowhere to go.
I think it's a good tool to have if you do a lot of mortises, but I wouldn't bother setting it up for just a few mortises. An auger and a couple of sharp chisels does a better job quicker.
I worked in the electrical department in Lowe's for a while. My son has his grandfather's sense of humor- he asked me for a bucket of electricity. I asked him if he needed AC or DC.
I do recall seeing a video of a type of drilling gadget that did actually drill a square hole. My son is now a ME and he found it to be very interesting.
I appreciate all the advise guys I am still learning and there is so much to learn..I think i will go with the chisels for now like some of you suggested at least till i actually get a shop instead of another tool to have to drag out in the driveway when i want to use it.. Also i have seen (somewhere I dont remember where) mortise and tenon joints that where rounded on the ends instead of square, anyone know how they cut these? Sorry in advance if this is a stupid Lowe's question lol
Usually when you see a mortise that has a rounded end, it was cut with a router. A lot of guys square those mortises up with chisels for the tenons, I just knock the corners off the tenon with a utility knife. There is a jig that cuts both the mortise and the tenon with rounded ends…that would be the Leigh FMT. A bit pricey.
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