Mortising Machine

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Forum topic by Andrewst posted 10-10-2016 05:43 AM 1041 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 1842 days

10-10-2016 05:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: mortising joining tip question

Hello All,
I am in the market for a mortising machine. I am wondering if anyone of you have any tips when looking for one or if you have any recommendations when looking for one. Please send me the brands to go with and maybe ones that have been a problem to other people.



-- Andrew, Home Hobbyist, Canada

9 replies so far

View Robert's profile


4520 posts in 2533 days

#1 posted 10-10-2016 12:11 PM

I picked up a used Powermatic floor mortiser. Great machine. I wasn’t considering a floor model, but getting this machine for $400 was such a deal I couldn’t pass it up.

You don’t specify, but if you can spring for a floor model, then I highly recommend the PM.

For benchtop models, I know many will disagree, but IMO 1/2 HP is underpowered. I think 3/4 is minimum and 1 best. That eliminated all except the Powermatic 3/4 HP and the Woodtek 1HP model (which I think has been discontinued). I was leaning toward the Woodtek when I discovered the XY table Rikon.

I read mixed reviews on the Rikon but the WC people assured me I could return it if I didn’t like it. I was actually going to my local WC store to buy the Rikon model on sale, when I found the ad for the PM the night.

Bottom line: I would check out the Rikon XY table model.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8337 posts in 1765 days

#2 posted 10-10-2016 03:27 PM

I find that my drill press set up is fine for me …. since I do not make a lot of furniture ….... you must consider just how much you will use it …..... then you can decide on a model ….....also CL is a good place to start …...... people that bought and hardly used theirs

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View ChefHDAN's profile


1803 posts in 3902 days

#3 posted 10-10-2016 03:36 PM

Yep, you’ve got to decide how much you’ll use it. I keep watching for them on Craig’s list to see if I could get a silly deal for one under $100 because I’ve gotten pretty good with just doing them on the router table. The Domino then threw a whole new wrench into the decision because why buy a single function tool when the Domino can do SO much more & mortises….. But Festool is dammed expensive… Let’s see, cost of tool / number of uses x number of hours to play = I keep using the router… but one day…....

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View pintodeluxe's profile


6345 posts in 3866 days

#4 posted 10-10-2016 03:38 PM

I have used the Delta benchtop in the past. I made perhaps thousands of mortises with it, and it did produce satisfactory results. However, it requires significant effort to mortise with a 1/2” chisel. Also the hold-down didn’t work very well. As you retract the chisel, the workpiece would lift up or rack, causing the chisel to bind. I broke an inner gear, handle hub, and several locking knobs on the Delta. I repaired them successfully, but at a cost and inconvenience.

I now use a Jet JFM-5 floor model (same castings as the Powermatic but no tilting table) and it is a dream.
Here is my review on the Jet floor model…

I think if I was looking at a bench unit today, I would get the Powermatic 701.
The Rikon is tempting because of the X-Y table, however the table is very small and it gets poor reviews.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CB_Cohick's profile


493 posts in 2304 days

#5 posted 10-10-2016 04:43 PM

I have a Delta benchtop mortiser I got from Craig’s List. It works well, but I don’t think I would buy it again. Here’s why. 1) The collar that holds the mortising chisel in place is 5/8” in diameter. There are chisels of that size available (Lee Valley) but there is a much wider selection in 3/4” and from multiple sources. 2) The chuck key is unavailable anywhere as far as I know. When I lose or break the current key, I am in the market for a Jet mortiser probably.

-- Chris - Would work, but I'm too busy reading about woodwork.

View moke's profile


1754 posts in 3829 days

#6 posted 10-10-2016 04:43 PM

+1 with ChefHDAn be sure to check craigslist or ebay. It seems lots of people buy a mortising machinem becasuse they think they need one. Then they discover Kreg jigs, and doweling and it sits….so there are a lot of them out there.
I personally have a jet and like it well…

-- Mike

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3452 days

#7 posted 10-10-2016 05:16 PM

I have really enjoyed my General tilting bench-top mortise machine.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View dschlic1's profile


507 posts in 3022 days

#8 posted 10-10-2016 06:09 PM

Woodsmith Magazine has plans for a DIY mortise that uses a router:

View AandCstyle's profile


3296 posts in 3310 days

#9 posted 10-10-2016 09:46 PM

Andrew, I have a Jet bench top model that I don’t use because of the poor hold down and I really like the speed and accuracy of cutting mortises with a router. FWIW

-- Art

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