Are mortising machines worth it?

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Forum topic by GT350 posted 05-06-2018 03:26 PM 1377 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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379 posts in 2782 days

05-06-2018 03:26 PM

I usually cut mortises by drilling them with my drill press then I clean the up with a chisel, this works well but is time consuming. Those of you that have mortising machines are they worth having and if so is there enough difference to get the heavier duty machine like the Powermatic 719?

17 replies so far

View EricTwice's profile


248 posts in 1334 days

#1 posted 05-06-2018 03:33 PM

If you are cutting a lot of them, yes
I only use them occasionally. I have a mortising jig for my drill press. less cost good results

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View ScottM's profile


747 posts in 2947 days

#2 posted 05-06-2018 03:37 PM

Maybe just make jig for your router. Then all of you need to do is square up the ends or round the ends of your tenons.

View Andre's profile


3622 posts in 2607 days

#3 posted 05-06-2018 03:39 PM

Kind of thinking the same thing, only usually, always chop the mortise out by hand. Takes way too long to set up the drill press rig unless I was going to do more than a dozen? I started to drill out the waste with a forstner bit then clean out the corners, speeds up the process. I keep looking for a good used machine at a reasonable price.
The Rikon with the x-y table is at Lee Valley now and is on the wish list, maybe it will follow me home one day, or perhaps their new PMV-11 mortise chisel ( same price ) may win out!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Rich's profile


5688 posts in 1390 days

#4 posted 05-06-2018 03:59 PM

I have a Jet mortiser that comes in handy for deep mortises on residential doors, but for everyday loose tenon joinery I use the router. I ran across Philip Morley’s design a while back and built one. It works beautifully and has many of the same features of the expensive commercial jigs.

I did a project and review for it and the plans for it. Here’s a link to the project. It also contains a link to the review. Be sure to watch the video to fully understand its features and how to use it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2287 days

#5 posted 05-06-2018 04:06 PM

If you are cutting a lot of them, yes

- EricTwice


-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5859 posts in 3110 days

#6 posted 05-06-2018 04:22 PM

In my opinion….Yes.
That being said, it depends on the person. Some hand tool guys like doing them by hand. Others find ways to do it to avoid spending money. Some of us just want to get the job done ASAP. I’m an ASAP so yeah go for one of the mortise machines. I like the horizontal mortising or the Festool Domino. That being said, I have never use a hollow chisel mortriser so I can say anything about those other that there are times where a square end mortrises are desirable.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Alan72's profile


222 posts in 2834 days

#7 posted 05-06-2018 04:52 PM

I have a Baileigh floor Mortise machine, I don’t use it all the time but when I need it, it’s nice to have. I bought this because I always wanted a floor mortiser so to me it is worth the investment. IT’s also nice to have the built-in hold downs and the X and Y table compared to the bench top models. If I had to do it all over I would’ve gone with the Powermatic it’s a seems to be a better machine then the Baileigh.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4449 days

#8 posted 05-06-2018 05:29 PM

I had a Powermatic. Nice machine. I sold it
though to clear out space.

If you’re looking for time savings in woodworking
I think sanding machines may save more time
than joinery machines, depending on what you

Horizontal slot mortisers can mortise the ends of
boards which can get you out of messing around
with tenoning setups most of the time.

View GT350's profile


379 posts in 2782 days

#9 posted 05-06-2018 05:57 PM

I don’t mortise the ends of boards but I do make a lot of face frames and chairs that are mortise and tenon. You are correct about the sanding machine though, I have a drum sander that really helps projects.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6173 posts in 3614 days

#10 posted 05-06-2018 06:09 PM

I have both a bench top Delta and a floor model Jet mortiser. For the arts and crafts style furniture I build, I wouldn’t be without a mortiser. A bench top mortiser will be leaps and bounds ahead of the drill press method.

If you’re churning out lots of projects, a floor model is easier on the arm and shoulder. You exert about half the effort with a floor model compared to a bench top model. I broke a few parts on my Delta pulling too hard, but it was repairable.
Good luck.

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

View Andre's profile


3622 posts in 2607 days

#11 posted 05-06-2018 06:54 PM

Forgot I had this machine! A very handy machine with many uses? Something else to consider?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View AandCstyle's profile


3283 posts in 3058 days

#12 posted 05-06-2018 10:00 PM

I just sold a bench top mortiser because I started using a Domino. I have used a Powermatic floor machine and it was sweet. They are roughly comparable in cost, but the Domino seems to be a better option for me. YMMV

-- Art

View HTown's profile


114 posts in 1987 days

#13 posted 05-07-2018 01:30 AM

I’ve got a General International benchmount. It makes quick work of mortises. I never tried a router jig, but they are probably a good alternative.

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1296 days

#14 posted 05-07-2018 01:55 AM

I think the best tool for mortising depends on what you are making. I’m working on a set of chairs right now and I’m using the Leigh FMT (a router mortiser) and it’s working great for all of the angled mortises needed.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View ppg677's profile


221 posts in 1657 days

#15 posted 05-07-2018 02:20 AM

If you re looking for time savings in woodworking
I think sanding machines may save more time
than joinery machines, depending on what you

What kind of sanding machines save time?

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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