Do mortising attachments for drill presses work?

Page 1 of 2  
I just got a LN 12" Delta at an auction for $80.
Ebay has a mortising attachment locally. Do they work, or are they just aggravation? I have never actually made a motise, so it is hard to say how many I will be doing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Toller wrote:

I have a mortising attachment. I've used it a few times. Yes, it works, but it's not the end-all woodworking device. By the time I set it up and make a few test holes, I didn't find it to be a huge improvement over drilling holes with a forstner bit and chopping out the ridges with a chisel. If I had it to do over again, I'd wait until I had a need to make a lot of mortises, then buy a dedicated mortice machine. You really should chop a few mortises by hand first anyway to appease the woodworking gods.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The Delta Mortisers do not fit all drill presses. I bought one a few years ago and returned it after it would not fit my older Craftsman machine. I subsequently used one on a friends machine. Impressions:
1) It is a compromise compared to a stand-alone mortiser. It will do the job but the shorter handles on most drill presses require quite a bit of force to achieve a mortise in hardwood.
2) Attach and teardown takes time and disables the drill press as a drilling machine during mortising. This can be overcome by planning but still a nuisance.
The mortiser does its work by leading in with a drill bit and squaring the corners with the intergal square chisel. For occasional mortising you can do the same thing in two steps. Attach a fence and carefully drill a series of holes of the correct width; then square corners and clean excess between holes with a sharp chisel. If you find yourself mortising more a dedicated machine is a good investment.
By the way, Harbor Freight sells a dedicated machine for about $100. Not a jewel but it cuts square holes and comes with decent chisels. The hold down hardware is crappy but the machine provides a better option than the drill press attachment (IMHO).
RonB
RonB

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I bought a drill press w/ that attachment years ago. I found it very aggravating. Eventually I bought a dedicated stand alone Powermatic mortiser & I'm very happy

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Howdy!

I made my Delta fit my Craftsman. It uses iron inserts in the chisel holder to grip different sized quills. I just spent some quality time with a half-round file to make it fit.

I make a lot of 3/8" mortises in (mostly) cherry. The force doesn't seem excessive to me. I have considered a stand-alone mortiser, but never acted on it.

Practice makes it go faster as well.

I don't bother trying to use the hold-down on the Delta. I just use the Armstrong method.
One of the odd ways I use the mortiser: I'm making a 1" x 1/2" hole in some wheels and handles. I drill two 1/2" holes with a brad point bit 1/2" apart. I use a hand chisel (sometimes) to do a rough cleanout of the hourglass in the middle. Then I set up the mortiser with just the chisel, and use it to clean up the hole. I can index the first pass on the two drill holes, and ease up on the ends to square them off. I can't just set up the whole rig and make two holes, because I don't have a reference face on the workpieces to square up to.
yours, Michael
--
Michael and MJ Houghton | Herveus d'Ormonde and Megan O'Donnelly
snipped-for-privacy@radix.net | White Wolf and the Phoenix narrowwares
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I bought one for my Delta DP. It works ok with 1/4" chissels. Larger chisels require taking smaller bites in hardwood. It is not as difficult to set up as some claim once you get the hang of it.
I use it only when I can't use my router to make mortises (which isn't very often). I rarely need it, but when I do need it, it is nice to have.
As an aside (not to hijack your thread) can't you get by without it for most things?
I find it interesting that Ol' Nahmie uses a mortiser very frequently, but I have yet to see David Marks use one for ANY of his projects. Marks almost always seems to use his router for mortising and the stuff he makes is not too shabby.
--
Stoutman
www.garagewoodworks.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bit of a difference in style. Norm generally makes traditional M&T joints. If he were to use a router, he would have to square one or round the other. Marks uses loose tennons almost exclusively. He also almost always uses a Multi-Router, a tool most of us do not and will not have.

I
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Mortise and tenon is one of the strongest joints in woodworking. Mortising attachments work well, but they take time to set them up properly and when set up you can't use the drill press for anything else. Buy quality mortising bits (yes, they are not cheap).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Not as well as the $100 mortiser from Harbor Freight

be
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I eBay'd my DP attachment, and now do all my machine-made mortises with a plunge router or my router table. Every January, I go through my tools and off the ones that I don't see having future utility. My DP mortiser missed the cut two years ago.
I like the bigger freestanding mortisers, but don't see where I can justify the space or cost. Especially when I want a wide drum sander, like a Performax 22-44. <G> The benchtop machines I've used in various shops haven't seemed any more useful than a plunge router and jig.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I would have to agree with Barry, I have a Delta mortiser and it has yet to be used. I am thinking ebay with it soon. I see using my router for any mortise to be made in my future. You use one with a plunge base. Support the router base with a 2x4 on each side of the end grain you are wanting to mortise and plunge away.

be
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I find the mortising attachments to be aggravating to set up and use. I quit trying a long time ago. I also have a dedicated mortising machine, which I rarely use. I've also used the PC mortise/tennon templates which is slick for short tennons, not so hot for long tennons. I have reverted to making mortising jigs for my router, and almost exclusively do it this way. I have several jigs that are somewhat adjustable.
Because I had access to all these items, I could test them to see what I liked the best. custom jigs and a router wins every time, in my book.
Frank
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It really depends on how many you'll end up doing. I had a standalone mortising machine for a long time and I hardly ever used it, I ended up selling it to a friend who uses it a lot more than I ever did. I think that it, whether it be dedicated or an attachment, is something that's only really useful if you use it a lot, otherwise there are ways to make the occasional odd mortise that don't take much more time and that don't take up space or cost more money.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I would learn to make mortises with a plunge router and use the drill press for making nice holes.
Toller wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Toller wrote:

I think the drill press attachment is not worth the aggravation.
I bought a Jet mortising machine with high hopes that I'd start using M/T.. In the end though, I hardly use it.. Most of what I do is plywood cabinents with face frames, and pocket screws are so much easier and faster.
Before you buy anything, think about the projects that you will actually use it on. My mortise machine and Tenon Table saw jig collect a lot of dust.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Might I offer a "amen" on that...
bf wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hello,
Althrough I agree for the Tenon jig for the tagle saw as they are plenty of ways to make tennons, I do not regreat my $85 HArbour Freight Mortising machine, way worth the price!
cyrille

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I bought a Delta mortise machine a while back from Rockler. It was backordered, and while waiting, I cut the mortises for the important project another way. After the machine arrived, it sat for 4 months or so, without being opened.
One of the guys in my woodworking club bought it for what I owned it for, unopened. I've not missed it.
I did buy a LN mortise chisel, though. That gets used a lot.
Patriarch
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Toller wrote:

Like many, I bought a mortise attachment (cheap, used) only to find it didn't fit my drill press.
Then I analyzed the parts. My drill press has less than 2.5" of spindle travel, and a mortise chisel might reasonably make 4" cuts. The force to press a 1/2" mortise chisel into wood is larger than a paring cut with a 1" chisel going perpendicular to grain, which is a task I usually use a mallet for; my drill press isn't (I disassembled it to be sure) really intended to apply that much force.
And the drill press column, with higher than intended force, might not be up to the load, i.e. might be too flexible. The Delta dedicated mortiser has a different kind of column. It's not an insurmountable problem, I've doodled up a design with cable/pulley construction that has zero flex on the column, and with the right cable you can put a ton of force on the cutterhead- might even build it some day.
For the foreseeable future, hand-cut will be just fine for my needs. I've hand-cut some mortises, and with a Forstner bit start it isn't too hard. Even for a bevel chisel (no, I haven't got a REAL mortise chisel in the toolbox), and even in plywood and softwoods.
By the way, I highly recommend doing practice dovetails in plywood and in softwood; it's instructive, and doing one in oak afterward is SUCH a relief!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Toller wrote:

I have the Delta drill press mortising attachment. After having bought it, I came to realize that the drill press is not really well suited for this type of work. As others have mentioned, set up is tedious and your DP is tied up until you break it down again.
I have seen the Beadlock loose tenon system (http://www.beadlock.com /) and, although I haven't bought it yet, it looks like a great idea. They try to sell you the tenon stock but I think I would just opt for the router bit and make my own. Anyone here tried this system?
Chuck
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.