Mortise by machine question.

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Last week I assembled my new Delta mortising machine. Put in the bit and made a few practice cuts in maple. Cut great and I was ready to go.
My first project, however is going to be pine. I got some furniture grade stuff and figured it would be a good way to learn the art of m & t joints. Using the same setup, the bit does not cut all that well. The maple gives off a nice chip that is easily ejected through the slot in the chisel. The pine loads up between the tip and the opening. In 16 cuts, I had to removed it about 6 times. I have the chisel a little honing, but it seemed to make little difference. I tried more clearance and it did not seem to matter. Went back to the maple and it cut OK. I'm stumped. Any suggestions? I have 16 more mortises to make.
Oh, I used the "40" method of setup. I did not have a dime so I used a nickel and five pennies. It that OK? ;)
--
Ed
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May have to adjust the RPMs when going from hardwood to soft? I'm not really sure as I have one of these attachments for my drillpress and it does nothing but collects dust.

That's fine, it's like my method of when a machine can't pass the nickel test, just tape 5 pennies together. They can almost all pass that one.
Frank
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wrote:

Pine's horrible stuff. Fluffs up when you cut it, and there might be resin in there too.
How many flutes on the auger ? There are one flute and two flute versions. Single flutes have more space and are supposed to clear chips better on softwoods.
I tend to use an undersized chisel, and plunge the first cut with a lot of trouble. Then I cut adjacent to it, which doesn't bind in the mortice because of the open side. It's quicker for me to cut four 3/8" plunges than to cut one 3/4" plunge. -- Smert' spamionam
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This is a single

Good idea, but I'm making 1/4" so I can't do it this time. I can nibble at a side though. Thanks, Ed
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If you marked your mortises you could just go to the drill press first for some preliminary material removal. Set depth stop (or not) and just drill out quick holes inside the marked area. Then go to the mortiser and do your mortising just to square it up and remove what material is left. It will mean less hard work on the mortiser. I can't imagine it taking alot longer either, since you'll be spending less time hanging from the lever arm on the mortiser. Perhaps I am overstating it.
I've just got my mortiser so I don't claim to be an expert yet, but I've thought of this scenario, i.e. what to do on really tough woods when I have alot of stuff to remove. I remember the drill press was very fast doing preliminary cuts before chiseling or routing. Its a similar concept to using the DP to remove material before routing after all. Noone wants to stand there with a plunge router and turn 50 cubic inches of hardwood into powder to make mortises, the majority is removed on the drill press. So why not apply the preliminary DP work to mortising as well. At least when it comes to deep ones, or on woods that are annoying (like your beloved pine).
--
The software said it ran under Windows 98/NT/2000, or better.
So I installed it on Linux...
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Probably what I'll do. I still have to prep the stock.
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have
What surpised me was the fact that he hard wood was easy and the soft wood was hard. I've not tried jatoba or anything like that yet. Ed
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Pine is probably the toughest wood to mortise with a machine because it is so soft and collapses rather than cuts. It can also be loaded with sap that mkaes it clog stuff up. I have had better success by taking half-bites in pine, but even that depends on how soft and sappy (no wise cracks...) the wood is.
Tom Hintz www.newwoodworker.com
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I was afraid of that. This will probably be my last m & t in Pine now that I know. Thanks, Ed
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wrote:

There's "pine" and "pine". Some sorts are much nicer to work than others.
Here in the UK, most of the "pine" that the Sheds sell is actually low-grade spruce or hemlock. If you can find some half-decent pine that wasn;t grown like a rocket, it's not too bad. I tend to stick to 100 year old reclamation, rather than new.
This was a Xmas present http://codesmiths.com/shed/things/boxes/sarah / Made from parana pine, it was quite pleasant to work. Parana has a reputation for toughness, but I found it very easy going.
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I had a similar problem when I was trying to teach my self how to hand cut dovetails in pine. No matter how sharp I made the chisel the wood just crushed. I posted this fact to another NG and I was told to try it on a harder wood. I picked up some Poplar and gave it another try. What a difference the type of wood made. I still have a long way to go but I practice on hardwood now and I get better every time.
Good Luck and God Speed.
Tom S.
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What about drilling the hole out first with a 1/4" bit, and just using the mortise chisel to square the hole? It's a whole extra step, but should eliminate a lot of wood chips... Eric to e-mail, remove 'nojunk' from e-mail address
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I may do that. The extra step will save time in the long run since I have to remove the chisel to clear the bit every couple of holes.
From the little I've done so far, I don't anticipate problems from hardwood. Of course, I did not anticipate problems here either. Ed
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I have the same machine... If the chisel is "razor sharp", it will cut the pine, but pine seems to do better with a router, which is not the answer you are looking for. Try using a piece of poplar as your "test bed" to see how sharp the bits and the chisel really are.
Even furniture grade white pine is bit of a pain to work with.
I have found that hardwoods seem to do the best with that machine.
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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Just did 2 dozen M&T joints in oak today. It's a lot smoother & cleaner than pine. Broke the 1/4" bit with 5 tenons to do. It just bound in the piece and snapped. I sharpened the remaining piece of the bit on the sander, lowered it and continued. Had to bear down a bit more and didn't have flat forstner bottoms, but got the job done. Quarter inch chisel for cleanup and now I need to get a new quarter inch bit. So much for the ones with Delta. Recommenations appreciated ...
Jerry
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wrote: Not to sound snobish but lose the chisel mortise machine. Buy a plunge router and build a nice sled for it to make the all important mortises...If money is not an object then consider a horizontal boring machine. Their spiral bits and fine ajustment capabilities are wonderful.
Oak is good...Cherry is better...
TJB

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I already have the plunge router. I just like the idea of square holes. If I was a true traditionalist I'd be doing them by hand so I guess I'm only semi-traditional. Ed
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I have a plunge router, but I like the idea of square TENONS. I've never been able to make a pretty enough rounded tenon, except for once in my Leigh jig (not the M&T - the dovetail).
I also have occasion to make angled through mortises through about 5" of wood [1]. Hard to do with a router.
[1] The wedges in this:
http://www.delorie.com/wood/projects/tables/dining0001.png
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http://www.delorie.com/wood/projects/tables/dining0001.png
Rounded will perform as well, but for appearance, square is best. Nice work. Ed
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I use pine for all my projects and I do have a Delta mortise machine. What I have found is the quality of pine, humidity content and where the pine comes from makes a huge difference. Another detail that is important is when the tree was cut down. We cut our pine tress for furniture making during the coldest months (January / February). This reduces the amount of sap found in the wood and will mill and finish better. I recently made a bed and I expected some minor issues since the pine was not furniture grade and the humidity level was high. I was able to do the mortises by plunging the first pass about half pulling out and completing the remaining depth. The following sides usually go well.
I will be starting a new project this weekend with excellent quality wood and I do not expect any problems. I will post the progress or deceptions. BTW pine furniture making in my part of the country is very popular and in demand. We also have an abundance of white pines to work with.
D.Martin

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We bought a Bennington pine dining room set back in 1976. Well made and still beautiful furniture. It is massive compared to most with a 12/4 table top and Admirals chairs that you can sit in comfortably for long periods of time.
While I like working with some "fancier" woods, pine is about half of what I do. It is the only wood that I'll apply a stain to. Ed
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