Mortise Press Question

Do many woodworkers use a mortise press? I am interested in building some mission style furniture and was thinking this could be a great tool to add to my quiver. (Especially since my wife will be footing the bill. I have a birthday coming up.)
I am not really looking for the challenge of chiseling all the mortises by hand. In fact, I doubt if I would attempt it if I had do it by hand.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
So Long, Brad
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
IMO, it's a relatively cheap investment for the return in time saved, particularly with Mission style furniture. Many brands to choose from. I own a Delta, but would advise finding a place you can do hands on comparison and decide for yourself. Jet, ShopFox, and Delta seem to be the contenders you hear most about in the lower price ranges. Of those, I was impressed most with the dovetail gib construction of the Delta, but haven't seen any of the newer versions and don't know whether quality is still up to par.
Good, sharp, properly installed chisels and drills are a must for the benchtop models to perform well, so spend some money on those for best performance, regardless of which brand you choose.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 9/21/03
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated. I will look hard at the Delta. It got good reviews.

own
and
the
some
add
a
by
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You want to push your luck with your wife? Two machines that have most of the bells and whistles- XY table, good hold in, more than adequate HP for doing 3/4 and 1 inch mortises are the PowerMatic 719A and the General International 75-075 M1
Here's a page I put up about the General www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/Mortiser.html
And here's a side by side of the two units
www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/MortisersComparison.html
The General has a feature that the PM 719A doesn't - a tilting head so you can do chairs and other pieces that require non-square to the face mortises.
charlie b
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've been wondering about that... The head tilts in a plane parallel to the long axis of the mortise. How does that help with construction of a chair? It seems to me that you'd want a head that tilts in a plane *perpendicular* to the long axis of the mortise if you're making a chair.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug Miller wrote:

Actually, on some chair backs you want to tilt back and to the side. So the General tilting head takes care of one angle and the jig shown at this URL takes care of the other. The jig as shown is for use with a horizontal mortiser but the idea, with minor modifications, would work on a Vertical mortising machine
www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/!RaysMortiser1/RaysJig3.html
charlie b
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Heidinger wrote:

I've had better luck with a router than I have had with my Jet benchtop mortiser. Cutting white oak with a 1/4" chisel was frustrating, but better than hand cutting the mortises.
A router with an upcut bit and template worked very well.
The new Leigh FMT jig is exceptional for cutting mortises and tenons quickly and accruratly. The Leigh FMT cost about twice as much as the Jet mortiser with a Delta tenoning jig for the table saw.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Opposite experience. Got the Jet, it works great, and I've used it for angles with wedges, at all three chisel sizes, and several varieties of domestic wood, not including white oak.
I would, however recommend carefully deburring your chisels prior to your first cut. Have resharpened one already with the cone sharpeners from Lee Valley. (77J81.20), and it worked as advertised.
Oh yes, setting the bit properly is a _big_ part of success. I do it the way Jet recommends.

some
add
a
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George responds:

I'll have to get some of the LV cones. I've got the Jet (and just got the new Shopfox), and find that doing a good job on the chisels is a make or break deal. Works without special prep, but work is the operative word there. Works really neat with deburring and light sharpening. Both oaks, pine, cherry, a wee bit of walnut.
Charlie Self
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas J. Watson
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
It's such a pleasure that I'm revising my knock-down stand for craft fairs to use tusk tenons. No hill for the Jet to climb.

new
Works
a wee

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie (and George),
When you say debur the chisels it sounds like you mean taking them off on the outside edge of the chisel itself. I was told to never file (or sandpaper, whatever) the outside edge because it changes the size of the mortise. I looked at the LV cones (they are now on my Cmas list :) and it looks like it would probably put a burr on the back. Help!?
Thanks, Mike

[snip]

Lee
[snip]
new
Works
a wee

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The burr is that metal which is proud of the main surface. A couple of swipes with the very finest stone or paper is more than enough, usually. Next sharpening will remove any undersized metal anyway. You also want to take the new chisels, wrap some wet/dry tightly around a suitable rod, and debur the inside of a new chisel.

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

A couple of other points - I've found that the chisel tends to bind in the hole when making a deep mortice, making it difficult to withdraw (I suspect shavings being ejected are the problem). I have had better success by running the first cut half way down, cutting the adjacent spot half way, then returning to make the first cut all the way down.
I've also found, again on deep mortices, that the chisel can deflect into the mortice on the last (end) cut, making the bottom of the mortice narrower than intended. I resolve this by cutting both ends first, then working thru the middle.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John McCoy, , do you have a URL or summary of instructions for Jet recommendation on setting bit properly? Also thanks for the Lee Valley lead on cone sharpeners.....Fred
Fred D Grosse snipped-for-privacy@compuserve.com Chantilly, VA

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I got this bit/chisel setting method from the Fisch rep - their mortising chisel/bit sets are pretty good - and pricey
www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/MChiselBitSettingTrick.html
charlie b
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use a JET benchtop mortiser. It's not perfect, but it's a *lot* less expensive than the free-standing Powermatic, General Int'l, or Fisch mortisers. And it beats the daylights out of doing them by hand IMO.
I've been generally happy with it, but with some reservations:
a) You still need to use chisels for hand clean-up of the mortises. Doesn't take long, and not a big deal. Just be aware that the results are not quite ready for glue-up. This problem is, I believe, Common To All Benchtop Mortisers In This Price Range (CTABTMITPR).
b) Shimming is necessary in various spots to get the table square to the fence, and to eliminate play in the fence adjustment. Again, I believe this to be CTABTMITPR.
c) As it came from the factory, there was more side-to-side play in the mechanism than I'm happy with. It can be adjusted out, but at the cost of increasing the effort required to operate the machine. Again, I believe this to be CTABTMITPR in varying degrees. The play is noticeably less in the (much more expensive) free-standing mortisers.
d) The hold-down mechanism sucks big-time. Definitely CTABTMITPR. There are ways of dealing with this, though. Do a Google search on this group; there were suggestions posted (IIRC) about 6 months ago. The October '03 issue of Popular Woodworking has a one-page article on tuning the JET, and the suggestions appear applicable to other brands as well.
e) It's necessary to unclamp, move, and reclamp the wood multiple times to cut a mortise. Definitely CTABTMITPR, and something of a PITA. It would be much faster to cut mortises with one of the free-standing machines, which all have movable tables so that you clamp the wood once, and turn a crank to move wood, table, and clamp together. OTOH, those machines cost around US$700, versus $200 or so for most of the benchtop units.
f) The fence is adjusted by sliding it in or out; this is difficult to do with precision, and a handwheel adjustment would make it much easier. This is CTABTM, though. The handwheel adjustments are available only on the free-standing machines with movable tables. Did I mention that those cost a lot more than the benchtop units?
I'll give you the same advice my SWMBO gave me, when I was trying to decide between spending $200 on the JET benchtop unit vs. $700 on the obviously better Powermatic free-standing one:
You've never used one of these before, so you don't know exactly what you need.
If you buy the JET, and later on you're not satisfied with it, go buy the Powermatic, then put an ad in the paper (or on ebay) and sell the JET. It'll probably bring around $125, and you've wasted $75.
On the other hand, if you buy the Powermatic first, and it's more machine than you need, you've wasted $500.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 02:31:59 GMT, "Heidinger"
A morticing machine ?
I have one of the cheapest out there. http://www.axminster.co.uk/default.asp?part M It's a piece of junk, but I use it a lot. A good morticer is still quite expensive (more than I an afford) and I don't think those costing slightly more than the one I have are a worthwhile improverment.
A morticer depends on the quality of the chisels you use. The problem I have is that teh cheap machine uses a small size chisel shank that isn't made by the good quality chisel makers (like Multico) and I simple can't buy a really good chisel that fits.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

[...]
the mortising machines which work like a chainsaw seem to be not very popular?
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 14:21:10 +0100, Juergen Hannappel

They're wonderful, but _very_ expensive and a bit large for cabinetmaking ! -- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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.