mortiser advice for amateur

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I might be in the market for a mortiser. Going to look on craigs list and ebay as well, but a simple question - is the HF Central Machinery - item# 35570 any good, compared to Jet or similar at twice the price?
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Han
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On 10/8/2012 8:22 AM, Han wrote:

The important thing with any mortiser, just like chisels, is that you have to sharpen the chisel before use. You want to shoot for the outer four sides to have a mirror finish to aid with keeping the friction down and you want to use a fine cone shaped stone to remove any burr/wire edge from the inside of the chisel points. the mirror finish aids in pulling the chisel back out of the initial hole that you cut. I have not seen a mortiser of this size/caliber that does not squeel like crazy when running and not cutting, a spray dry lube helps combat this for a very short while of you could simply wear hearing protection.
The biggest difference you might find between all of the mortisers is the quality of the chisels and how often you have to resharpen them.
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Thanks, Leon!
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Han
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On 10/8/2012 8:22 AM, Han wrote:

Generally agree w/ Leon there's not a terrible lot to choose probably other than quality of chisels and they all need tuning/sharpening before use.
I have the 1/2hp Delta and in comparing pictures I think two advantages are a) looks like taller fence and b) slightly stouter holddown arm and perhaps larger base table. It lists at about 20lb heavier. Whether worth the price differential don't have a clue--the chisels that came w/ the Delta were/are not bad--no idea re: those w/ HF--they may be as good as well, particularly since Delta seems to have really slipped in the last 10 yr or so since I got the one I have w/ the P-C takeover...
One thing I'd recommend is to see it if you can--how square is the fence or easy/difficult to square it up is a big deal--if the work isn't perpendicular/square to the table so target face isn't perpendicular to shaft then the mortises will be canted and assembly goes together catty-wampus...seen that in one other import in the past.
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On 10/8/2012 9:08 AM, dpb wrote: ...

Other than I've not had the problem he mentions of the noise if the chisel/bit are in line properly--I'd think that indicates the mortising bit is off-center and rubbing on one (inner) face of the chisel preferentially. An out-of-true chisel or holder could cause that I suppose.
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"Han" wrote:

---------------------------------------------------- Found that Less than $5 worth of scrap to build a jig and a router allowed me to make a lot of mortises and keep a few bucks in my pocket.
Lew
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On Monday, October 8, 2012 8:22:27 AM UTC-5, Han wrote:

I am not a big HF tool advocate but about ten years ago I bought one of their mortisers on a whim. They had it on sale for $99 and I had just returned one of the Delta drill press kits because it didn't fit my older drill press.
A quick review (remember this was 10 years ago):
- Plenty of power. I had used my cousin's Powermatic a couple of times and the HF isn't quite that beefy but it does the job.
- Hold-down hardware system sucks. I have thought about building my own out of aluminum extrusion but so far backing up the plastic that came with the mortiser, with clamps, works.
- Plunge mechanism is OK. A curved bar would have been better but it cost $99.
- Chisels - Good. Actually quite good. The chisels provide the final product and they seem to hold up well and sharpen well. You will want to find some of the cone-shaped honing tools. Lee Valley sells them but I found a couple at a local tool shop.
- ON/OFF Switch - Worked fine for a couple of years then quit. Radio Shack has a replacement.
Bottom line is it cuts square holes and slots and with a bit of care you can keep them lined up well. That is why I wanted a mortising machine and it does the job.
RonB
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On 10/8/2012 6:22 AM, Han wrote:

Learn how to do it with a router and forget those pain in the ass machines.
There are several ways to do mortising with a router that produce a much faster,cleaner mortise than any machine I have seen.
Here is just a couple:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ygBmNrQkN4


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USPF70cbLHQ

http://www.cgallery.com/jpthien/mj.htm
If you root around youtube you will find "many" ways to do it with a router.
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For the coffee table I think I'd rather have mortises directly in the rails for my coffee table, not the strips with dados. Hence my looking at a mortising machine that could easily make 1/4" square holes for the spindles' tenons. But thinking more about it, I now think I'll make the spindles for the coffee table fatter and use small dominos "floating tenon-wise" to attach them to the rails.
Thanks for letting me think out loud <grin>.
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Han
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On 10/8/2012 11:47 AM, Han wrote:

No need to do that, Han.
Here's how to effect the same thing, without compromise, and without the expense of buying a hollow chisel mortiser.
Notice the rounded mortises cut in the tops and bottoms of the side aprons to hold the spindle tenons:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopArtsCraftsSofaTable#5790349811362332338
I used the Multi-Router, but you will use the Domino to cut the same mortises in the aprons ONLY.
Now, cut your tenons on each end of the spindles with your table saw and fence (be sure to make the spindles longer to allow for the depth of the mortises on each side).
Now, simply round the edges of the tenons with a file to fit in the round mortises in the aprons ... just takes a few seconds to file the 1/8" radius to fit in a 1/4" wide mortise.
Let me know if this is not clear to you.
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On 10/8/2012 1:23 PM, Swingman wrote:

https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopArtsCraftsSofaTable#5790349811362332338
Han, these dimensions make for a nice looking spindle, and one where the tenons are easy to cut on the table saw because you only need 1/8" of the blade exposed, and the mortises can be cut to 1/4 x 1/2:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopArtsCraftsSofaTable#5797009421199739506
You don't need to use a dado stack to cut them on the table saw, just a miter gauge and fence; and with only 1/8" exposed you can safely use the old back and forth trick over the top of the spinning blade to clean up the tenon shoulders.
Makes for a nice looking spindle, and one that will not rotate, with or without glue, which can be a problem when you try to do a full floating tenon for spindles.
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OK, Karl! Thanks a lot ...
I will indeed use the Domino to make the mortises in the rails/aprons, then the table saw to make tenons (as squared off rectangles) on the spindles (which I had also thought to be 3/4x1/2" for the coffee table), and file the tenns' edges round. Sounds like a plan!!
I used my Incra 1000SE mitergauge with Incra stop thingy before to make the tenons on the 1/2" spindles exactly like you described, but these tenons will need to be a bit longer.
On your coffeetable with display case, what did you use for the two shelves? 3/4" edge-glued boards, or 1/2" plywood? Seems like a waste to thickness the boards down to 1/2".
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Han
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On 10/8/2012 3:37 PM, Han wrote:

3/4" thick, edge glued boards. The span is too great for 1/2" stock
Consider womenfolk think nothing of putting 42lbs of coffee table books and magazines on the bottom shelf of a coffee table, so plan ahead for the real possibility of sag.
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LOL, Thanks!!
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Han
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LOL! Now, included on my list, when dry fitting: Have the womenfolk come in and field test the design. Check!
Sonny
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Which sagged, the womenfolk or the table shelf? <gd&r>
-- Energy and persistence alter all things. --Benjamin Franklin
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Tsk, tsk
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Han
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On Mon, 08 Oct 2012 16:32:07 -0500, Swingman wrote:

And you're being optimistic - just ask my wife :-).
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On 10/8/2012 9:47 AM, Han wrote:

I didn't know about that snazzy Domino...forget the router for now, but when you get the time, learn the process with a router or buy that big-ass Domino that is now available. I think that we will see several companies give that a shot in time.
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Pat, that Big-ass Domino XL is for real woodworkers like Swingman and Leon (grin). I'll have to just double-up some of the bigger size dominos with the regular machine, if it comes to that with bigger "stuff" that I would make, but for which there aren't any plans yet.
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Han
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