Mortiser vs. Drill Press

Hey group,
I am looking to purchase either a drill press and mortising kit or a dedicated mortiser to help me out with my furniture-making ambitions. I initially thought that the drill press and mortising kit would be the way to go because it would be more versatile. Since I have a limited tool-buying budget (If I still hope to buy lumber anyways), I thought it would be a nice, cost-effective compromise. However, I have heard that the mortising kit/drill press combo isn't entirely satisfactory for cutting mortises on a regular basis. I've heard that the dedicated mortiser (as one might guess) is more user-friendly and does a better job overall. That said, I have a couple questions for the group:
1) What do you use your drill presses for in your shop? My reason for initially leaning towards the drill press/mortise kit combination is, as I mentioned, because of the ability to also use the drill press as a drill press. However, the only uses I can come up with are to cut plugs and possibly for spinning sanding drums (which, I'm told, is another job they're not ideally suited for). I don't think I'd do either on a regular basis.
2) If you've used a mortising kit, what were your impressions of the quality of the job it did and its usability?
3) Considering the price of a delta bench-top drill press plus mortising kit is about equal to the delta bench-top dedicated mortiser (including 4 bits and a few other handy gewgaws), which would you go for in my position? Keep in mind that I already have a good hand-held drill that's worked just fine for making holes up to this point. (I can even make the holes end up passably straight most of the time!)
I guess the main thing I'm trying to assess is the real utility of having a drill press, and whether it outweighs the advantages of going for the dedicated mortiser. At this point I am leaning towards the mortiser unless I hear some great reason to have a drill press instead. Thank you all for your help!
Regards, Adam Diehl
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That is the general consensus here. Some guys get good results witht he attachment, more have been frustrated by the attachments. I've never tried one so I can't comment any more about them. Dedicated tools are always better than combination tools.

I've mande a lot of outdoor furniture with slats that reuired four holes in each, maby 100 to 150 holes per piece. The drill press is fast, accurate, allows for easy repeatability by using a fence and stops. Good for drilling large diameter holes with a hole saw. Yes, you can live without it, but it gets regular use in my shop.

Can't help you here.

You may be very happy with the add on. I don't know your pocketbook well enough to say for sure. Changing back and forth is a problem mentioned in this group. A DP and dedicated machine is going to cost about $450.US The adapter would be wasted money in the long run.
Keep in mind that I already have a good hand-held drill that's

Then go for it! You can always get a DP later. You can live without it, but once you have it, you don't ever want to see it go away. Ed
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Since I was just on this newsgroup asking for advice concerning the operation of my new Delta mortiser, I am no expert on the subject. However, I can say after messing around with some hardwood scraps and a 1/2" mortising bit that it takes a great deal of force on the mortiser's lever to advance the bit into the wood. I also have a Jet 14" drill press and doubt that one could exert the force necessary to do the same using the drill press (without eventually damaging it). In short, if you have the money go with the dedicated mortiser or, perhaps, use a router for the same task. I don't think the drill press is a good substitute. FYI Amazon is currently selling the better Delta mortiser for less than $200 with the usual free shipping.
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If you are just starting out you would be further ahead buying a drill press and a set of forstner bits. You can bore out most of the mortise with a forstner bit and clean it up with a chisel. It takes more time that way but you will find way more uses for a drill press. A day does not go by in the shop where me or my wife (she turns) don't use the drill press. I currently have a 12" Delta benchtop which has been reliable tool. My next major purchase will be a full sized drill press then I will get a dedicated mortiser.
Have Fun Wade

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wrote:

press, a set of forstner bits, and some decent chisels and you will be able to make mortises as good as or better than a mortiser. IME the mortiser will need cleaning out with a chisel anyway and you can use the drill press, bits, and chisels for many other applications. You do need to learn how to sharpen the chisels, however.
TWS
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When I think about my drill press, I think of all the jobs I do with it and not many seem like they justify having one. Yet, it would be one of the last power tools I would give up. I use it for something every day. Its so nice to be able to drill holes exactly where you want them cleanly and squarely and at the depth you want. Drilling big holes is a pleasure compared to other alternatives (Yes, I have a brace and use it occasionally). I wouldn't waste my time and money on a mortiser kit for it, though. In fact I don't currently have the desire or need for a dedicated mortiser. That's really an exotic single purpose tool and way down on my want list. I think you would get a lot more use out of a good router. I recently did a project that required 40 large Mortise and Tenons. I cut all the mortises with the router and a simple template I made. A router cuts mortises cleaner than just about any other method. I did not have to clean up a single one of them. Once you get the hang of it and have a good jig, you can cut them reasonably quickly.
Bob
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I vote is buy a drill press and not the mortiser attachment.
I have had all three. The jig attchment frustrated me. It was a PITA to set up, and I could never get the coller to lock well enough on the quil for it to work properly. I ended up buying the delta benchtop mortiser with which I am generally pleased.
As for the drill press, you will use it for any ad all drilling that you can bring to the table. If you think that you can drill straight (perpendicular to the surface) without one, you're really good, using a fussy fixture or deluded. A DP just makes it so easy. Add to that: gobs of power (compared to a hand drill) effortless depth stopping and probably and my peronal favorite (it may sound silly but it;s a huge time saver) if you have multiple holes the same distance from an edge, clamp on a fence and whip right through them.

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On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 19:34:44 -0500, Adam Diehl

What are you mortising?
For most work, I mortise with a router and/or router table and spiral bits. Stop blocks and a fence are set up to quickly zip out the mortise. I either chop the rounded ends square with a good mortise chisel, or trim the tenon corners with bench chisels to fit them, depending on if the mortise goes all the way through.
I find the router and some good, sharp chisels to be a great combo. Setting up the router table doesn't take much longer than setting up a mortise machine. Trimming the tenon corners is extremely fast during dry fit, taking maybe ten seconds a joint.
Making lots of mission stuff with lots and lots of mortises? I'd buy a dedicated machine.
Barry
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:
Let me say that I have NOT read the other replies to your question...YET...
But years ago I faced a project that required tons of mortises and I already owned a floor model drill press . I actually borrowed a dedicated morticer from my brother for a few weeks and honestly it worked pretty darn good...
BUT I actually purchased a Morticing kit for my floor model drill press and a mid level Delta Bench top drill press instead of buying a dedicated morticer...just much more flexability in the shop...
Today I have three (3) drill presses in my shop the 2 above and another small delta cheapie that I have mounted horizontally for use as a horizointal boring machine.. ( I make a dozen or so 4 poster beds every year ) for my wife to sell at craft fairs along with her hand made dolls and doll cloths.
The Kit is NOT installed on any of the drill presses and has not been for about a year...
To answer your question on how the "kits" compare to a dedicated mortiser.... WELL not very good... ! much slower and not nearly as easy to use... BUT THEY WORK ... and in my case since I do not have to cut a lot of mortices in general I know I made the right decision...
How much do I use my drill presses... ? Honestly a heck of a lot...! How many mortises do I cut...? not that many ...!
If I cut a lot of mortises I would definitely have a dedicated machine...they work MUCH better then the add on kits
In short I can live without a Morticer BUT I can not live without the drill presses...
Bob Griffiths
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I think that most people here would agree that a drill press is a very useful item. You won't be sorry to have one.
I started out making mortises with a Forstner bit and a bench chisel. It worked okay. I later switched to regular mortising chisels (Hirsch), and found those to be reasonably fast and (for me) more accurately vertical and consistent in width than the drill press/chisel method.
Then last week for the heck of it I took a spin on some of the machines at the local hardwood store. Eyed the Jet benchtop mortising machines ... sure, they look nice, but wasn't really all that impressed. I mean, shop space is tight and I can do that job with a chisel.
Um, then I took a spin on a Powermatic 719. Locking x-y tables with stops, built in workpiece stop, cuts like butter ... more precise and consistent than I can do by hand. Now *that's* a tool. Kinda got me to thinking, if you know what I mean.
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If you like that, then have a look at the General 75-075 mortiser.
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On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 19:34:44 -0500, Adam Diehl

A drill press is very useful in the shop. You'll use it more than you had imagined.

get it adjusted, then when in use there is no drill press for other uses. The attachment is usable.

now, then save up for a floor-model drill press. At any rate, buy the highest quality you can find. Good mortising bits are not cheap.

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My vote is drill press and forget the mortiser for a while. The drill press is a much more universal tool in the shop.
Having used a Delta mortising kit on another person's machine I would bypass that option too. It did a fairly good job of cutting mortises the first few times, but after initial dulling of the bit, the drill press handles were way to short to cut easily. A bigger problem is setup/teardown time and having the machine tied up for one purpose. By the way, the kits don't fit all drill presses.
Your can predrill or bore a couple of small mortises on the drill press, and clean them up with chisels, in about the time you spend setting up and tearing down the kit.
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