I could use a little advice. I've been cutting my mortises either with
Forstner bits and chisels, or more recently with real (eg Neander)
mortising chisels. I took a local class where they had a Powermatic
719 mortiser. What a sweet machine! So now I've had this conversion
that a Power Mortiser would be Darned Nice to Have. Yep, Christmas and
Bday are right around the corner, too.
So I'm looking around at mortisers, and I'm wondering: as a hobbyist
making mostly furniture, can I really justify the cost of a Powermatic
719? Is it worth it? Or -- since I'm not in the production biz --
will a Delta 14-651 fit the bill?
Obviously the Powermatic is a nicer machine. But for the hobbyist, is
it worth the price difference ($225 vs $800)? I am not rich enough
that I can afford to squander my money on something beyond my needs ...
and I'm not crazy enough to go too cheap on my tools.
Of course y'all will want to know what I plan to make .... FWIW, I plan
to use it on some bigger pieces I'll be making after the new year
(e.g., buffet, sideboards, etc). I've been in woodworking now for a
couple of years and I've made enough projects that I'm pretty sure this
is a long-term hobby for me.
Thanks in advance,
Would you all rather have the Powermatic mortiser or for (apparently)
the same money have the Leigh FMT?
Just wondering cause I'm thinking about taking the plunge (so to
Does the considered budget for the Leigh include all the bits, templates
and a decent plunge router or two? How does the Powermatic compare
pricewise, when you add in all of its necessities?
The Leigh looked to be an extremely well designed system, really versatile,
and it almost enticed the Visa card from my wallet, until I added up the
totals. Pricey mortises. Popping for the LN mortise chisel seemed almost
Is anyone here using the tabletop General mortiser ... the 75-050
It looks like something of a compromise between the regular Delta/Jet
type tabletop models and a floor model like the big General or the
Powermatic. Especially, it has a front clamp as well as a top holddown
that is detached from the fence.
I've used both and there is no comparison ... the PM wins by a trip around
That said, I own the Delta, use it continuously, and would replace it
immediately if it was lost/stolen. Like you, it was a choice of want versus
the reality of the situation and anticipated use.
There are caveats to these benchtop mortisers.
What has been a limitation of the Delta is the 4 1/4" limit on the height of
the board that can be cut without installing the riser. The riser will kick
you up to where the this height limitation is not a problem, but at the
expense of not being able to use the fence and hold down. It is also a PITA
to install and remove the riser. IOW, plan your projects to work around
this, or prepare to invest some jig time.
In addition, sharp chisels and bits, and a reasonable feed rate, are the
keys to getting good results from these benchtop machines.
... and just hope you're not ruined after using the PM. :)
I've never used the PM. I have the Delta although I have lusted over the
larger mortisers. The XY tables look really sweet, but I can't justify it. I
try to focus on furniture and use M&T construction nearly all of the time.
I don't doubt that the PM woul dnbe nice, but things that I think would make
it wothwhile are:
1. Serious volume. I churn out a few pieces a furniture per year. That tool
may see 10 hours a year if use. Not enough to justify that expense for me.
2. Big mortises. Technically the delta can handle 1/2 mortises. That is
really unrealistic in hardwood. 3/8 is pushing it. But that is plenty for
most applications. If you want to make doors (not cabinet doors ....DOORS)
the delta would not do.
3. Big pieces. The Delta can only handle about 4.5" under the chisel. If you
disconnect the plunge shock you can get almost an extra inch.
Also, it's an investment on floor space. You can put the delta away. (which
is a good thing because it's the type of tool that you use for an hour or
two, then put away for a month or two.) I doubt that the PM is something you
want to lift.
If you are willing to spend the day making this jig,
you can make perfect mortises with little or no
expense depending on what you have laying around the
shop. I assume you have a router and straight cutting
I was bad about making fun of a lot of "jigs" I
saw published. After spending the time making this
one, I take it all back.
You will need a square base for your router and
you can make mortising VERY quickly and accurately.
Shoot me a note, if you want pictures....
n email@example.com wrote:
You might look at the Shop Fox also. Wood picked them as a top choice a few
months ago. Beats the Delta because:
3200 rpm motor - cuts faster
Mortise an 8" board without messing with a riser, and the column rotates off
of the table so you can mortise any width board
Horizontal grip versus vertical makes it much easier to use
Longer handle provides more leverage
Tool less handle reposition
3/4" capacity, though I'm not sure I would try that in a real hard wood
Bought one base on Wood's recommendation and have been real happy with it.
If you do go the expensive route, I'd take a long look at the General. I own
a PM719 and have had a lot of trouble getting it to plunge perfectly
vertical. I'm making Sticklely chairs with 2 1/2" deep thru mortises in the
legs and they need to be really square. The best I've come up with is to
shim out the MDF aux bed and fence. I believe the General with the
tilting(new PM has this feature now I think) head and adjustable fence would
solve some of the adjustment problems I've had.
That being said I really like it, the entry cuts are virtually perfect
which is needed on the exposed side of the thru M&T. It cuts the 1/2"
mortises smoothly without having to stand on the handle. The stops for
setting the horizontal travel of the table work well and the fast action
clamp holds the stock to the fence with a mega ton of force.
Only other mortiser I've had was a drill press attachment so this PM is
light years ahead of that. Couple weeks ago I cut 140 mortises for the side
spindles and when I was done I thought 'huh already done to bad that was
I am a hobbyist and plan on making a lot of Mission style stuff with M&T so
that kind a justified cost or in my case as or more important the floor
If you E-Mail me I may have the perfect deal for you on a Multico PM-12
Selling due to disability.
Remove "knot" from E-Mail address.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I tried to reply to you via email but this ^%$^ new Google newsreader
is confounding me.
Sorry to hear about your disability. I hope you are still able to
enjoy at least a little woodworking.
I have a line on a General 75-050 locally that I think I will spring
for this weekend. I appreciate the offer anyway.
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