Mortisers: Delta 14-651 VW vs Powermatic 719 Cadillac

Hi folks,
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, Nate
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You might also consider a General mortiser.
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Would you all rather have the Powermatic mortiser or for (apparently) the same money have the Leigh FMT?
http://www.leighjigs.com /
Just wondering cause I'm thinking about taking the plunge (so to speak).
BW
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

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 prudent.
Patriarch
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Upscale wrote:

Is anyone here using the tabletop General mortiser ... the 75-050 model?
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.
Thanks! Nate
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n_perkins wrote in message

I've used both and there is no comparison ... the PM wins by a trip around the world.
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. :)
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 11/06/04
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I still use them. The fence goes back in place. You do lose the use if you reverse the head for even taller stock.
Yes, it is a PITA to take it in and out. Ed
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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.
-Steve -Steve

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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 bits.
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.
http://store.yahoo.com/backissuesstore/wsback147.html
Shoot me a note, if you want pictures....
n snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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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 Taller fence 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.

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Thanks to all the folks who replied. Much appreciated. I'll think about it for a couple of days and let you all know how it goes.
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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 fun' 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 space
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Hi Nate,
If you E-Mail me I may have the perfect deal for you on a Multico PM-12 Mortiser.
Selling due to disability.
Remove "knot" from E-Mail address.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best Regards, Dave
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DSphotog wrote:

PM-12
Hi Dave,
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.
Regards, Nate
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