mortising machine advice (given and sought)

Hi all, I've finally started playing with the mortising machine I got around Christmas (Delta 14-651), and it's been great. I'd like to share one setup trick that I found helpful, and also ask for ideas on clamping.
This first tip is one that I think I saw in a magazine, but I thought I'd share it here for those who don't get that particular publication (maybe Wood? Don't remember). To align the chisel square to the fence, after you've used the coin/$.40 method to set the bit/chisel spacing: Get a shortish (4-6") ruler, and attach it to the fence side of the chisel using a flat rare earth magnet, so it looks like an upside down "T". This gives you a lot more area to align with the fence (or workpiece), so it's quite easy to see if it's out of square. I used the 4" ruler from my LV "Double Square," as my thinner 6" metal ruler was a little bent.
Next, I'm wondering if anyone has any particularly good ideas for how to improve clamping of the workpiece, both in against the fence and down against the table. The factory hold-down is not very useful. Ideally, this clamping solution would be quick and easy to release and re-clamp, so moving the workpiece back and forth for a longer mortise wouldn't be difficult. The table and fence of my machine are cast iron instead of MDF, so I'd rather keep drilling to a minimum if possible. I have a few ideas involving toggle clamps, but I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions (with pictures?) they'd be willing to share.
Thanks in advance, Andy
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"Andy" wrote in message

Different strokes. I've been using a 14-651 for a few years and find the factory hold-down to be exactly what is needed for the job.
Personally, I want the hold down adjusted so that it is just tight enough to not allow the stock to raise on the upstroke, but not so tight that I can't easily move the stock laterally for the next plunge.
IME, anything tighter, or any additional clamping, would simply take too much time in making mortises.
YMMV ...
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That was my goal, but I couldn't seem to make it work very well. Granted I didn't fiddle with it very much, but the hold-down was nowhere close to parallel with the table. I'd hold it down against the workpiece, but as I tightened the holddown bolt, it would torque the clamp face up at an angle. This left only the very back of the holddown (nearest the fence) actually touching the wood, which allowed the workpiece to lift up at an angle as I retracted the chisel. Any advice for squaring the holddown, or for keeping it parallel as I tighten it? Thanks for the input, Andy
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"Andy" wrote in message

Sorry, wish I could offer some advice. About all I can say is the Delta must not be making them like they used to as I haven't experienced that problem.
Are you tightening it more than you need to?
It's a kludge, but if all else fails, how about a shim that can easily be slipped in and out between the hold-down and the workpiece when that situation arises?
That said, I've not used the hold-down a few times when I only had a few shallow slat mortises to do, just used my left hand to grip both the workpiece and the fence tightly, and got along just fine, but certainly not something I would want to continually do on through mortises in a 3" table leg.
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Andy wrote:

Here's The 40 Cent Method
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/GeneralMortiser/MChiselBitSettingTrick.html
charlie b
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