Mortising machine: what to buy


hello,
Iam planning to buy a mortising machine for an upcomming project, but I have a few questions.
- is it really worth it? - is the $99 HF machine good enough for light usage (like a 1 project a month type thing) - I imagine that the HF mortising bits are crap (this type of stuff usually is crap at HF), but how crap are they really, how much should I expect to pay in a "real" place (woodcraft) for the bits
any advices?
thanks, cyrille
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Cyrille de Brébisson wrote:

In a recent FWW tool guide, they gave a very good review to the Delta 14-651. (Tops were General International and Woodtek, in that order...both very substantially more expensive.)
I just bought one last night on Amazon...they had it on sale for $199, and with the $20-off promo, that brought it in at $179, with free delivery to boot. For that money, I couldn't say no. (Woodcraft sells the same machine for $269.)
I just looked, and the price has risen to $229, but that now qualifies for the $40-off promo, so your delivered cost is just $10 more.
I (obviously) haven't used the tool yet, nor any other mortiser, so can't answer you about which is the best model, other than based on a single review.
But I sure as ^%$# can't wait to get mine. It comes with four chisels as well, which I figure are probably crap chisels too, but an _excellent_ opportunity for me to learn to sharpen them, probably burn the &^%$ out of them, then throw them away and get better quality once I've gotten over the learning curve.
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I needed one for a cradle I made my Gdaughter. After checking the reviews I went with the Shop Fox and am very happy with it. Check at www.grizzly.com for latest prices. I also bought the set of chisels they sell. Still sharp after 160 holes in butternut and white oak.
Have fun, Al in WA
snipped-for-privacy@adelphia.net

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Cyrille de Brébisson wrote:

Personally I like the results from an upcut spiral bit over a mortising unit.
dave
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Bought the HF unit - have about the same needs as you. Went on ebay and bought some extra chisel/bit combos. Much better than the HF originals and the combo works fine. There are quite a few excellent quality chisel/bit combos available that fit the HF unit. Cut 120 1/2" mortises with no problem other than boredom. :)
YMMV,
Vic

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I'll second the shop fox recommendation. IIRC, it was the most adjustable one made when I bought mine. Also, most other brands were 1/2 hp whereas the shop fox is listed as 3/4 hp. (I don't know if the extra 1/4 hp is really necessary as mine has never bogged down in even the hardest of woods). One other thing to note- the shop fox machine runs at 3450 rpm, whereas most other brands run at 1725 rpm. Dunno why. It's a great machine. --dave

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I have a GI and it is fine. But like most of these units the hold down is less than great. We mounted an x-y vice and it made a fantastic difference. It is much quicker to make the mortises and they are much neater (tenons fit better). The chisels and bits that came with it were ok. I am hoping someone will report on the ones that Lee Valley now sells as its time to replace a couple of mine. Cheers, JG
"Cyrille de Brébisson" wrote:

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http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber5570
What is the difference between this and a DP???
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