Review of Yorkcraft Floor Standing Mortiser


Hello,
Note: I've no relationship with Yorkcraft.....
I'm building an oak trestle dining table with a ton of big deep mortises so I decided I would buy a dedicated mortiser. I had originally decided on the General benchtop since it got such good reviews in FW. However I came accross the Yorkcraft Floor Standing Mortiser:
http://www.wilkemachinery.com/default.tpl?action=full&cart 55446653310314&id1=9&--woSECTIONSdatarq=9&--SECTIONSword=ww&--eqskudatarq!546
and was able to get a floor demo model for $550 plus shipping. I have not read much about Yorkcraft or Wilke Machinery but decided to take the plunge given the price. I have to say that I'm thrilled with the purchase. The differences between this machine and benchtop are startling given the small difference in price. It looks like the regualr price is close to $800 but they seem to have sales often which puts the price at $595.
By far the biggest advantage over a benchtop is the addition of an x-y table. The workpiece is clamped to the table and two handwheels are used to move the piece rather than having to clampl and unclamp it each time. Furthermore, I don't have to create shims to position the workpiece. I simply draw the layout lines, clamp it and start mortising. The vertical travel lever is much longer on the free standing machine than a benchtop. I had no problem with a 5/8" chisel in oak. Finally the bulk weight of the machine allows you to really push hard and drive the chisel in this hardwood.
So far I've done 8, 1 3/4" sqaure by 2" deep mortises. The chisel now needs a sharpening but the machine peformed flawlessly. The table travel is accurate and the great clamping system kept the workpiece from moving at all.
Obviously the business end of the machine is the chisel. I purchased the Lee Valley premium (made in Japan) chisel set and the sharpening set too. I followed their instructions for sharpening and bit set up. The chisels so far have worked great.
As you can tell, I flat out love this machine. It's a fair amount of money (but not so much over a good quality benchtop machine) but I think it will last a lifetime.
Matt
P.S. I decided to use a damp rag to cool the chisel between cuts, any thoughts on this?
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I bought an 8 inch Yorkcraft jointer and have been totally pleased. The machines are a combination of low cost and superior design. Dave

http://www.wilkemachinery.com/default.tpl?action=full&cart 55446653310314&id1=9&--woSECTIONSdatarq=9&--SECTIONSword=ww&--eqskudatarq!546
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