Which Mortiser?

I am in the market for a mortising machine.
I think I want a dedicated machine and not a drill press attachment.
Does anyone remember a recent magazine review of these tools?
Does anyone have a recommendation or a brand to stay away from?
Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.
Thanks!
Rob
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Popular Woodworking #123, August 2001 did a comparison of 10 benchtop mortisers that is worth looking at. I was in the market for one myself at the time, and since I did not have any hands-on experience with any of the machines, I used the article as a source of recommendations.
In a nutshell, it comes down to preferences of motor speed. All 10 of the mortisers had 1/2 HP motors, but the speed varied from 1,720 RPM to 3,450 RPM. The slower motors are supposed to cut down on smoking and keep the temperature down during the cut (thereby helping prevent "bluing" of the chisel). On the other hand, they have a greater tendency to stall in dense wood.
PW's Editor's Choice was the Multico PM12, which is of the fast variety. Best Buys were considered to be the Bridgegwood HM-11 and Grizzly G3183. I bought the Grizzly, primarily because it was a lot cheaper than the Multico. I've had different levels of success with Grizzly products, depending on which machine we're talking about. This mortiser, however, has worked very well for me and I am pleased with it's performance. Unfortunately, I think Grizzly now only carries the Shopfox brand. If you're interested in a clone, you might check out the Bridgewood.
Don't let me steer you in any particular direction. If you can find the article, I think it is worth reading to learn the various mortiser features to look for. Then you can make up your own mind.
Good Luck!
Jeff
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Jeff notes:

That's not unfortunate: the new SF is a much better mortiser, with a 3/4 HP motor, and better overall design. It is also better than the original SF mortiser I tested a few years ago. I never did find the stalling problem to be as big a hassle as the guys at PW. It does require a slightly defter touch, lower speed and a bit less power from the arm, but I had only a couple stalls during the test.
Offhand, I can't recall when Woodworker's Journal ran my article, but the OP should read that and the PW article before deciding.
There are a lot of decent to good benchtop mortisers out there now, with slight improvements having been made in almost all of them in the past 2-3 years. Even the worst of them beats a drill press set-up all hollow (sorry about that).
Charlie Self "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to. " Dorothy Parker
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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HP
to be

touch,
stalls
Is the new SF still 3450 RPM?
Brian.
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Brian asks:

Yeah: hey, it had to have one feature I really don't like.
Charlie Self "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to. " Dorothy Parker
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Workbench Magazine, August 2003 differs in the test of 8 machines. They did have the reviews on line. Delta 14-651 was top rated, Jet JBM-6 Rated Top Value
Delta 14-651 Vices: None Bridgewood HM-11 Overpriced; capable but costly Craftsman 21906 Sub-par performance Woodteck 900-881 Lacks features General Int. Loaded with features; Above average performance Jet Solid performance. Vices: Requires some muscle Fisch BTM-- Require enormous effort to cut 1/2" mortises Low price (185) possibly an option for light use. Multico Excellent fit and finish; Top performance; Very expensive ($649)
I bought the Delta. Only made a couple of cuts, but I like what I see. Went together easily. Hardest part was getting the 55 pounds up on the bench. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Ditto .. I can't fault my Delta. I particularly like the Dovetail gib the head assembly slides on, damn strong. That particular 55lbs comes in handy for use as a caul keeping large panel glue-ups flat. DAMHIK.
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I bought the delta as well. 2nd cut, the stupid pin on the handle mechanism broke so that I could not use it. TOok it to a local authorized repari place and it was repaired in 30 minutes. No problems since and it works really well.

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"Stacey" wrote in message

Yeah, I remember you mentioning that ... glad you got it resolved.
Maybe I 'm missing something, but what I don't like about it is when the riser is attached the fence/hold down is no longer usable, and if you have it mounted on a bench, there is no place to easily clamp a fence. Had to cut 16 mortises in 5" aprons the other day, thank gawd they were for spindles and were shallow.
That said, most benchtop mortisers probably have the same problem. I'm not complaining because I've likely saved more than $275 +/- in time alone since I bought it, despite its ocassional shortcomings.
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Rob wrote:

Having an XY table makes set up and use a great deal easier. A 3/4 hp or bigger motor won't bog down. Slower speed let's you smell the smoke BEFORE the fire and maybe save a burnt (lost temper due to overheating) chisel and bit. Built in left right stops mean no stop blocks clamped to the fence. A really good hold down/hold in is also nice to have. You WILL get a chisel stuck. Knocking the piece off the chisel because the hold down doesn't do the job is BAAAAAD.
If you begin doing M&T joints you'll find that, if the early experiences are good, you'll do more pieces using this type of joint. But, if the initial experiences involve frustration, damage chisel/bits, wandering sides etc., you'll likely shy away from M&T. M&T joints have many advantages and one is that they're self supporting and self aligning so you can do dry fits of the piece as you go.
Long story shortened a bit - consider either the PowerMatic 719A and the General International 75-075M. Either one will not disappoint you and will get a lot of use.
Here's The General info www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/Mortiser.html
Here's a comparison of the two www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/MortisersComparison.html
The tilting head and rotatable fence features on the General is handy if you may get into making chairs or non-square coners pieces
No matter what you get the set up of the chisel and the bit is critical. Here's The Forty Cent Method www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/MChiselBitSettingTrick.html
Sorry this adds to your acquisition dilema :)
charlie b
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Has anyone bought the Harbor Freight model?
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Yes. Be sure to tighten ALL the bolts prior to using it...

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I had a Delta drill press attachment and upgraded to a Delta dedicated machine. So far first prject went well and I'm satisfied with the results. The setup on the drill press got to be a pain in the butt espsecially when I needed to drill holes and the mortiser attachment was in there.
D.Martin

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Willing to make one? Plans available for this one: http://www.patwarner.com/morticer.html ***********************************************************************

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