I'm looking at getting two new tools - a mortiser and a dado set. I've been
looking at Freuds Dial Dado SD608 as well as mortising machines. Do y'all
have any recommendations for or "agin" any particular dado sets and MM's?
Thanks in advance!
It would help to know what kind of woodworking you do with regard to the
mortiser. If you're looking for a benchtop model for under $US300, you will
find proponents for the Delta, Jet, or Shop Fox ... and you won't go wrong
with either one.
Best bet is to go somewhere that has them in stock so you can take a closer
look and suit your own preferences.
That said, I use a Delta 14-651 on a regular basis and would buy it again.
The mortises would be in hardwoods - oak, cherry... I find myself getting
more work for Mission style furniture and want something to speed things up.
Brian L mentioned a Delta 661 that had a sliding table, which would be
great, but I can't find anything out about that machine at all. Any ideas?
Something to keep in mind also John, you should sharpen the square chisels
before use for the best results. This makes a world of difference in the
ease of cutting. You can get a cone shaped stone for your drill at
LeeValley, and don't forget to polish the outsides of the chisel also.
Stylewise, that's pretty much what I do with one. Only gotcha with the Delta
(and probably the other benchtops as well) is pieces over 4 1/2" wide need
to have the included riser installed, whence you lose the _convenient_ use
of the hold down and fence. I've learned to design my table legs, and aprons
that need slats, to 4" or less.
The riser is not all that hard to install, but you will feel, and look, more
like a mechanic than a woodworker each time you do .
Trick to the benchtop models is going easy, with _sharp_ chisels and drills
... by taking my time and keeping the chisels sharp, I never have trouble
with 1/2" mortises in white oak, and I do a _lot_ of mortises in a months
I am not familiar with the Delta model you are referring to ... but would
bet it is a standalone model. Powermatic has a good one also ... these are
much better _mortise_ machines, but were I going to spend that much money
for something dedicated to one task in a small shop, I would take a HARD
look at the Leigh FMT jig, for a good deal more precision on _both_ ends of
When I wrote about the large Delta Mortiser, I went to the Delta web site to
grab the unit's number, and came up empty also. I called my buddy's store
and got the number off him - 14-660
When I went back to the Delta site using this ID number, all I could find
was a picture of the machine's french user manual!! I just tried now and
all I can find is the breakaway parts drawing:
I don't know what Delta's problem is, but I know my buddy's store has 6
sitting there (awaiting the cabinet base piece from Delta).
If you're interested, when I there Thursday I can take a pic and email it to
you. You can email me at email@example.com
(just take out the nospams, and the x)
Since you seem to be making things for sale I'm assuming you do this
a living or at least to pay for your addiction - make that
The 25-400 bench tops work but have shortcomings which, if you
do mortises fairly regularly, will frustrate the hell out of you
An XY table with good and easily set left/right stops, an adjustable
stop, a good hold down and hold against the fence system, a beefy
mechanism for moving the chisel/bit up and down without any slop
or flexing, two or more chisel collars to accomodate chisel/bits of
different sizes/manufacturers, a lever arm that has multiple postion
options and "low speed" (1725 vs 3540 rpms) are all things to
You have to get the fence to parallel the back face of the chisel
and keep it there. The easier this is to do the better.
You have to be able to align the chisel to three layout lines,
- the left end, the right end and either the front or back of the
mortise. Anything that makes that accurate, easier and quicker
will pay for itself.
You have to be able to hold the stock firmly in place and keep
it there 'til you want to remove it. You will get chisel stuck.
Here's some stuff on the General International 75-075M and the
PowerMatic 719A that may give you a better idea of what would
be nice to have. Be aware that both units are about $800 US.
Here's more about The General
Be aware that there's more than one way to skin a cat and more
ways than you can shake a stick at to cut mortises. I've got
a horizontal boring machinemortiser on my Robland X31
combination machine, The General and just finished up a
loose tenon mortising jig that uses a plunge router. Each
does something better or easier than the other.
Good luck on deciding what you want and what you're willing
to spend to get it.
The current Wood magazine has a review of mortisers.
They chose the Delta Industrial as the Top Value and the General as the Top
I have the Delta and love it. I got a great deal on it from Coastal Tool.
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