I recently did a posting about Poplar. I will be making 8 frame and
panel doors using poplar for stiles and rails and some 1/4" panels. Each
door will have 3 rails: 4" top and middle and 6" at the bottom. The
stiles will be 3". Total door width 14" I made a prototype which was
good for evaluation but I need to make doors that are more sturdy. In
particular I want to make 1" tenons on each end of the three rails and a
matching mortise in the stiles. 8 doors. 6 mortise and tenon joints per
door. 48 joints.
I do not have a dedicated mortising machine. I might use a Kreg jig but
the holes will be visible each time the door is opened. I might be able
to use the plugs with a lot of sanding so the joining technique isn't
too ugly (the doors will be painted). I could of course use my drill
press and a chisel which I have done before but not on 48 mortise and
tenon joints. I thought I would ask if anyone has used a mortising
attachment for a drill press before I choose one of the two options
mentioned above. Maybe someone has a different idea I can use for a
Your advice is appreciated as always.
I have a dedicated mortising machine. I would not recommend mortising
with a drill press as the handle is too short. But if you have an old
drill press with a long arm, then by all means do it. If you have a
short 3 handle drill press don't do it.
My 2 cents.
is this because you can't do the entire mortise in one fluid move
some other reason
i drill deep holes and find it real annoying to have to grab the next
now this has me wondering if i could remove a handle and make one
not sure if there are other limitations with the drill press
i.e. a longer handle might not turn free without hitting something
With a drill press there is typically some disassemble involved and it
is an adaptation. Then you can't use the DP until you remove the
mortising attachment. I think this was a popular option decades ago
when bench top mortisers were not common for home woodworkers.
Sorta :-). I recall my shop class room having two DP's, one had a mortiser
attachment with foot pedal assist. All of the mortiser pieces were a
different color from the rest of the DP. That was 1969.
Somewhere in the 90's I recall $200 bench top mortisers hit my radar and I
bought a Delta. That worked but I have not used it since getting the
Domino when they were introduced, some time around 2007-8
I know of no tool that cuts mortises as quickly and easily as the Domino.
The drill takes out most of the wood (or should) and you must
let it transport it to the surface or you jamb up the Mortise chisels
and run the risk of splitting the chisel. So the process is in / out or
down and up a bit and down for more. Not to Drive like you are
pressing a nail into the wood.
On 4/21/2015 5:41 PM, Electric Comet wrote:
that makes sense too
so you're saying a lot of force is not needed
but that depends on the wood
but it all sounds primitive
where're the laser mortisers
they have laser etchers/engravers
seems like a laser mortiser would just need a few more passes
or maybe super high pressure water like they use to cut paper
maybe a little messy for the typical artisan
That's not quite right. The first pass usually has to be
done in several up & down strokes. The remaining passes
are a single down stoke (assuming you have the chisel
oriented so the opening faces the previously cut part of
the mortise, which is how you should have it oriented).
Dad had a Delta unit on his double belted Delta. Sorry it went the way
of thief out of my brothers shop. Like I said in/out or down and up a
bit down for more. Can't push it all of the way.
You said the same thing but added a final fine cut or clean out pass.
Big deal - that wasn't the process discussed.
On 4/22/2015 12:19 PM, John McCoy wrote:
No, that's not what I said. I said on a proper mortising
machine, all the cuts except for the very first are done
in a single pass. It's only the first hole (which will
be square) where you have to be concerned about allowing
the shavings to clear. In every succeeding cut, the
shavings fall into the mortise.
Now, possibly it's different on an underpowered and
under-leveraged drill press attachement. But with a
mortising machine, it is "push it all of the way".
Going to have to explain "in every succeeding cut, the shavings fall
into the mortise."
Is this the second hole ? Is this a first ? If the first it is up and
If you are cutting man made material - MDF or such - it might not
matter. When cutting oak and hard maple - one better go slow.
I have seen chisels split by wood jamming into the cavity and using
the drill to compact and stretch.
The drill press had power. Real power. Three pulley, two belts.
The motor was a 3/4 hp and could really run the spindle.
It was for Metal and Wood use. It had a special spindle for This
and another for boring while a normal drill spindle with a 1/2" chuck
that would hold sub 1/16 centered. It was heavy duty Delta - built
in the early 50's. Not like the pot metal ones you see today.
On 4/23/2015 10:57 AM, John McCoy wrote:
It should be clear, but anyway: when you make a mortise,
you make a series of slightly overlapping cuts - if you're
using a 3/8" chisel for a 2" mortise, you'll probably make
The first cut, the shavings have nowhere to go but up the
chisel. That one you (usually) have to make in several up
and down strokes, to let the shavings clear.
The next cut, slightly overlapping the first, the shavings
will fall into the hole made by the first cut. And so on
down the line, each succeeding cut the shavings fall into
the hole from the prior cuts.
The only way that doesn't happen is if the open side of the
chisel is not facing the prior cuts. In that case, the
shavings again have nowhere to go but up. But if you're
doing it that way, you're doing it wrong.
I mostly work with maple & cherry, incidently...no problem
cutting the mortises in single pulls.
I have an old King Seely Drill press built I guess in the 40's. I used
the mortising attachment that I got with it for many years, and it
worked perfect, no problem with the power, no problem with the arms not
giving enough leverage, and the hold down was better than the one on my
Delta dedicated mortiser. The only real draw back, which was mentioned
by someone earlier, was it was a pain to put on and off, and when
installed, you had no drill press. I was going to buy a cheap bench
drill press to leave it on, but never got aroundtoit.
The dedicated mortiser is OK, but it's drawback is it is always there,
even though I don't use it all that often. Less often since I've been
using pocket holes for all face frames.
For cabinet doors, I'd prefer a frame and panel cutter set and stub
tenons rather than using mortise and tenon. I would recommend skipping
the drill press attachment, skip the dedicated mortiser, and buy a good
set or two of frame and panel Knives for my shaper or even a router if
you don't have a shaper. For giant mortises, say in a front door for
your house, use a router.
Add Life to your Days not Days to your Life.
A now this has me wondering if i could remove a handle and make one
B not sure if there are other limitations with the drill press
A - "there you go"
B - "Simple enough to check, right?"
I knew a fellow who connected a (spring-loaded) foot-pedal affair to control the quill movement.
But, how much work are you willing to do to save some time and effort with the mortices for this project?.
For the $$ and intended use, it might be worth trying out the HFT dedicated mortising attachment - if you can complete the work in thirty days . . .
If you already have the Mortising Attachment - do use it, do make do.
i'm only a member of the peanut gallery on this thread and was only
trying to understand why the reply to the OP mentioned the handle
it turns out that it was due to the force needed to press down to
make the cut
then much bluster ensued about doing more cuts that take less material
and taking care to clear the swath between cuts
the co op with the CNC router with vacuum hold down would be the way
could do all mortises in one go
not sure about the tenons yet
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