I've finally started playing with the mortising machine I got around
Christmas (Delta 14-651), and it's been great. I'd like to share one
setup trick that I found helpful, and also ask for ideas on clamping.
This first tip is one that I think I saw in a magazine, but I thought
I'd share it here for those who don't get that particular publication
(maybe Wood? Don't remember). To align the chisel square to the
fence, after you've used the coin/$.40 method to set the bit/chisel
spacing: Get a shortish (4-6") ruler, and attach it to the fence side
of the chisel using a flat rare earth magnet, so it looks like an
upside down "T". This gives you a lot more area to align with the
fence (or workpiece), so it's quite easy to see if it's out of
square. I used the 4" ruler from my LV "Double Square," as my thinner
6" metal ruler was a little bent.
Next, I'm wondering if anyone has any particularly good ideas for how
to improve clamping of the workpiece, both in against the fence and
down against the table. The factory hold-down is not very useful.
Ideally, this clamping solution would be quick and easy to release and
re-clamp, so moving the workpiece back and forth for a longer mortise
wouldn't be difficult. The table and fence of my machine are cast
iron instead of MDF, so I'd rather keep drilling to a minimum if
possible. I have a few ideas involving toggle clamps, but I'm
wondering if anyone has suggestions (with pictures?) they'd be willing
Thanks in advance,
Different strokes. I've been using a 14-651 for a few years and find the
factory hold-down to be exactly what is needed for the job.
Personally, I want the hold down adjusted so that it is just tight enough to
not allow the stock to raise on the upstroke, but not so tight that I can't
easily move the stock laterally for the next plunge.
IME, anything tighter, or any additional clamping, would simply take too
much time in making mortises.
That was my goal, but I couldn't seem to make it work very well.
Granted I didn't fiddle with it very much, but the hold-down was
nowhere close to parallel with the table. I'd hold it down against
the workpiece, but as I tightened the holddown bolt, it would torque
the clamp face up at an angle. This left only the very back of the
holddown (nearest the fence) actually touching the wood, which allowed
the workpiece to lift up at an angle as I retracted the chisel.
Any advice for squaring the holddown, or for keeping it parallel as I
Thanks for the input,
Sorry, wish I could offer some advice. About all I can say is the Delta must
not be making them like they used to as I haven't experienced that problem.
Are you tightening it more than you need to?
It's a kludge, but if all else fails, how about a shim that can easily be
slipped in and out between the hold-down and the workpiece when that
That said, I've not used the hold-down a few times when I only had a few
shallow slat mortises to do, just used my left hand to grip both the
workpiece and the fence tightly, and got along just fine, but certainly not
something I would want to continually do on through mortises in a 3" table
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