Okay, my home built router mortising jig is okay, as far as it goes, but I
need to cut more than a few mortises in some 5" wide stock. Any
recommendations for a good mortising machine?
I know delta has one that swings 180 degrees off the table for vertical
work, and I kinda see how PM's machine with the x-y axis carriage would
speed things up, but if'n y'all have any pointers - things to look for,
things to avoid (especially) I'd appreciate it.
No, I won't buy HF's 99$$ wonder....
Several years ago I made a horizontal mortising machine that works great.
Since you are talking about 5" stock it sounds like we had a similar goal in
mind. Now I have discovered Shopnotes has plans similar to the one I built
but superior in many ways. The Shopnotes issue is #68 vol 11. Took me a
weekend to build and was worth the delay in the project. If you go to
Shopnotes.com and search on horizontal mortiser you will find a small photo.
A couple of years ago, I got the urge to build a new dining room set,
including 8 chairs. So, I went out and bought a Powermatic 719, along with a
good set of chisels. The machine worked vwell but, I found that I needed to
spend time cleaning up each mortise by hand. Not a big deal for a few joints
but, 8 chairs equals 176 mortises! Being a weekend woodworker, I don't have
the time to "tinker" with that many joints. So I started looking for a new
I would highly recommend the Leigh FMT. It's a plunge router jig that is
absolutely unbelievable in it'e ease of use, short set up time and accuracy.
In one afternoon, I cut 96 mortise and tenon joints for the chair back
slats; half of them were angled tenons. They all fit perfectly!
I have never before, been so impressed with a tool, that I felt compelled to
contact the manufacturer to praise their tool. It's a little pricey for a
jig, about $800, but even my wife thought it was worth it!
I tend to mortise a lot for table legs - how would the Leigh FMT be with say
3.5" x 3.5" x 32" table lets - you know, the country style where the lower
7/8s are turned and just the top piece is square??
I've thought about the Leigh (I have their D24 jig) and wondered about it.
It would be great if you could download a video or get a DVD through the
mail or something.
I've got a Delta Mortiser now - a small unit and I forget the number - it's
fairly common. It has some real limitations though - foremost being the
small work surface - easily fixed via a larger wooden table.
Anyhow, I'm looking at a Delta Mortiser 14-661C. This is a much bigger unit
with a sliding table with moveable clamps. It also has a much bigger motor
and a larger, adjustable arm for more torque and to allow for a much greater
capacity. This unit has a 1" capacity and a full cabinet underneath.
My buddy who runs Tegs Tools in Hamilton got several units in and he's
selling them for $549 Canadian. A great price since the unit usually sells
for around $1000.
Here's what I see as the down sides:
1) Still no chuck-lock mechanism. It would be great if these things had
some kind of locking devise so that the chuck would not spin around when you
try to tighten the bit up.
2) Sliding table is a little clunky - a smoother working cog / gear would
have been nice
3) The top hold-down won't engage anything that is less that 3.5" high
unless you either put an accessory board under your work piece to raise it
up, or you replace the crappy plastic work protector on the hold-down with
some 2" wooden ones (my plan).
4) Table / head doesn't tilt. That said, I've yet to actually need that
All in all, a good deal for the money $549 Canadian I think. I just have to
find someone to buy my smaller unit.
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