I just received a Delta 14-651 Mortiser and I am wondering about the setup
of the auger bit to the chisel housing. The manual indicates that bit
extend past the sharp portion of the chisel anywhere from 1/16" to 3/16"
"depending on the type of wood" one is working with. If one is working with
a softer wood does the bit extend more or less and the reciprocal then hold
true for harder wood? Or does this distance vary according to the
properties of individual woods (e.g. does cherry behave differently than
In just playing with the machine for short time, it also seems that its
efficiency is directly related to how well the auger bits pull up the chips
and expels them from the chisel housing. The chips seem to have a tendency
to really jam up everything. Is there anything (waxes or whatever) that
could be applied to the auger that might move the chips better. I suspect
that one could also goof up the glue joint if it were contaminated with wax
or a lubricant.
Thanks in advance for your responses.
i have the same mortiser. first of all, i suggest you purchase the
mortise chisel cone sharpener from lee valley, use it, and then hone the
chisel sides to ensure that they are sharp. to set the bit, i use a
nickel. seems to provide the right amount of space.
also, i made a fence face with a bevel at the bottom to allow dust/chips
a place to go. works pretty well.
The distance between the bit and the chisel lets the bit remove most
of the material BEFORE the chisel starts to cut the rest. Too little
distance and a) the bit rubs on the inside of the end of the chisel
and b) the chisels is chopping rather thn paring. Too much distance
between the bit and the chisel and the bit can wander blowing the
mortise AND may bend or break - especially with the 1/4" set.
Try The Forty Cent Method the Fisch guy taught me.
If you hone the chisel and bit they'll cut a lot better.
Get some decent chisels. Most of the "entry level" morticers come with
poor chisels. Some of the cheapest morticers are a bad idea, just
because they use a small shoulder size that stops you from buying
those good quality but cheap industrial surplus chisels.
Use the "nickel trick" (Google) - You set the chisel up with a small
shim (a nickel) under its seat, set the auger to rub against it, then
take the shim out and push the chisel back to leave a suitable spacing
between chisel and auger.
The vary the thickness of your "nickel" a little, according to the
timber you're working. Thick nickels for soft woods.
Make sure your auger and chisel are staying where you left them,
especially for the chisel pulling downwards. Listen to the sound of
the morticer - if it changes, something has moved.
Be wary of sharpening the chisels - it doesn't need much of it and
it's easy to damage them. Cheaper chisels often have poor heat treat
and you can work right through the hard layer.
Don't "sharpen" the outside of the chisel. You're just asking for
First, notice the slot in the side of the hollow chisel.
When you install the bit and chisel, make sure this opening in the chisel is
oriented either right of left, then make your first cut in a location that
will insure all subsequent cuts have that opening in the chisel facing the
previous cut. This will facilitate the chips being cleared.
It is a good practice with these benchtop machines to make the first and
second cut on each end of your proposed mortise, then, as above, cut out the
remaining wood, with the slot/opening in the chisel pointing into the
previously cut void so that the chips have some place to go.
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