Note: I've no relationship with Yorkcraft.....
I'm building an oak trestle dining table with a ton of big deep
mortises so I decided I would buy a dedicated mortiser. I had
originally decided on the General benchtop since it got such good
reviews in FW. However I came accross the Yorkcraft Floor Standing
and was able to get a floor demo model for $550 plus shipping. I have
not read much about Yorkcraft or Wilke Machinery but decided to take
the plunge given the price. I have to say that I'm thrilled with the
purchase. The differences between this machine and benchtop are
startling given the small difference in price. It looks like the
regualr price is close to $800 but they seem to have sales often which
puts the price at $595.
By far the biggest advantage over a benchtop is the addition of an x-y
table. The workpiece is clamped to the table and two handwheels are
used to move the piece rather than having to clampl and unclamp it each
time. Furthermore, I don't have to create shims to position the
workpiece. I simply draw the layout lines, clamp it and start
mortising. The vertical travel lever is much longer on the free
standing machine than a benchtop. I had no problem with a 5/8" chisel
in oak. Finally the bulk weight of the machine allows you to really
push hard and drive the chisel in this hardwood.
So far I've done 8, 1 3/4" sqaure by 2" deep mortises. The chisel now
needs a sharpening but the machine peformed flawlessly. The table
travel is accurate and the great clamping system kept the workpiece
from moving at all.
Obviously the business end of the machine is the chisel. I purchased
the Lee Valley premium (made in Japan) chisel set and the sharpening
set too. I followed their instructions for sharpening and bit set up.
The chisels so far have worked great.
As you can tell, I flat out love this machine. It's a fair amount of
money (but not so much over a good quality benchtop machine) but I
think it will last a lifetime.
P.S. I decided to use a damp rag to cool the chisel between cuts, any
thoughts on this?