Mortiser chisel selection? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-15-2008, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Mortiser chisel selection?

I just bought a 1/2 hp Delta benchtop mortiser (the $259 one) with the intent of doing cabinet doors, and other mortises...Nothing huge.

It came with four chisels, all of which seem to be of mediocre quality at best. The results were not what I expected...Material removal seems to go pretty well, but the sides of the mortise are by no means perfectly clean. They'll definately require some cleanup with a chisel. I expected to remove tiny sections of wood between the individual holes, but didn't think that the sides would need any work.

To be honest, I may have unjustifiably high expectations, as I've never had a mortising machine before. I don't know how clean the hole should be???

Is an aftermarket chisel/bit a worthwhile investment? Will there be a noticeable difference in performance? Can anyone recommend a brand? Woodcraft has some German-made Delta ones that are about $50'ish. Good idea or waste of money?

Thank you!
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-15-2008, 06:27 PM
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Hey termite:

I am also just getting in to the learning curve with a dedicated mortiser, mine being a Grizzly. It is a 1.5 hp, and came with four chisels. They are sized by 1/16th" increments from 1/4" to 1/2"

I understand your question, but I think the crux of the issue is just as you suspected...perhaps you were expecting too much. My mortiser, with a brand new chisel, performed pretty much the way you described....the sides of the mortise were a little rough looking once I cut them.

I practiced on pine, red oak and MDF, and the MDF cleaned out the best. The oak was next. I had a little left-to-right drift of the chisel in the oak, too. However, once I got to thinking about it, I decided that the inside of the mortise doesn't need to be perfectly clean...a few bumps just means more glue surface area, right? And once I put the tenon down tight into it, it becomes a non sequiter.

My advice is to learn to live with it....I think it's the nature of the beast.

regards,
smitty
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Smitty. You're probably right about it not being a big deal, but I'm still curious if a higher-end chisel would do cleaner work.....
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 11:43 AM
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I have seen written on a number of occasions that most OEM chisels that come with Mortising Machines from the factory are not that sharp to begin with. Maybe all you need to do is a little bit of touch up work to the chisels that came with your mortiser.

Dave

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post #5 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty1967 View Post
My advice is to learn to live with it....I think it's the nature of the beast.
I had the same results with mine so I tend to agree with smitty. There is no harm leaving it there. I had the same unit and I loved it. Red

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post #6 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 09:59 PM
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Termite.
I have an older Multico. I may well be wrong, but I sort of think that the Multico was sort of the original "home mortiser". Obviously there were lots of hollow chisel mortisers before, but most were either much more expensive or sort of lame adaptations for a drill press. For my Multico, one could buy sort of inexpensive chisels or fancy "multico" ones, (cost was about $75 or more for one. I had some cheap ones and then finally went for the nice ones. There WAS a big difference. They came properly sharpened, and they stayed that way better. But I would say that there is more to it than a decent chisel. You have to set up the chisel absolutely square to the fence, have to have a good fence and a way to really lock the work down, have to set the bit correctly, etc. I found that it was much easier to set the bit pretty far below the bottom of the chisel. Like at least 1/8” below, (that being the spurs), if not more. All that said, $250 is not a bad price. I think the old multico was closer to $1,000 and I didn’t even get the top of the line model. You might want to buy one of the better chisels and see if it does a better job for you. Pick the size that you think you’ll use a lot. Yes, there is clean up on the sides, but with mine, I have to say it is less than 1 minute worth per mortise in general.

Paul
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-17-2008, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the advice thus far guys.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-19-2008, 09:59 PM
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One thing you may check - if the walls of your mortise are a little ragged, check that the sides of the chisel are perfectly parallel and perpendicular to the fence. If the chisel is rotated only a little out of square with the fence or the work piece it will cause little ridges in the side of the mortise when you slide the piece to cut the adjacent hole. I'm sure you've probably already thought of that but thought I would toss that out there.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-19-2008, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Well, an update...

I looked at Woodcraft and they sell Austrian-made Delta chisels and bits that appear to be of much higher quality than the OEM Delta bit. But, they're about $60 each. I'll probably get one, but not now.

So, I stopped by the local Rockler dealer and got a diamond cone sharpener for mortise chisels. I lapped the outside of the chisel on my waterstone and cleaned it up nicely. I then used the cone sharpener and got the chisel super-sharp.

That will have to work for now. Thanks to everyone for your help and advice.
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