I hate my mortise machine - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 12-19-2012, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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I hate my mortise machine

I see enough posts about mortise machines and most of you folks think the world of your machine. Most of my tools are good quality - high end tools, but my mortise machine is an exception. When I try to make a mortise, wood chips always clog my chisel, no matter how slow go.

So i came up with an easy solution to cut my mortises and using my cheap machine. I hog out the mortise with a drill bit and a dowel-it jig.
I hate my mortise machine-mortise.jpg

This jig is perfect for mortises - it automatically centers the cut and the machined bit ensures the right size. After hogging out the mortise, I take it to my cheap mortise machine to square out the mortise.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #2 of 33 Old 12-19-2012, 11:42 PM
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Have you tried adjusting the space between the end of the chisel and the end of the drill bit? There needs to be a gap there or it will plug up. I think all the mortising chisels are about the same. I just have an old drill press I've converted to a mortise machine.....works fine. Don't give up on it!

Bret
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post #3 of 33 Old 12-20-2012, 04:57 AM
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I hear Ya Bernie

When I first got my Powermatic benchtop mortiser I couldn't make it work at all. I didn't realize you had really push down on that big long handle for the first hole and then the successive holes were a lot easier. As Bret says the amount of bit protruding from the chisel is critical...usually about a 1/16" works for me. The other problem I have is the chisel wants to lift up the work as you retract it unless you have the top hold down properly adjusted.

I recently had to make dozens of 1/2" wide mortises around 3" long and 1/2" deep, so I used a plunge router to remove 99% of the material first. Then I hand chiseled the radiused corners square, rather than use the mortise machine. I could have used the machine to square the corners, but the hand mortising chisel was just as fast and it felt more like woodworking, than wood machining.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-20-2012 at 05:14 AM.
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post #4 of 33 Old 12-20-2012, 09:19 AM
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good advice so far. i would also venture to say that the quality of the chisel and bit are important. when i had cheaper sets, i would try to polish the flutes around the drill for easier chip travel. also polish the inside of the chisel. you can also get a cone shaped stone to polish the bottom of the chisel. spend some time on your tooling and setup, it will be worth it.

Last edited by TimPa; 12-20-2012 at 12:24 PM.
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post #5 of 33 Old 12-20-2012, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info about the bits and I will try it. Although my doweling jig has proven to be a quick and easy set up and and always on center (fool proof for me), I'm always learning more by trying different methods. So I will try adjusting my bits and maybe try a better bit since I burnt the ones I have. And I'll try polishing. Thanks for the tips.

Just watched the clip woodnthings and that router method is just like my dowel jig method. I drill out a line of wholes on the drill press and clean out the mortise with the mortise machine.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.

Last edited by BernieL; 12-20-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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post #6 of 33 Old 12-29-2012, 08:37 PM
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I used to use a horizontal mortising attachment to my table saw with end mill cutters. That worked great until I upgraded my table saw and lost my mortising capability. I got by with a router and jigs and also cutting the joints by hand with chisels.

Four years ago I bought the Festool Domino Joiner with dust extractor and I love it's accuracy and versatility. Wanting to cut larger and deeper joints I bought their larger Domino 700 and the quality and usefulness is better than the original.
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post #7 of 33 Old 12-30-2012, 03:58 PM
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I know exactly how you feel Bernie. I bought a Craftsman Mortiser used and thought i had gotten screwed. I finally bought the cone shaped sharpener from Rockler and spent some time buffing the sides of the mortiser chisel with the WorkSharp. Sprayed some dri-coat on the bits. Building the wife a bedroom suit and used it for the first time after the sharpening process which was about 2 months ago. It worked flawless and now i fell in love with it. Will be using it much more. No need to drill holes. Cut 1/2 inch mortises inch and half deep in red oak. Took longer to set up the mortiser for proper placement than it did to make them.
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post #8 of 33 Old 12-30-2012, 04:33 PM
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-03-2013, 12:40 AM
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Just curiously, what mortise machine do you have? My dad has a Delta that he's "fed up with" and has said I can liberate from his shop, I'm considering doing it b/c who doesn't like free tools, but if its really a headache machine and not a mortise machine then it's probably not worth the gas to go get it!
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-03-2013, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Reluctant to say cause some folks will strongly defend their tools, but then again, if I own a crappy tool, it is what it is. I own a Craftsman. Some of my problem is due to the fact that my chisel depth setting for the bit was not right as this thread has taught me. But my machine is still a crappy one. For instance, the depth gauge is terrible. It is lined up yo hit a raised portion of the base around the column and when the depth post makes contact, it's on the edge of the raised portion and slips off. I had to lay 2 flat corner braces on the lower part of the base to make the difference in height so it has no place to slip deeper. When I see the braces slip and pop up a bit, I know I'm at the bottom. Sorry Craftsman users, but this particular tool sucks!

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #11 of 33 Old 01-04-2013, 01:11 AM
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I understand you're reluctance on admitting to owning Craftsman on here. I have an old Craftsman table saw my dad gave me that I'm sentimentally (and stupidly) attached to. When I first joined the forum there were lots of folks downing Craftsman (and likely still are) one guy even had "Friends don't let frieds use Craftsman" as his signature. The hatred was so intense it scared me away from the forum a bit as I felt "ashamed" of my "inferior" tools. I couldn't understand why folks were more interested in dogging a brand and its owners than they were in sharing and helping folks enjoy wood working. Not all of us can afford fancy new tools, doesn't mean we should be ridiculed for buying what we can afford. Anywho, soapbox rant over, sorry to hear your mortise machine is so frustrating/disappointing but it sounds like you've found a way to make it work.
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post #12 of 33 Old 01-04-2013, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Very good rant craigwbryant - you make a very good point about "what we can afford" and working with that. WarnerConstInc has the mortise machine I would love to own, but it's out of my budget range for now. A good quality tool is worth more then a cheaper knock out version. When I was working, I use to pocket my coffee money to buy tools and I would be patient and buy top notch. I'm glad I passed on the coffee and donuts for 5 months to buy my Tormek sharpening sys because every time I go down to my shop, I have sharp tools to work with.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-05-2013, 08:52 PM
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Several years ago I switched to the Leigh M&T machine. It has been great and easy to use. Designing with M&T joinery is less worry some and the cost has been more than paid for in time saved cutting with the other techniques I used to use.
. I use the old square chisels to cut square holes for pinning tenons that warrant show.
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post #14 of 33 Old 01-06-2013, 01:25 AM
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here is my mortising machine. any problems i have with it are the fault of the user.
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-06-2013, 01:03 PM
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At least you could find or buy a mortising chisel. :-)
Used a lot for adjusting mortise but lots of work, time if you need to make a lot of mortises. Just finishing a pair of hall tables each with 16 mortises.
Agreed that one or two are faster with a morticing chisel. The jig of which I spoke will cut the mortise and tenon perfectly in less than a minute+- .
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post #16 of 33 Old 01-06-2013, 01:22 PM
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I only had 100 bucks in that machine.
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post #17 of 33 Old 01-06-2013, 01:39 PM
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I use the delta mortising attachment for my delta drill press. It was only $70 and has worked really well for hundreds of mortises in a variety of woods. I would like to get a second drill press so that it is set up all the time.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-06-2013, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmybgood View Post
I use the delta mortising attachment for my delta drill press. It was only $70 and has worked really well for hundreds of mortises in a variety of woods. I would like to get a second drill press so that it is set up all the time.
Just goes to show you, one man's junk is another man's treasure. This is my mortising set up. An old bench top drill press with a Craftsman mortising attachment and drill press vise. Then I built a stand for the drill press. I like it just fine, just a little boring to use. It usually requires a little clean up with a chisel.

I like to camfer the ends of my tenons. It make the joint slide together easier and give a little room for the excess glue

Bret

I hate my mortise machine-pc260260.jpg

I hate my mortise machine-pc260265.jpg

I hate my mortise machine-pc260263.jpg
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post #19 of 33 Old 01-07-2013, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midlandbob View Post
At least you could find or buy a mortising chisel. :-)
Used a lot for adjusting mortise but lots of work, time if you need to make a lot of mortises. Just finishing a pair of hall tables each with 16 mortises.
Agreed that one or two are faster with a morticing chisel. The jig of which I spoke will cut the mortise and tenon perfectly in less than a minute+- .
A bevel edged chisel works just fine. For me, it's a hobby I pursue that is sort of like therapy, so I have no need or desire to rush through the job. Even, it is not hard to do one in a couple of minutes. There is nothing more satisfying than to know I did it 100% by hand. Where is the art in using a machine?
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post #20 of 33 Old 01-07-2013, 12:19 PM
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Where is the art in using a machine?[/QUOTE]

Race car driving, space shuttle driving and woodworking to name a few.
Doesn't have to be done by hand to be art.

If you did not use a chisel or mallet and just used your teeth for creating beautiful mortises, would that be even a higher art form? Ha.

No really, I know what your saying. Hand work is it's own reward. But I don't think anyone's work is less worthy of praise because they used power machinery to aid the construction.

Bret
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