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Jack of too many trades..
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All, first post. I've been reading your forums for a few days now. From what I've seen, this seems like an excellent discussion forum for folks with a range of skills and tool-sets.

I am a (more-than-novice, but still) amateur wood-worker. My projects are usually related to home restoration/repair and the occasional furniture project. I've got windows on my current agenda.

I've never had a whole lot of money for expensive tools, but this gives me an excellent appreciation for quality and features, when I finally do have the cash to upgrade.

That said... I've got a Benchtop Mortising Machine... and it came from Harbor Freight. :blink: In my price range, there did not appear to be much increase in quality or features if I went with a Delta. Grizzly just significantly raised their prices, so here I am...


Anyway, the motor, frame, chuck, plunge mechanism are all quite solid and tight. I think should last through my new few projects. However, the fence and hold-down are absolutely awful. They actually interfere with the mortising bit. I've added a supplementary wooden fence, but it seems like there should be some better options.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a fence/hold-down upgrade? I'm not experienced enough with power mortising to know what features can and should be added.

Thanks for any suggestions
 

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Sawdust Creator
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I've been toying around with the same idea for my craftsman mortiser......its hold down is also crap....
 

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This won't help a bit but I replaced my harbor fight mortiser with a delta and that got rid of all the problems with it:yes:.
 

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Jack of too many trades..
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244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wish I could afford that sort of solution (replacement). Unfortunately, the next step in quality is about twice as much as I paid for this thing and this was really all that I could afford.

I'm fairly sure that the hold-down is not going to survive. The aluminum "L" bracket-thing that holds the fence and the hold-down is under a lot of stress each time the mortising bit sticks in my workpiece.

I think a custom jig of some sort might helpful, but I was hoping for some sort of after-market device, not unlike the high-quality replacement fences for tablesaws.
 

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If the bit sticking is the problem that may need some sticking prevention modification. I'm thinking about 10 minutes of draw filing would do it.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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I think the problem, is that as you withdraw the bit the wood rotates a bit making it hard to withdraw. I have a few ideas and hope to try them out soon on mine utilizing extruded aluminum and some toggle clamps.
 

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Jack of too many trades..
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244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If the bit sticking is the problem that may need some sticking prevention modification. I'm thinking about 10 minutes of draw filing would do it.

I read something about filing the bit to improve performance. Do I need to file the inside of the bit with a needle file, or just hone the exterior with a standard flat file?

It's gotten a little easier to use, since I realized that the "exhaust" part of the mortising bit needs to be turned "out" (when possible).
I also switch to using one of my higher quality vintage CMT bits rather than the the cheapo bits that came with the machine. Unfortunately, sticking is still a problem.

I've actually reached the end of my first two "test" sashes. The mortiser won't be needed until I am ready to build my next pair of sashes.

I've got a couple ideas on upgrades, but best bet would seem to be removing the original hold-down and MDF plate altogether and secure something directly to tapped screw holes in the foot of the tool.

Ryan, please post a pic if you get something worked out.
 

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You need to sharpen the inside of the chisel. If you sharpen the outside you will alter the dimension of the mortise. I have seen some sharpeners specifically for this. They look like a cone that you spin in the mouth of the chisel. I think Rockler has them, but I'm sure toucan find them elsewhere.
 
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