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There are several more recent reviews and many of the models listed have changed motor speeds and added features.
I bought a Steel City about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I've used it to cut around 75 mortises and have been happy with it. I chose it after touching many models and liked it's micro-adjust, ease of setting up, fit & feel and price. The fence stayed square to the chisel after moving, I liked the wheels that pushed the work piece to the fence and the side wings for longer boards.
After buying and using it, I might put more emphasis on completely tool free adjustments. I narrowed my choose between the Steel City, Powermatic and General. Price became the determining factor for me (Steel City was less expensive and had a $50 rebate). If I did it again, I think I might get the Powermatic.
I don't own one but try to keep current as it is likely my next purchase, at this point I would buy the general 75-075. It is a huge machine but there are many times when I like to use a 3/4" tenon and the lessor machine only does a 5/8" tenon - single pass
BadgerDave I'm looking to sell my JET mortising machine, including a full set of barely used chisels, and another three JET-branded, brand new chisels. Lemme know if you're interested. I'll give you the Mad-City-local-Ridgid-forum-chum price deal.
I like it. It works just fine/great. But I simply don't use it anywhere as much as my early imagination thought I would, and I'd like to regain the use of that workspace.
I have a Steel City. It works well. I don't use it much because shortly after the purchase I bought a Dowel Max and have been using dowels for anything where the strength or appearance of a tennon is not required.
I have the PM701, but have not had much time to use it since I got it last Fall. I did do a few tests to try it out and it is way better than the DP mortising adapter I have been using.
Things to look for:
Wide base, CI preferably
Sturdy and easy to adjust hold-downs
Eval low (1725) vice high RPM machines
Biggest comfort feature is the ability to adjust the handle to a position that is good for you as far as applying leverage and the stroke travel range. You cvan adjust the height of the machine on your bench if need be to get a comfortable working height.
ShopNotes Issue #100 just had an article on building a very nice base for a dedicated mortiser, give it a look.
Bob, I saw that article in the latest ShopNotes and agree that table looks very interesting. It would seem, to my uneducated viewpoint, that with a setup like that it might just make most of the mortising machines pretty equal and bring the buying decision down to nothing more than price point. Do you agree? From the limited amount of research that I've done so far it appears that most of the machines are pretty close to the same power plant wise and the differences seem to be in the manner in which one machine secures or doesn't secure the work piece.
I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.
Bob, I saw that article in the latest Shop Notes and agree that table looks very interesting. It would seem, to my uneducated viewpoint, that with a setup like that it might just make most of the mortising machines pretty equal and bring the buying decision down to nothing more than price point. Do you agree? From the limited amount of research that I've done so far it appears that most of the machines are pretty close to the same power plant wise and the differences seem to be in the manner in which one machine secures or doesn't secure the work piece.
Sorry for taking so long to reply Dave, somehow I missed you post on the 7th.
Yes, I think building a table such as that in ShopNotes could be considered an equalizer of sorts. In the RPM debate it seems to me that 1725 is preferred (slightly) over the 3650 motors, too easy to burn a bit with the higher RPM motors and it doesn't affect production speed significantly to be a deciding factor.
There is a variety of different creature comforts/usability features on the various makes that you should consider when selecting a mortiser.
How easy is it to change bits?
Is a bit sharpener included?
Is the handle adjustable from left to right-handed and how many positions does the handle have?
CI base or some other material(MDF)?
Does the tool have built-in stops for repeatability?
Before I got my PowerMatic mortiser, I used a Delta mortising attachment on my Craftsman DP. This worked OK but I made it a little easier by using a cross vise to hold the work piece. It was then easy to setup and holds the work piece securely.
they at one time made an attachment for drill presses, and if your needs are minimal you could look into one of them there is a holder that clamps on the spindle column and then a bit that chucks into the drills chuck, and they work well, (probly not as good as a dedicated machine, but if you do not think one will use one much it may be an option, the bits and the drills are basically universal so if on chose to buy a machine later, more than likely the bits and chisel would work on the dedicated machine,
Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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