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My Tenons need Mortises

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  • My Tenons need Mortises

    I have just been getting into woodworking the last several months. I am just finishing a roll top desk I started years ago before heart problems stopped that in its tracks. I made five wooden tool boxes for gifts.

    Now I have chosen my next project, a pair of Mission Style bed stands. Each bed stand has about 30 mortises and tenons. I bought a kit but my drill press is way to inferior and will not handle the kit.

    Any advise would be appreciated. Is a mortising machine (table top) the answer or is there a middle ground solution?
    Last edited by skocars; 01-09-2009, 03:12 PM.

  • #2
    Re: My Tenons need Mortises

    I've seen a lot of people talk about how they got a mortise machine, and now it's collecting dust.

    I have the Ridgid drill press and a mortise attachment for it. It works great, and the DP is very capable. I don't really have a place for a dedicated mortise machine, and I don't do this kind of joinery often enough to justify one anyway.

    If you have the bucks for a mortise machine, a new DP might be a better choice. Personally, I like my Ridgid DP, but there's lots of others out there. Take a look and get one that has the power you need. The new DP's all seem to have a laser centering system that looks pretty cool. I have to line mine up by eye and trial!! That being said..it works great and I'm not willing to purchase a whole new tool just for that little added feature.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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    • #3
      Re: My Tenons need Mortises

      I do all my mortises with a brad point drill bit on the drill press then finish off with chisels. I don't have the space, or need, for a machine dedicated just to mortises and never really looked at the mortising attachments for my drill press.
      John

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      • #4
        Re: My Tenons need Mortises

        You could use a router with guide collar and jig, but for 30 of them on each that is like 60 mortises. I also set mine up so that they didn't need to be squared off. Are they mostly structural or not? You might be able to do the joinery with dowels instead, which at least for me are easier to do.

        Each one has some probability of error and can wreck that current workpiece; so if I were building it I would definitely think about buying the mortising machine. At $300 for a Delta that is only $5/mortise. HF has one for half that price.

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        • #5
          Re: My Tenons need Mortises

          Originally posted by VASandy View Post
          I've seen a lot of people talk about how they got a mortise machine, and now it's collecting dust.
          I've seen the same thing a lot. If that is really the case, there might be a good chance of getting a used one if you keep your eyes peeled.

          It probably also depends on your "style". There are some people who like collecting tools as much as the end product.

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          • #6
            Re: My Tenons need Mortises

            You'll find as many people who say drill press mortise attachments are junk as you'll find that say they are great. As I've never used one, I'll pass on making a judgment on them but suggest you research them thoroughly before getting one. For a negative view on them read Tom Hintz's review.

            Instead of using a M&T joint have you considered using a dowel joint. They're fairly easy to setup and a very good quality doweling jig can be had for around $60. Here's the one that I have, TASK Doweling Jig.
            Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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            • #7
              Re: My Tenons need Mortises

              As someone who has done it all three ways, I will say that the dedicated mortiser is probably the fastest and more precise, but perfectly good and serviceable M&T joints can be created using either a DP attachment or using a router or drill with a forstner bit, either of which needs to be followed up with a chisel.

              If you have a router, make use of it for this project. IF not, then just drill the majority of the waste out and chisel the mortise square. If you get a system going and maybe build yourself some simple jigs to help with obtaining accurate drill depth (if you don't have a DP) and make a chisel guide block to help keep the chisel plumb you should have nice joints with minimal expense.

              You can also do as others suggested and avoid M&T and use dowel joinery. Since your current project is a mission style table and M&T joinery is usually featured in this piece you can route a shallow groove and place a false tenon stub in it to create the illusion of a through tenon if that is your desire.
              ---------------
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              • #8
                Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                I am one of those that got a mortiser and used it a few times, and now it is collecting dust...

                I've found the most cost-effective (and speedy) solution for mortises is: www.mortisepal.com

                It's very well made and works just as advertised. Spend the extra few dollars and get good, high quality spiral upcut bits, in several sizes.

                I recently routed 16 mortises for my workbench base legs & stretchers, and did the whole job in about 1 hour, including layout time.

                You can make your own floating tenon stock, simply milling it to the desired thickness and width, and using a bullnose bit and/or two passes with a roundover bit to fit the round-end mortises. Or you can square them off, but if they're blind mortises, what's the point?
                Last edited by Wood_Junkie; 01-09-2009, 05:04 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                  I would say that if you have a bench-top drill press and a set of sharp chisels, you have all the tools you need. A forstner bit (at the mortise width or slightly undersized) will cut a truer hole than a bradpoint. (Bradpoints tend to follow the wood grain and can wander off center). However, it they are deep, you will need to lift the bit out as it cuts below the shoulder of the bit to clear the chips, as it has no spiral flutes to lift the chips out of the hole. Set up a backing piece that will keep the board vertical and centered for the drill bit, and drill holes for the mortises, overlapping no more than about 40% (you want the point of the forstner bit to bite into virgin wood). Go back and drop the bit to clean up the worst of the ridges that this will produce, and then clean up the sides with a sharp chisel. You do no need to clean up the ends on a blind mortise. Instead, round off the tenon with a sanding block or four-in hand rasp. You will not sacrifice any strength of the joint by rounding the tenon to fit the mortise.

                  Cut the mortises first, and then sneak up on the tenon width to fit.

                  With the project you are building, now is not the time to cheap out on bits. Get a Freud Forstner or better quality (for a 1/4" bit its only about $10). Bradpoints, especially poor quality, will dull quickly on the edge flanges and let the bit wander, but also do not cut well in harder woods when you are cutting a partial hole. The bit is not designed to take that stress. A Forstner has a stong shoulder so the edge does not tend to flare out or dull as quickly.

                  JMTCW

                  Go
                  Practicing at practical wood working

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                  • #10
                    Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                    I bought one of the attachment types and it wouldn't begin to work on a HF benchtop press. Got my Delta floor model drill press and the mortise attachment works like a charm.
                    info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

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                    • #11
                      Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                      Thank you all for your opinions and advise concerning Mortising machines. I do not worship in the House of Tools, and I have a limited budget, but when I spend for something, I need it to work. I nearly went with Harbor Freight but comments on this and other forums discouraged that. Grizzly was in contention. I finally settled in on the Delta Mortise Maker model 14-651 I think. I assembled it last night and made a few practice mortises. I believe this will be a great addition to my shop. My current project, 2 mission style night stands, have about 30 mortises per night stand, and about eight of them are through tenons. This machine cut right through the one inch oak I was using. Wish me luck. I am determined to learn and use this type of joinery in many of my future projects. And again, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your experience with me.

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                      • #12
                        Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                        Thanks for posting your process on this decision, skocars. I hope you'll post your opinions on the mortiser and definitely give us some pics on your projects.
                        I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                          I was debating the same thing,, dp or m
                          &t mashice,, but then i thought about a biscuit cutter. you can pick one up for around a 100 bucks and there very easy and accurate to use. im not much of a fan of ryobi but they make a good bisciut cutter ., i havent had any problems with mine yet.

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                          • #14
                            Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                            Anyone has the Ridgid AC6005 mortising kit? Any idea how mcuh it cost? Is it a better kit than the Delta kit availabe in Lowes? Does it worth the money for DIY home projects?

                            I have plunge/fixed router set up but have never done any M&T before, would a mortising kit a simpler option to a noob? (I do have a Ridgid DP tho.....)

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                            • #15
                              Re: My Tenons need Mortises

                              I have used as similar kit for my delta drill press. My humble opinion, I found it to be total waste of money, I had much more success cutting the mortise with a fostner bit and finishing it up with a mortise chisel. I currently use a dedicated hollow mortising machine the results are about the same. However, I prefer the fence on the dedicated over the drill press. It comes in real handy when I have several (more than 6) mortised to cut.

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