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I have a basic Bridgewood, which is similar to a Grizzly. Nothing fancy but it works well for me. Sharpening cones are available for the chisels- just be sure to get the correct angle for the chisels you have. Bits can be sharpened with a file. 

The maximum width of stock I can use on mine is a little over 5.5”. 

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So are these benchtop models or larger free standing models? I understand the usage and using the tool is fairly straight forward from what I have seen. You're drilling out the central mass and the square chisel is cutting the hole square. You make multiple cuts to make the long mortise and I guess you can do multiple rows to make the mortise wider. Interestingly we didn't have one of these in our school shop, at least not that I remember but then that was 50 years ago so the remember part might play a larger role. I don't recall doing much with joints t all like mortise and dovetails. But for furniture I see a great advantage for this joint. Real question is getting a tool that will do the general job and whether that will be a benchtop or larger tool. The larger ones seem more appropriate for commercial use but again the restriction on width of wood comes into play as well. Considering the largest mortise I can imagine needing to make may be for something like a workbench and that might be in a 4x4 leg post or even a 4x6. Aside from that we're talking basically furniture for the home. However nevr having used one I may be missing some important features that make it easier/better to use. Of course I realize it's mostly objective depending on the user.

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39 minutes ago, sreilly24590 said:

Considering the largest mortise I can imagine needing to make may be for something like a workbench and that might be in a 4x4 leg post or even a 4x6.

Reilly, as you know already the home and hobby mortise machines are for general furniture work, but if you feel you may be getting into larger mortise and tenon work as you describe, then you are getting into timber framing and such, in which case you'd just break out a large auger bit to hog out the mortise and clean up the sides with a timber slick if you had one, or you can you buy them on eBay or? You can even use standard bench chisels though it'd more time intensive instead of using the larger slicks. Also the large slick has the mass and the width to create nice and clean surfaces.

Creating larger mortise and tenons are actually easier than the smaller ones because of the space you have available to work in as far as hogging the mortise out and cleaning up the sides.

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Thanks John. My thoughts are that for larger projects the chisels would be the way to go as they would be seldom needed and no need to invest to cover for that. I have the better half as a bookkeeper and getting approval isn't approached lightly although she's easy to work with. So far from what I've seen online I really like the Powermatic 719T freestanding model. It allows upto a 1" hollow chisel bit and centers at 4" from fence so that will take me up to 8" width if I'm looking at this right. I also like the ability to securely hold the work versus the benchtop models and the extra HP doesn't hurt. 

 

Larry I've looked at those and again securing the work piece is a major concern. My old Clausan DP is 3/4 HP but lacks the geared raiser for the table which makes it a real pia to make the adjustments. I've also considered the attachment for my Shopsmith Mark 7 but prefer to keep it setup as a dedicated lathe if possible. The attachment for the Mark 7 is $183 but only goes up to 1/2" and again securing the wood is an issue as I see it. I might feel differently if I had seen one of these used in person but that hasn't been possible yet. At 65 I'm focused a good deal more on the safety aspect not that it's ever been a major concern but these days the grip isn't what it was 30 years ago and I seem to bleed a lot easier.......

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The company I worked for bought the powermatic  floor model mortiser a few years ago to put a 1"square in a bar stool. Bought several expensive chisels after an hour of trying we finally broke the handle. Sent the unit back to Woodcraft fir full refund...

 

Be careful when pushing tooling to its limits..

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Sounds like either dull hollow mortise bit or defect in handle. I would think this was the exception versus the normal. I've seen plenty of videos showing it doing just that without issue but they also weren't putting their full weight on the handle either. I think if something like this were to happen I would likely be calling support before trying different bits. Just saying it's easy to miss something. Were these people experienced with this type of machine? 

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I contend that unless you make a whole bunch of furniture it is about as easy to cut the mortises with a plunge router and an up feed spiral bit.  Just my 2 cents worth.  That being said, I do have a machine.

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45 minutes ago, Ron Dudelston said:

I contend that unless you make a whole bunch of furniture it is about as easy to cut the mortises with a plunge router and an up feed spiral bit.  Just my 2 cents worth.  That being said, I do have a machine.

I had a mortise machine, benchtop Shopfox, worked very well, but I only used it a few times, it took up more room than it was worth having around. If space is an issue, the router is a great way to go, if space isn't an issue, dedicated machinery is wonderful. Heck, the router is a great way to go whether space is an issue or not, it sure cuts cleaner mortises than the mortising machine does.

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My son recently got a bench-top mortiser for building railings for his new house, so I have SOME experience with them. This was a replacement for a smaller model, and has the ability to cut angled mortises. One thing in particular... get one with a sliding table! Nothing is more frustrating than having to loosen, move, and re-clamp seven or eight times to cut a 3" or so mortise!

John

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35 minutes ago, HARO50 said:

My son recently got a bench-top mortiser for building railings for his new house, so I have SOME experience with them. This was a replacement for a smaller model, and has the ability to cut angled mortises. One thing in particular... get one with a sliding table! Nothing is more frustrating than having to loosen, move, and re-clamp seven or eight times to cut a 3" or so mortise!

John

Agree with you on that John and that's why I like the Powermatic 719T. It has the sliding table and able to do angled mortises along with the clamping ability. 

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