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Coop

Benchtop Mortiser

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I have this machine and although I'm not particularly displeased with it, it does leave a lot to be desired. Cleanup with chisels is usually required. Is this common? I am using the chisel/bit set that came with it. Should I chunk them and buy a better set or is it putting good money after bad? And for this discussion, leave out the word domino;)

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I have the shop fox version which is pretty much the same thing Coop and it has the same woes.  I will admit that I haven't used it in a while tho.

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Is there a way to un-subscribe to this forum;)

6 minutes ago, wdwerker said:

Have you sharpened the chisels and drill bit ?

No sir. But I fear that they're like the blade that comes with a ts. You can't fix crap. 

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Last time I used a square chisel morticer the time spent sharpening was the only thing that made it even passable. Still needed cleaning up but it wasn't horrible like before.

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Much of the reported experiences is what led me away from a bench top mortiser back when that decision was being made.  The General 75-050 was the only one that seemed to get consistently good reviews.  By the time I got the machine and bought a decent set of chisels for it (this is the real key to success with a mortiser) I was into a pretty decent investment; the Leigh FMT, Woodrat and others started to look reasonable.

At the time the Mortise Pal was still made and I went that route.  When the new MP model came out I sold my original and got the new model which I still use today.  With the toolmaker having moved on to other things I would again look to a mortiser for this task if my MP vanished. 

A decent tilt angle would be a must for me and of course, good cutters and a sharpening method for them . . . did I mention good cutters?  I think you will find this to be the key to success mortisers as it is with so many tools.

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If you buy more chisels, get Star-M.  The more expensive ones that LV sells are Star-M.

I use an x-fine diamond paddle to keep the outsides flat in the middle of a long run.  If there is the least burr, the chisel is hard to pull out.

The biggest advantage that the machines with a clamp for the work have is that the piece can't rock out of alignment, making withdrawing the chisel MUCH easier.  Unless that holddown is right on top of the piece, it will most likely rock some, which makes it harder to pull the chisel back out.

With softer woods, cleanup is almost always necessary.  I use Iwasaki wood files if it's a through mortise.  Tenons always need to be cut a little larger to allow for the cleanup.  I rarely don't hand fit tenons to the mortises, but most of the ones I make don't use glue, so need a tight, slide fit.

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I just sold my mortiser. The buyer was even willing to take the 5 years of accumulated dust. Now I have space for something else I won't use for years.

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