To succeed in any profession, you need two things; skill and the right tools for the job. And yes, when it comes to woodworking, it is one of the professions that one can’t survive without the right equipment.
Talk of the saws, sanders, router table, air ratchets, and of course, a mortising machine. And no matter the tool you need to buy, you need to ensure that you settle for nothing less than the best.
Now, if you asked most woodworkers, one of the greatest conundra they experience is in choosing the right mortiser for the job. But wait- even before we dig deep, let’s start with the obvious question for the sake of the uninitiated- what is a mortising machine?
Well, a mortising machine or a mortiser is a tool for making mortises, that is, square or rectangular holes in a piece of wood. It is designed for that purpose, and that’s why it’s a must-have for anyone who wants accurate mortises in their jobs.
That aside- how do you know the right mortising machine for the job. Of course, there is a lot to consider before you purchase one.
Design, power, chisel capacity, and handle are just a few of the many things you need to take in mind.
And with all these, things can be overly complex than they seem to professionals and beginners alike. That’s why we are here to help! Find the right tool in our review of the 11 best mortising machines!
Top 11 Mortising Machine Reviews
#1 Powermatic 1791310 PM701 Bench Mortiser
Powermatic 1791310 PM701 kick-starts our list of top-notch reviews. It’s the favorite tool for most woodworkers. More than a few users of the tool who have experience with other tools claim that it provides better results and greater efficiency.
The benchtop mortising machine has an in-line depth stop. This feature allows the user to drive the bit to the same depth in the workpiece for consistent and professional results. This property also ensures that the bit doesn’t get racked to the base for longer service life.
The stock hold-down locks at two positions to keep the workpiece put when working on it. By holding it in position, this feature ensures your safety, that of the machine, and protects the workpiece from damage. The hold-down works with stocks that are 5 inches thick and below.
One of the most noticeable features of this unit is that the large chuck door. The larger size makes it easy and convenient to access the chuck for quick and proper switching of bits.
The handle is another commendable feature about this mortising machine. It has a reversible design which means that the user can install it on either side of the head depending on their preference. Attaching the handle is a cinch and doesn’t need one to have any tools.
#2 PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser
If you interacted with several power tools, chances are that Porter-Cable isn’t a new name to you. This manufacturer has been in the industry for a very long time and has always impressed when it comes to product quality. And yes, with this tool coming from her, expect it to get the work done right more quickly and efficiently.
The unit packs an 11-amp motor that runs at impressive 27, 500 revolutions per minute (RPM) for professional-grade cuts. With this 1-1/2 HP motor, we are safe to say that it is one of the market’s mightiest machines. With this cutter, you will find it easier than it has ever been to cut mortises.
It will manage mortises of up to 7 inches long, 1-1/4 inches wide, and 4-3/4 inches deep, a pretty incredible capacity when we compare to that of other mortising machines. It utilizes steel and alloy construction, one of the major things that account for its durable performance.
The tool isn’t complex to use if you have the experience of using other mortisers. However, if you haven’t worked with a machine of its caliber before, there is still no point to worry since detailed easy-to-read instructions are included in the package to get you started like a pro.
#3 General Tools 870 E Z Pro Mortise and Tenon Jig
As aforementioned, woodworking is one of the professionals that rely on a variety of tools for success. Of course, settling for a single-purpose tool every time is expensive. For this reason, it’s wise to consider the versatility of a tool before you make any purchase.
And yes, this mortising machine from General Tools is one of the versatile machines we have out there. With the single unit, you can make matching mortise and tenon. The bushing guides let the user make tenons that are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inches. You will also get a high-speed up-cut spiral bit, centering tool, bushing adapter, and an adjustment wrench.
The body of this unit is of aircraft-grade aluminum. Therefore, in case you are looking for a lightweight yet durable unit for cutting mortises, this tool should be what you need to bring to your workshop.
The machine also has a small size. Hence, you will find it easier to move within and outside your workshop. The piece accepts a workpiece with the thickness of anywhere between 1/2 inch and 1-1/2 inches.
#4 Jet Bench Mortiser, 1/2 HP, 120V, 1/2″ Cap.
This machine is engineered to meet the needs of both professional furniture makers and home Do-It-Yourselfers. It features a 1/2-HP motor, a powerful engine to handle both home and professional applications with ease.
The mortiser makes use of heavy-duty cast iron and solid steel in its construction. For this reason, it should live the longest among the machines you have in your workshop. But even with the solid construction, the weight of this mortiser stands at 44 lbs. for easy maneuverability by the operator.
The removable on/off enhances safety by curbing accidental start and unauthorized utilization of the tool. The doors of this cutter are of durable steel and not cheap plastic as with most models we have in the market.
This high-performing machine is designed to take up to 1/2-inch drill bits. Additionally, changing these bits is also easy and quick.
In fact, since it features a 4-inch chuck key, switching chisel bits in this model is safer since there are little to no chances of scraping your knuckles.
The long feed handle of this piece is also adjustable so that you will always get the right positioning for every job.
#5 RIKON Professional Power Tools Benchtop X/Y Mortiser (34-260)
Next on the list is this amazing benchtop version from Rikon Power Tools. It is built using premium-grade materials for long-lasting performance. The mortiser features 1/2-horsepower motor that cuts mortises in the toughest materials with ultimate ease.
The incredible speed of 1750 RPM is an implication that it is one of the options designed to handle most applications within the shortest time possible without overheating or creating any unwanted mess.
The unit affords the user with plenty of space for the workpiece. The gas-filled stabilizer promises a consistent downward and upward movement of the chisel for consistent and clean cuts in your projects. The sliding table has an X-Y axis for greater accuracy in your projects whereas the
The hold-down prevents the workpiece from slippage for user safety and that of the machine. This machine comes with a user manual that gives step by step instructions on how to use the tool.
However, we have several cases of users complaining about the manual to be quite hard to understand. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be a major issue given that the unit is easy to use and that there are tutorials to follow on the internet.
#6 WEN 43012 Cast Iron Bench Mortiser with Chisel Bit Set
Like the previous model, this machine is another great option for anyone who often needs to make accurate mortises on a hardwood. The unit comes equipped with an efficient 5-amp motor that provides an impressive speed of 1725 RPM.
The chuck is compatible with bits as small as 1/32 of an inch up to 1/2 of an inch. However, if you want to use it with chisel bits, it provides a smaller compatibility range of 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch. With such compatibility, we can think of it as one of the models that have the adaptability you need in tackling your projects.
The unit will work with stocks that have a maximum thickness of 4 inches. The spindle moves up to 4-1/4 inches vertically and can make mortises that are up to 3 inches deep. The tool and chisel storage keeps all your bits within your access and ensures that you remain more organized.
Apart from the mortiser, the package includes three chisel bits, a chuck extension adapter, adjustable handle, chisel bushing (3/4-inch), depth stop, spring-tensioned fence, and more. The chisel bits are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inches to keep you ready for nearly every challenge that may come your way.
#7 Shop Fox W1671 Mortising Machine
Although it isn’t the most affordable mortiser in the market, Shop Fox W1671 packs lots of features that all professional woodworkers and home Dyers want in a mortising machine.
The durably constructed machine features a 3/4 HP motor that runs the spindle at an incredible speed of 3450 RPM. With such speed, you will be able to cut through soft and hard materials with ease.
With such speed, the machine will come into contact with the workpiece for a very short time to ensure less heat build-up and to maintain the sharpness of the bits for a longer period. To ensure even cooler operation, the fan-cooled engine of this powerful machine has an aluminum-finned enclosure that offers excellent heat dissipation.
The ability to support maximum stock length and thickness of 7-3/8 inches. Therefore, the tool will support a larger workpiece than those with smaller capacities. The durably constructed steel handle is extra-long to provide maximum leverage and will adjust to 6 positions for increased user convenience.
The head of the mortiser affords up to 9 inches of travel while the chisel moves 4-3/4 inches vertically. The weight of 90 lbs., however, isn’t the best for those that want a unit that is easy to move. But if you intend to use it within the workshop, it’s a nice place to invest.
#8 Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Mortiser
Makita is another big name when it comes to hand tools and power tools. Therefore, we expect nothing but quality from this amazing mortising machine. It’s undeniable that the machine has a steep price point, but comparing its power, accuracy, and the fact that it is a chain model, it’s easy to see why.
Among the most fantastic features, it boasts is a high-performing 10.5-amp motor. This motor delivers up to 3200 RPM, an amazing rating that powers through the toughest materials like a knife through butter. Its design and excellent craftsmanship minimize the chances of damaging the workpiece to give you professional results with maximum efficiency.
Most professionals like that it pivots to three cutting positions when still keeping the base in the same position. The easy-do-use knobs and levers allow the user to adjust the position of the chain across the timber for user convenience that is hard to beat.
And although it is a heavy-duty machine, it maintains a low weight at just 38.1 pounds for enhanced portability and increased maneuverability. The machine comes with chain oil, wrench, sharpening holder assembly, and an 18-mm chain.
#9 Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand
This mortising machine adopts rugged cast-iron construction to stand the test of time. Combining the heavy-duty construction with the hardworking 1-HP motor, this unit should handle even the most challenging mortising applications.
The multi-position handle on the rack-and-pinion gear system provides maximum leverage while the gas-filled stabilizer ensures smooth operations. The clamp adjusts easily to hold your workpiece in position. In fact, since it can swivel, you will like how well this unit works with angled workpieces.
The machine also has table measures 20-1/4 inches by 7 inches to give the user plenty of space. The table and the fence tilt to any angle of between 0-35 degrees for increased user versatility. For increased user convenience, this table will move to the right/left/forward/backward as the user pleases using the strategically-positioned large handwheel controls.
The reliable depth stop guarantees consistent results. Also, the depth of this unit adjusts easily to save time. The durable steel cabinet holds chisels and other accessories to keep your working space well organized.
#10 Delta 14-651 1/2″ Mortiser
For those that are looking for a mortising machine that is easy to operate, the Delta 14-651 1/2″ Mortiser will be a nice unit to add to your shopping cart. The chuck is easily accessible while the rack-and-pinion fence is customizable for user convenience.
The adjustable hand lever and the swiveling head support a wide variety of applications including the most challenging off-table tasks. The extra-long handle maximizes leverage to make creating professional-grade mortises easier than ever.
The powerful 1/2-HP motor along with other great features means that this machine can handle even the toughest mortising jobs. The feed speed of 1725 RPM is nice for both professional and home applications.
The drill chuck work with drills that are up to 3/8 inches. Its base is 16-3/4-inch by 13-1/2-inch and is of cast iron for longevity. The gas-filled stabilizer holds the promise of smooth and steady operations.
#11 Grizzly Industrial G0645-1/2 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine
This mortising machine packs all the features that a mortiser needs to have to produce accurate mortises every time. The 1/2-horsepower motor powerful enough to handle tough materials such as dense hardwood. The spindle speed of 1725 RPM is high enough to handle most projects correctly.
Grizzly Industrial G0645 machine boasts a maximum stock width of 8-1/2 inches and comes with a 1-3/4-inch extension block that increases the stock thickness capacity to 6 inches. The chisel is programmed to move a maximum of 4-5/8-inches vertically.
The tool’s ability to make mortises that are up to 3 inches thick means that this is one of the units to turn to when you need to make deep and clean cuts. The adjustable depth stop guarantees consistency in your cuts.
The entire machine is of cast iron. Thus, you can count on it to deliver satisfying performance for several years to come. The multi-position handle is also another commendable feature of the unit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a benchtop Mortiser?
A mortising machine can either be a benchtop or a floor-standing unit. Benchtop versions, as the name suggests, are placed on a workbench or table. However, floor-standing options are more powerful and are made to stand on the floor. Nevertheless, they cost more than the benchtop versions.
Benchtop or floor-standing mortising machine?
Well, it depends on the size of your pocket and the nature of your projects. The benchtop version is cheaper and makes shallower cuts than their counterparts. Also, the benchtop versions are normally smaller and weigh quite less.
Are mortising machines worth it?
Well, you may cut mortises with hand or using other available methods. However, you won’t get better results like those of this machine. Also, these machines are quite faster and will let you finish the work sooner.
How do you use a mortiser machine?
Most of the mortising machines are easy to use. They all come with a user manual that provides step by step guide on how to use them. Hence, in case you don’t know how to operate these machines, check the instructional manual to see the manufacturer’s recommended procedure.
The value that a mortising machine brings to every woodworking shop is simply impossible to overlook.
However, with a few machines bringing more bad than good, it’s advisable to be keen on the model you choose. Among the most promising options are those covered on our list.
- Top 11 Mortising Machine Reviews
- #1 Powermatic 1791310 PM701 Bench Mortiser
- #2 PORTER-CABLE 513 Lock Mortiser
- #3 General Tools 870 E Z Pro Mortise and Tenon Jig
- #4 Jet Bench Mortiser, 1/2 HP, 120V, 1/2″ Cap.
- #5 RIKON Professional Power Tools Benchtop X/Y Mortiser (34-260)
- #6 WEN 43012 Cast Iron Bench Mortiser with Chisel Bit Set
- #7 Shop Fox W1671 Mortising Machine
- #8 Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Mortiser
- #9 Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand
- #10 Delta 14-651 1/2″ Mortiser
- #11 Grizzly Industrial G0645-1/2 HP Benchtop Mortising Machine