It is currently 18 Aug 2022, 23:20

A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Here's the place to talk about all your table saws, bandsaws, routers and dust extractors. In fact anything that makes noise and uses electrickery.

A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Trevanion » 06 Dec 2020, 22:52

The Hollow Chisel Morticer, perhaps the most ubiquitous woodworking machine in Britain, they are everywhere all over the country being in used workshops, stowed away in farmer's barns, on a scrap pile... Much like a rat or a mole, you are never too far away from a morticer!

But with them being such a common machine, very little has been written or shown about them in the last couple of decades beyond people who seemingly have very little idea of what they're talking about and also show some very incorrect practices which shouldn't be replicated unless you want bad results. They have largely fallen out of love with hobbyists in favour of shiny black and green expensive machines (which aren't bad) which I think is in part due to the lack of decent information on how to make these machines work properly without terrible and frustrating results. I hope with this rudimentary guide I can at least explain how to set-up and use a morticer correctly and get good results from the machine for both the complete beginner up to the seasoned woodworker looking to expand into another branch of woodworking.

A safety note, whilst these are arguably the safest machine in the woodworking realm they can still bite you if you're complacent with them! I know someone very well personally who got his gloved hand entangled in a 16mm chisel and auger as he went to wipe shavings off the workpiece and his hand passed underneath the cutting bit, this was an operator with 12 years of experience at the time.

A Sedgwick 731 Morticer:

Image

The Machine at a Glance

The Hollow Chisel Morticer is arguably the most simple woodworking machine consisting of just a vertically moving motorhead, a lever and traversing table (or a stationary table and a traversing head or even both stationary and you move the timber depending on the machine) as it's main components. As with any machine, there are varying levels of build quality to be had from an attachment that you can put on a pillar drill to a hobbyist bench-top jobbie all the way up to a machine in excess of a tonne that can put 1 1/2" square holes in timber all-day.

The machine functions very much like a simple arbour press would, a long lever is pulled and it puts extreme force downward onto the workpiece, in conjunction with the hollow chisel and the spinning auger a square hole is made far quicker and easier than by hand. Rigidity in the machine is absolutely essential for morticing effectively, there is a lot of pressure and strain put onto the machine trying to force the chisel through the timber and in a lower quality machine in harder timbers, this can mean the upper part of the machine can flex relative to the table which will result in inaccuracies. This is why in the lower end of the spectrum many machines are made with solid round bars or and I-beam construction.

Practically all morticers are directly driven from the motor usually with a drill chuck on the end of the motor although on older machines there is usually a reducing bush system where a grub screw positively grips the auger and the bushes hold it in the centre of rotation. The motor is mounted on a cast housing which is attached to the main column of the machine which travels up and down the column when the lever is pulled, typically using either a gear and rack system or a more complicated linkage to drive it downwards. The motor and head casting are counterbalanced so that pulling the head out of the mortice doesn't include the weight of the head also, this is typically done with either a counter-weight or a spring balance.

The cast housing also has a hole bored at the bottom in-line with the centre of the motor shaft above which the chisel itself is held in place by a grub screw or locking lever.

Usually, the table travels left and right with a handwheel and travels in and out with either a separate handwheel or a secondary function on the main handwheel by pulling it out towards yourself. Some of the lower end machines utilise a simple hold-down of some kind and the table does not travel left and right, with these machines you set your fence where you want the mortices to be made and set the hold down just slightly above the workpiece by a millimetre or so upon lifting of the handle after making a mortice the workpiece is held down and the chisel is extracted, you just butt up the workpiece to the fence and move it along by hand as you make the mortice. Machines with a traveling table utilise a clamping system to hold the workpiece in place, you will notice that the clamp is not clamping parallel with the bottom of the table but actually at a slight downward angle, this creates a wedging action and makes it more difficult for the workpiece to work loose as it's being morticed.

The head slide adjustment on this Sedgwick 731 is achieved by slackening off the three bolts holding the gibs in place and tightening/loosening the screws which drive it into the dovetail of the head, the same system is used on the table adjustments:

An example of the angled clamp:

Image

Selecting a Machine

Taking what I've written above into account there are a few things to consider first before deciding what machine you need.

Chiefly, you need to decide the scale of work you will be undertaking with the machine as whilst a benchtop model will make mortices adequately it will begin to struggle once you begin using chisels larger than 3/8"/10MM even if the machine manufacturers states it can take larger chisels, although larger mortices can be made with multiple passes with a smaller bit. But then also the hulking tonne of old iron may be a bit excessive for doing smaller mortices, but it will still do them adequately enough.

New or secondhand? There is very little to go wrong with a morticer on account of its very simple construction so really there isn't much reason to avoid buying a secondhand machine unless the motor is kaput. Because there is very little to go wrong with a morticer there are a plethora of good-quality secondhand examples to be had for peanuts.

Another consideration is power, pretty much all the hobbyist level machines are 240V single-phase and under a horsepower, many of the older and bigger machines will be 440V three-phase which isn't so simple to deal with unless you're lucky enough to have a three-phase supply in your workshop.

Space is also another factor, a big advantage with a bench-top model is it can be clamped to the bench when in use and then put away for when it's no longer needed, a dedicated floor-standing model eats up a relatively small amount of space but still in a small environment you need all the space you can get.

In my personal opinion, I think a good middle ground to aim for is something like a Sedgwick 731 or a Multico M or K. These machines are a decent step-up from the bench-top models but can be had for a similar price to the bench-top machines on the secondhand market, there is basically nothing to go wrong with them and they will hold their value to the point where you will lose little to no money if you sell it on.

Setting Up a Machine for Use

Whether the machine is new or secondhand, more than likely it will need a little fine-tuning to get it to be working perfectly. The first thing that should be done is the slideways of the head and table and any other moving parts such as gears and racks should be oiled with a light oil such as Sewing Machine oil or 3-in-1, ran up and down and back and forth a few times and wiped down with a clean rag to remove any dirt and debris and then re-oiled and wiped down again if necessary to remove more dirt then re-oil once more. On most machines, the travel of the head can be adjusted for tightness by the way of a clamping gib (normally a dovetail gib) and a couple of screws, check along the whole of the heads travel for tightness by wobbling the head side to side, if there is any noticeable or audible movement the gib needs tightening slightly, you want it tight enough that there isn't any lateral movement but not so tight that it causes friction. If the gib is too loose it will cause inaccuracies.

The head slide adjustment on this Sedgwick 731 is achieved by slackening off the three bolts holding the gibs in place and tightening/loosening the screws which drive it into the dovetail of the head:

Image

The next thing is a similar process on the table, grab each side of the table and try and wobble it front to back, since there are usually two table adjustments either one could be loose and both need checking. I find it's better for the in and out adjustment of the table to be ever so slightly tighter than the head and top table would be to help prevent the table moving that way in use. For the top table which moves side to side you want it to be identical to the head, easy to move but absolutely no visible or audible movement back and forth. These adjustments are largely a trial and error exercise until you've got it right.

The same system as the head adjustments is used on the table:

Image

Image

Motors on modern machines tend to be the permanently greased type and do not require maintenance (except for bearing replacement), older machines will have grease points and it is absolutely imperative that you DO NOT over-grease these motors as the packed grease will cause friction and heat in the bearing and shorten the life of the bearing and motor. There may be other greasing points on the machine for rotating parts such as the lever handle or counterweight chain which are worth giving a shot every so often. My preferred grease for machines is Shell Gadus S2 V220.

It is good practice to use a board underneath the workpiece to prevent ever having the chisel come into contact the cast iron bed which is a surprisingly common occurrence according to the number of tables I've seen with holes in them! I have a board that's practically permanently on the table and it's simply held in place by two small battens at either end of the table to prevent it from sliding.

Tooling

When it comes to morticer tooling there are two different types, A Japanese Pattern Chisel and Auger and an English Pattern Chisel and Auger. "What is the difference" you ask? Whilst both make a square hole in timber it is argued in the woodworking community that both have their plusses and minuses in various applications, it's generally regarded that the English Pattern is more suited to hardwood whilst the Japanese is more suited to softwoods, I personally have no qualms using either pattern of chisel on hardwoods or softwoods, they both work practically the same I find.

Below is a Japanese Pattern Chisel (on the left) and an English Pattern Chisel(on the right):
Image

As you can hopefully see the Japanese chisel has a much sharper arc to the front chisel whilst the English Pattern has a gentler arc. I am unsure of what the respective angles are but there is a noticeable difference. Whilst not shown in this picture the Japanese chisel has a chip ejection port running the whole length of one side of the chisel whilst the English Pattern has two smaller ones on opposite sides, one lower down on the chisel than the other.

Below is a Japanese Pattern Auger (on the left) and an English Pattern Auger (on the right):
Image

The Japanese pattern auger has a single cutting edge and flute, a single deep cutting spur, and a centre point (not visible in this photo) whilst the English Pattern has two cutting edges and two flutes, two shallow cutting spurs and no centre point which results in a relatively flat-bottomed mortice.

An example of a mortice created by a Japanese Pattern Chisel and Bit in Iroko:

Image

An example of a mortice created by an English Pattern Chisel and bit in Iroko:

Image

There aren't many manufacturers left of hollow chisels and augers, as far as I'm aware there are only two or three left in the world, only the Japanese pattern is made and almost all of the lower-end ones come out of the same factory regardless of supplier and brand. It's generally regarded that Nakahashi in Japan and Armac in the UK are the only high-end manufacturers of hollow chisel tooling left. There used to be many manufacturers of mortice tooling and much of it is still available secondhand or even new-old-stock online. One of the more prolific English Pattern manufacturers was Clico whom you'll find quite a lot of chisels and related items made by.

Something to note is that Hollow Mortice Chisels are not parallel through their length, they are actually tapered. It is important that you do not grind the outside of the chisel (although a very light, fine lapping is acceptable for removing burrs from sharpening) so that you do not affect the taper as well as make the tool smaller or out-of-square. As you can see with this Nakahashi 16mm Mortice Chisel, there is a 1mm taper along it's length.

Image

Image

Preparing a New Hollow Chisel and Auger

When you buy a new Hollow Chisel and Auger there are some things that need preparing before use, much like how a brand new regular bench chisel needs a honed edge and maybe a little work on the back.

Typically, an auger is supplied over-length and requires cutting to length to suit the machine, to figure out the length you need to cut off first put your chisel in the machine and also put in the auger as far up into the chuck/collet as you can, the amount that the auger protrudes out the bottom of the chisel needs to be cut off the shank end. The shank of the chisel is soft so this is pretty straightforward to do with a hacksaw.

Image

Next, I find it helps to remove the burrs from the manufacturing process from the ejection port so the chips come out easier. Eventually, the chips will wear the burrs away anyway if you were to leave them there but I just simply prefer to deal with it from the outset. I take a fine cut file and draw-file down the ejection port slots to remove the rough machining marks and to ease the sharp edges. Despite this being a high-end Nakahashi Chisel it does still have burrs left behind.

Image

Image

The next thing to do is to inspect the auger, make sure that the cutting face and spur are sharp and free from any major burring. The flute of the auger is usually pretty burred along the back edge so I run a little bit of 500 grit wet and dry paper in the flute to knock these off and smooth the flute a little.

Image

Installing the Chisel and Auger

It is surprising how often I see even seasoned woodworkers who may have used a morticer for a long time get this part completely wrong. It's a rather simple process though and once you understand how to do it properly you won't ever need to really think about how it should be done again.

The first thing is to put your auger and chisel together and put them in the machine, I find it helps to lower the head down just in case the auger or chisel drops out accidentally during this process (You can guess how I gained a gash on the back of my hand :eusa-shifty:) as it can be a bit fiddly and sometimes you feel like you need a third hand to hold onto everything. It's best to clamp down on the auger first as this will stop both the auger and chisel from dropping out.

The Drill Chuck that holds the Auger in place:

Image

You then want to line up your chisel square with the rear fence. I tend to wind the table forward until it's just touching the chisel and eye up the gap on either side so that they're equal and tighten it down, double checking again that it hasn't moved while tightening it. Some people rather use a square off the fence and set the chisel off the square but I personally prefer referencing off the fence as shown below.

Image

Now this is the bit so many get wrong, ENSURE that the chip ejection port is either to the left or right and not facing forward or backward. You want the chips to eject into the open mortice and if you put it facing the cheeks of the mortice you will be constantly clogging the auger as the chips cannot eject out of the port, causing friction and shortening the life of your tooling rapidly!

Correct orientation of the port relative to the fence:

Image

Chip ejection into the open mortice, particularly important on deep mortices for doors and such:

Image

If your chisel is not square to the fence you get a jagged looking mortice which the severity of depends on how out-of-square the chisel is. There are situations where having the chisel out-of-square relative to the fence can be rather handy, such as morticing for louvres in a window shutter or door. This photo below shows the result of having a slightly out of square chisel:

Image

Setting the auger is fairly straightforward, you want the cutting edge to be in-line with the points of the chisel as shown in the photo below.

Image

Some people will actually put a one pence piece (called a penny-gap technique) above where the chisel registers in the cast housing and set the auger tight up in the chisel, then slacken off the chisel and remove the penny and a similar gap is achieved. The general rule of thumb used to be one penny for chisels up to 12mm and two pennies for chisels above 12mm.

Image

Using a Hollow Chisel Morticer

Now that you've got your machine set up correctly, you can now use it! :D There are various opinions on Morticer technique, for now, we'll talk about the way I prefer to use the machine.

You should lay out all of your workpieces for the mortices to be undertaken. I find it is only necessary to mark the length of the mortices on each piece and only the location of the mortice in the width on a single workpiece or testpiece as the location of this relative to the fence will not change once set.

When beginning a mortice I personally prefer to plunge to full depth at each end of the mortice (this may require a couple of plunges to keep the auger from clogging) and work my way from one side to the other, making sure I am working away from the chip ejection port so that the chips empty out into the open mortice I am creating as I go along. That's all there really is to it :lol:

Other individuals will do a series of "steps" as they begin a mortice, stepping down a quarter of depth in each plunge while traversing the table across a single chisel width until they reach depth required, then come back and finish off back to the shoulder of the mortice. I personally do not like this method as the chisel can deflect and work away from the shoulder because of the material removed from one of its sides which results in an inaccurate mortice, unacceptable!

Regarding depth stops on a morticer, sometimes there is only one stop and sometimes there are two (or even more). Two stops are very handy for joinery work where haunches are required such as the top and bottom of a casement or door. On my Sedgwick 731 I have made my own secondary stop for such purposes:

Image

There are some more advanced techniques when it comes to morticing but aren't overly relevant to a hobbyist as they are purely efficient time-savers that trade saving time for more wear on the tooling. One of these practices is "scraping the bottom" of a mortice, this is where a mortice is made to full depth along its length and then the table is moved across with the mortice bit at the bottom of the hole which results in the small pieces that are usually left behind in the mortice being sheared off and cleared away. Some people abhor this method of work but I personally have not had any issues doing it for years but if time is not of the essence you can simply clean out mortices with a regular chisel. Another time-saving method particularly when morticing doors or windows that require wedges to hold the joinery together is on the outside face of the part you put the mortice chisel 3-5mm over the mortice line after it has been morticed all the way through and while plunging the mortice turn the handwheel so that the chisel is working its way back to the mortice, repeat on the other side and this leaves a taper on each side of the mortice for wedges to go into. Again, that is a practice that is commonly frowned upon by hardcore woodworkers as there is a potential to damage to tooling, I have found in my couple of hundred doors or so that to not be the case.

Sharpening Mortice Tooling

There will come a time when your tooling needs to be sharpened, you will figure this out because the tooling will begin to cut less effectively, the edges of the mortice will be more ragged and burning will occur in the mortice.

Sharpening the auger is fairly straight forward, there are two main areas that will need attention. The cutting edge will tend to round over as these augers aren't particularly hard, these get touched up with a fine-cut file on the flute side of the cutting edge, not on the top of the cutting edge. The second area that will need work is the cutting spur, you will want to keep this sharp by filing the inside bevel of the spurs, not the outer diameter (although, some people do grind down the outer diameter of augers if they require a mortice that is truly square without any rounding cause by the auger escaping the chisel slightly). Once these two areas feel sharp the work is pretty much complete.

Sharpening the Hollow Chisel is a different affair, this requires more specialist equipment to achieve sharpness, I know of some people who treat hollow chisels as disposable once they become too blunt because they cannot (be bothered) get a hold of the correct equipment for sharpening them. A Hollow Chisel requires a countersink shaped reamer or grinder to sharpen the chisel, such as the set below:

Image

This is a Clico Reamer for sharpening Japanese Pattern bits (hence the J designation on the box and reamer), they have become quite a rare item since Clico (Clifton) stopped manufacturing Hollow Chisels and related items and as such fetch a premium on auction sites. They are used with a brace for driving old-timey auger bits to shave steel from the inside of the hollow chisel.

Image

the pilot in the centre of the reamer keeps it relatively centred but it is still essential that you check that all the points are in the same plane by putting the chisel points down on a flat surface and eyeing up to it with a square (keeping in mind there is a slight taper to the chisel), if all the points are not in-line the chisel has a tendency to veer to the direction that the points are longest which will result in an inaccurate mortice, unacceptable!

Image

Once enough steel has been removed from the inside that all four points are sharp and in-line the chisel is pretty much ready to go once the burrs are lapped off on the outside of the chisel on a fine oilstone or similar. Some people like to turn a wooden countersink of the same angle as the reamer and charge it with polishing compound for a sharper chisel, I haven't tried this myself though.

Another method of sharpening Japanese chisels is with a diamond sharpener for the job that is available from various places, used much in the same way as the reamer. Although, for an English Pattern Chisel the relevant reamer MUST be used! You will ruin the chisel if you change the chisel geometry from the English Pattern to the Japanese Pattern. English Pattern reamers are hard to come by and diamond sharpeners for the English Pattern are non-existent as far as I know, an alternative method though is to buy a tapered abrasive stone that is designed to fit in a drill and shape it to the correct angle with a devil stone or diamond dresser then use the abrasive stone to sharpen the chisel. On larger chisels, you can sharpen them carefully with a fine-cut file, it is also quite common practice to take a small triangular file to the inner corners of the chisel and relive material from the corners which are supposedly helpful for breaking up chips.

An example of corner reliving:

Image

Eventually, tooling does give up the ghost. I've only ever split the one chisel but I have snapped several augers (which split the chisel at the same time), this happens after many hours of hard use and the average user won't come across these problems so long as they keep on top of maintaining the tooling.

Image

Image

In Conclusion

I hope this guide has been helpful to anyone who happens to read it, I am by no means an expert on the subject and liable to mistakes so if anyone reads anything they disagree with or feels that I've left something out feel free to leave a comment and I will remedy the post if necessary. I had been writing this for another place some time ago but upon being messed around regarding editing privileges and my permanent banishment from said place, this becomes a WoodHaven2 exclusive bit of content now that I've finally finished it, hooray! :eusa-dance:
Last edited by Trevanion on 06 Feb 2021, 21:32, edited 1 time in total.
Image
User avatar
Trevanion
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1671
Joined: 27 Apr 2019, 19:04
Location: Pembrokeshire
Name:

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby kirkpoore1 » 07 Dec 2020, 05:08

Excellent post. It covers a lot and is a great tutorial.

Three comments:

1. I'd make sure the table is perpendicular to the fence. Sure, the clamp ought to be holding the work to the fence, but you'll be putting a lot of downward pressure on the workpiece and if it's not fully supported from below you might still get some deflection.

2. I've been taught to have the chisel fully buried in the wood as often as possible so that there is no sideways deflection if you can manage it. This means when cutting a long mortise to leave a space less than or equal to a chisel width between the holes, then come back and clean them up. So if I were cutting a 2" long mortise with a half inch chisel, I'd do one end, the other end, then the middle, leaving two 1/4" wide portions, then cut those centered under the chisel. I have seen chisel deflection in small chisels when cutting with one edge exposed.

3. If your machine has a drill chuck, and your auger doesn't have a long enough shank to top out inside the chuck, there is a chance the auger can be force into the chisel and crack the chisel. This has happened to me. To fix this, you can mark exactly where the chuck jaw tips are on the shank, then grind flats on the shank, leaving the shoulder to catch on the jaw tips so the auger can't be forced up into the chisel.

Kirk
User avatar
kirkpoore1
Nordic Pine
 
Posts: 963
Joined: 21 Jul 2014, 22:12
Location: O'Fallon, Illinois
Name: Kirk

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Woodbloke » 07 Dec 2020, 07:29

kirkpoore1 wrote:Excellent post. It covers a lot and is a great tutorial.


:text-+1: I'd agree, but I haven't used this sort of machine for well over a decade. If I have a few mortices to cut I use a router and square the ends up afterwards - Rob
I no longer work for Axminster Tools & Machinery.
User avatar
Woodbloke
Old Oak
 
Posts: 4678
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 10:06
Location: Salisbury, UK
Name: Rob Stoakley

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Doug » 07 Dec 2020, 07:50

Woodbloke wrote:but I haven't used this sort of machine for well over a decade. If I have a few mortices to cut I use a router and square the ends up afterwards - Rob


Similar here, I bought a domino xl when they first came out & sold my mortiser, so much easier taking a small power tool to a large piece of timber than struggling getting a large piece of timber in a machine.
Once the mortise is cut like Rob I simply square the ends or in the case of a wedged tenon cut a taper in the ends of the mortise with a chisel
Doug
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1636
Joined: 21 Jul 2014, 22:22
Location: @dougsworkshop
Name:

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Mike G » 07 Dec 2020, 08:18

That's a superb tutorial, Trevanion. Many thanks for posting it. Sad to hear that there are only two auger/ chisel manufacturers left, though, symptomatic of the decline of the use of joints in solid timber.
User avatar
Mike G
Sequoia
 
Posts: 8177
Joined: 30 Jul 2014, 22:36
Location: Somewhat less of a hovel
Name:

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby RogerS » 07 Dec 2020, 08:22

Fabulous write-up, Dan. Personally I find my set-up works extremely easily for using the morticer as it's right at the end of a long bench and so support for long door stiles, for example, is so easy. Lot more controllable IMO than messing with a scary spinning 1/2" router bit wobbling along the edge. Horses for courses.
Getting more senile by the day
User avatar
RogerS
Petrified Pine
 
Posts: 11578
Joined: 21 Jul 2014, 21:07
Location: Nearly finished. OK OK...call me Pinocchio.
Name:

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby novocaine » 07 Dec 2020, 08:47

Thanks and wow.

Im that werido who has a drill press and a morticing attachment l. You know the one everyone says isnt worth having. When i do need it (not often i admit) it does what i want,maybe im just lucky. The direction of the port was really good info. I'd always set it up forwards, now i know better.

Once again, thanks for taking your time with such an in depth write up.
Carbon fibre is just corduroy for cars.
novocaine
Old Oak
 
Posts: 2340
Joined: 26 Nov 2020, 10:37
Name: Dave

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby AndyT » 07 Dec 2020, 08:49

What a useful resource, thanks for taking the time to write and photograph it.
I expect it to show up well in people's web searches.
If only there was a similarly thorough guide to choosing a circular saw blade!
--------------
Andy
User avatar
AndyT
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: 23 Nov 2020, 19:45
Location: Bristol
Name: Andy

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Woodbloke » 07 Dec 2020, 09:04

RogerS wrote:Lot more controllable IMO than messing with a scary spinning 1/2" router bit wobbling along the edge. Horses for courses.

No it doesn't Rog; the trick is to use another piece of wood (say the other door rail) alongside or some little distance from the piece being worked on. The router base is then fully supported over it's width and you get absolutely no wobbling, even if you were to route out a mortice in a bit of wood 12mm thick - Rob
I no longer work for Axminster Tools & Machinery.
User avatar
Woodbloke
Old Oak
 
Posts: 4678
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 10:06
Location: Salisbury, UK
Name: Rob Stoakley

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby novocaine » 07 Dec 2020, 09:26

Woodbloke wrote:
RogerS wrote:Lot more controllable IMO than messing with a scary spinning 1/2" router bit wobbling along the edge. Horses for courses.

No it doesn't Rog; the trick is to use another piece of wood (say the other door rail) alongside or some little distance from the piece being worked on. The router base is then fully supported over it's width and you get absolutely no wobbling, even if you were to route out a mortice in a bit of wood 12mm thick - Rob


I use the bench for that. :) stick the work piece in the face vice level with the edge of the bench and away I go. main reason I have a 2.4m bench. if it's getting a bit tippy I'll put a clamp on the leg for additional support.
Carbon fibre is just corduroy for cars.
novocaine
Old Oak
 
Posts: 2340
Joined: 26 Nov 2020, 10:37
Name: Dave

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Andyp » 07 Dec 2020, 10:02

I have a Multico PM12. First tool I bought. I even used it once for cutting tenons. :o
cheers
Andy
User avatar
Andyp
Petrified Pine
 
Posts: 10035
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 07:05
Location: 14860 Normandy, France
Name: Andy

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby AJB Temple » 07 Dec 2020, 10:34

This is an excellent article. Very much appreciate you taking the time to do the write up. I had a bunch top morticer (Axi branded) and sold it on as it would not cope well with oak, and in due course I will get a heavier duty model, so I red through this carefully. Thank you.
Don't like: wood, engines, electrickery, decorating, gardening or any kind of DIY.
User avatar
AJB Temple
Old Oak
 
Posts: 3314
Joined: 15 Apr 2019, 09:04
Location: Near Tunbridge Wells, mid Kent
Name: Adrian

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Malc2098 » 07 Dec 2020, 11:58

Excellent.

BTW, Readers, my Ax Craft Mortiser, chisels and sharpening kit are for sale.

I have used it for all the mortises I intended to make and now need the space for the recent acquisition of a drumsander.

Please PM me for details.
Malcolm
User avatar
Malc2098
Sequoia
 
Posts: 6047
Joined: 03 Jul 2016, 11:10
Location: Tiverton
Name: Malcolm

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Tinman » 07 Dec 2020, 18:49

Excellent post thanks.
Mine sits in the corner and doesnt get used as I am very short of space and use a router or domino. Neither are quite as good as the morticer though (but not all will agree)
Tinman
Seedling
 
Posts: 12
Joined: 04 Dec 2020, 00:37
Name:

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Cabinetman » 07 Dec 2020, 20:18

Thank you so much for that, I have been using one for years and glad to say it sounds like I wasn’t doing too much wrong! Little tips and wrinkles – especially on the sharpening, ever so useful thank you. And thank you for spending such a great deal of time I know it must’ve taken you.
This is a picture of my old beast, A bit worn on the front to back adjuster but it’s over a century old I think.
I suspect it was originally a brute force machine without a motor.
B340A53A-78C6-4336-A2D1-6B04FC4E7FD4.jpeg
(225.09 KiB)
Cabinetman
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1583
Joined: 11 Oct 2020, 07:32
Location: Lincolnshire Wolds + Pennsylvania
Name: Ian

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Trevanion » 07 Dec 2020, 21:09

Thank you everyone for the great response so far, I do plan on expanding on it a bit further as I've definitely glossed over some parts which can be explained in better detail.

Cabinetman wrote: I suspect it was originally a brute force machine without a motor.


I love seeing those old solid cast iron turn-of-the-century morticers, especially ones that are still in use!

I saw this one on eBay some time ago and took the effort of saving a couple of the pictures, someone had clearly gone to great effort to convert it to a motorised unit without butchering the machine too heavily and the engineering looks quite good.

Image

Image

I recently picked up a C.D. Monninger Catalogue from 1957 which listed a "Wright's Morticing Motor" for converting older manual machines to powered units.

Image
Image
User avatar
Trevanion
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1671
Joined: 27 Apr 2019, 19:04
Location: Pembrokeshire
Name:

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Cabinetman » 08 Dec 2020, 02:29

Hi Trevanian, something you could clear up for me please, on the second photo you posted just now there is a wheel at the top of the column, mine has a similar device, I can imagine it’s for lifting the motor and the lever assembly up if you are doing very thick material, I’ve never really understood where it should be, is it a throwback to when the machine was brute force without a motor? . Sorry I’m not describing this terribly well. Ian
Cabinetman
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1583
Joined: 11 Oct 2020, 07:32
Location: Lincolnshire Wolds + Pennsylvania
Name: Ian

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby chataigner » 08 Dec 2020, 12:25

Thanks Trevanion, a really useful and comprehensive guide. I thought I knew all I needed to know about hollow chisel morticers, I use one a lot, but in your guide I find a precise definition of the gap between the rotary cutter and the chisel - namely - the bit's cutter should align with the chisel tips. I can see the sense of that and it's more specific than the old penny trick. Thanks again.
Cheers !
Chataigner in Périgord-Limousin National park
http://www.rue-darnet.fr
User avatar
chataigner
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1002
Joined: 23 Jul 2014, 08:02
Location: Périgord-Limousin National Park, SW France
Name: David

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby Trevanion » 08 Dec 2020, 21:04

Cabinetman wrote:Hi Trevanian, something you could clear up for me please, on the second photo you posted just now there is a wheel at the top of the column, mine has a similar device, I can imagine it’s for lifting the motor and the lever assembly up if you are doing very thick material, I’ve never really understood where it should be, is it a throwback to when the machine was brute force without a motor? . Sorry I’m not describing this terribly well. Ian


I don't have any experience of the manual machines (There are one or two people on here with experience though) but I would assume you adjust the height to suit your comfort in the arm stroke of the lever relative the depth workpiece. It's not often I change the height of the head in my morticer to accommodate larger workpieces but even if I have the setting slightly off from where it was originally it feels totally alien to use and seems to require more effort!

Andyp wrote:I have a Multico PM12. First tool I bought. I even used it once for cutting tenons. :o


That's not even the most obscure use I've heard a morticer being used for! I've heard of people using them as a mitering guillotine by putting a jig in the machine that has a 90-degree angle fence that's 45-degrees off relative to the morticer's cast iron fence, using a large and sharp chisel without the auger installed they would use the chisel as a guillotine to remove a slither of timber at a pull.

AndyT wrote:If only there was a similarly thorough guide to choosing a circular saw blade!


Image
Image
User avatar
Trevanion
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1671
Joined: 27 Apr 2019, 19:04
Location: Pembrokeshire
Name:

Re: A Guide to Hollow Chisel Morticers

Postby sammy.se » 09 Dec 2020, 14:12

Thank you for this helpful post.
I have a basic bench top morticer, but no chisels yet - this will help me get what I need.
sammy.se
New Shoots
 
Posts: 137
Joined: 21 Jun 2018, 18:28
Name:


Return to Machines & Power Toolery

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests