Mortising on the Drill Press
Simple improvements make a mortising attachment work great.
By Tim Johnson
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Even though they’re sexy, benchtop mortising machines aren’t the only power-tool option when it comes to cutting square-shouldered mortises. A drill-press mortising attachment can be just as effective and it costs a lot less. I’ll show you how to tune any out-of–the-box mortising attachment so it’s easy to install and a joy to use.
Mortising attachments are available for almost every drill press. Although they vary in appearance, they all have three basic components: a fence, a chisel holder and a hold-down. Upgrading these parts to stabilize the workpiece and operating the drill press at the optimal speed are the keys to success.
Two-piece mortising chisels cut square holes. The auger bit fits
inside the chisel and protrudes slightly. During operation, the auger
drills a round hole and the four-sided chisel squares the corners. Cut
side by side, square holes create mortises (see photo, above).
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