Bench Top Mortiser


Well-known member
I'm interested in purchasing a bench top mortiser. (My Olde Mill colleagues should refrain from their comments about how to use a marking gauge and mortising chisel). There was a recent article in FWW that reviewed these and said that the General or Woodtek were the best. I have seen the General at Woodcraft. It looks substantial but the depth stop seems to be jury rigged as an afterthought. As far as I know the Woodtek is available only through Woodworker Supply and I have not seen one in person.
Does anyone have any experience with these?

Floor model mortisers seem to all come with fences that adjust like machinist vises. At first glance this seems like it would be an advantage in set-up (finer adjustability) at a cost of about $500. Any comments on efficacy/value of these?

An aside about review articles in woodworking magazines. The FWW article criticized the hold-downs on most of bench top models tested. An article in American Woodworker several years ago reviewed most of the same models and said the hold-downs performed admirably. So I'm somewhat skeptical of tool reviews in these publications.

Thanks in advance.

Howard Steier

On our previous web, I posted "Improved Benchtop Mortiser".  Basically, I think all benchtop mortiser have very poor hold downs.  I hope you enjoy this re-post.


This is a fairly simple modification that works great.  Supplies include: wooden foundation board, wooden riser for the mortiser, a decent x-y table and a vise. (That’s decent relative to woodworking, not metalworking).  I used the following parts from Grizzly: a large x-y table (no longer available, but you should be able to get an x-y table for around $100); Shop Fox Drill Press Vise #H0965.  As you can see from the side view, I did the following:

1) Removed the original (pathetic) fence and hold down system.
2) Determine the thickness of the mortiser’s wooden riser block by measuring the height from the benchtop to the mortiser’s table and the height from the benchtop to the vise/x-y table.  The difference between these two heights is the thickness of the mortiser’s wooden riser block.
3) Reversed the based and mount it to the riser block and foundation board. 
4) Position and mount the x-y table and vise.  (I used T-nuts under the board so I can remove it and use it on my drill press.)
5) The only adjustment needed is to make sure the flat side of the mortising chisel is parallel to the left-right travel of the x-y table.


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Hi David

I am having some difficulity with the picture on the previous post of ht eold web site. Could you possibly repost the picture. I would like to see your improved mortiser.
Bob Compton
These pictures did not show up unless I was logged in.  I hope they work this time.


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picture 2

(You may have to be logged into the forum to see the pictures.)


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