Best Mortising Machine – Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

PreviewNameAwardsPurchase

Makita 7104L

Best Overall

Powermatic

Best for the Money

Jet

Best on a Budget

A mortising machine is the ultimate, often alternative to manual-labor (chisel) solution for perfect mortising perfect squares in woodwork and carpentry. Mortising machines are ideal for saving time, effort, and money on projects of all sizes, depending on your needs, and come in various styles from bench-top to floor standing models. To cut out the perfect square or rectangular holes on your next professional or DIY project getting the most reliable, effective, and efficient mortising machine is a must.

Below we have come up with the five best mortising machine reviews so that you can get the most bang for your buck, an easy to understand and use, efficient, reliable, swift, and functioning device without the unnecessary or added headache of poor quality manufacturing.

 These best mortising machines as rated by customers are sure to match your weight, dimension, depth cutting abilities, and functionality requirements with just the right amount of power and efficiency.

When you have a project that needs to be done the right way, regardless of material type might it be soft or thick wood, Mir, timber, or hardwood we’ve got the perfect solution for you, so READ ON to find out which mortising machine is the best fit for you!


Best Mortising Machine Reviews


 

Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Mortiser

Makita 7104L

Powerful 10.5 AMP motor (3,200 RPM) to quickly notch or cut holes in thick wood stock

Rated as the most precise and reliable mortise for cutting lap joints up to 5-1/8”, the Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Mortiser is a top choice. It’s also perfectly sized for rectangular holes and will reliably cut parallel to the grain of wood like timber and other thick hard-to-cut lumber. The Makita Mortising Machine is a great, popular and trusted mortise for daily use, and customers are happy with it because it is efficient for cutting slots and leaves super clean cheeks.

Makita is a very trusted brand, and this is a must-have for anyone looking to and ready to make the upgrade from handle chisel work. While not the most ideal for softwood, this is great for hardwood projects and is overall a very durable, quality made the machine.

It is worth the price for the value you receive, and the long-term reliability likewise justifies the price for this Makita mortising machine, making it one of the best mortising machines picks on the market.

Customers reported great success using this mortising machine for building a timber frame barn and is reliable for smoothly plunging a first mortise (11/16″ x 2-1/16″ with its 18mm chain) all the way through a 6×6.

The Makita 7104L is also popular among carpenters, and reliable for projects both big and small. The Makita will save you a lot of time, headache, and energy in comparison to competing for mortising machines on the market.

PROS:
  • A preferred device for cutting lap joints
  • Highly recommended by first-time mortising machine owners
  • Great for timber frame building
  • The perfect solution for upgrading mortising projects from hand chisels
  • Reputable brand with a reliable and extensive warranty
  • Ideal mortising machine for daily use

CONS:
  • Time-consuming for some because chain tensioning requires frequent nut adjustment
  • Depth stop casting is fragile
  • Jaws of the spring-loaded clamping mechanism may scar certain softwoods if unprotected

Specifications

  •    Time-consuming for some because chain tensioning requires frequent nut adjustment
  •    Depth stop casting is fragile
  •    Jaws of the spring-loaded clamping mechanism may scar certain softwoods if unprotected

 

Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand

Powermatic 1791264K

Quick position table mounted swiveling vise clamp for angled work pieces

For various cut angles, the Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T is both versatile and practical, and includes features which allow both the table and fence to tilt from 0 to 35 degrees. Superior to a drill press attachment or bench-top mortise, this is an excellent choice in comparison, and customers are extremely pleased with the convenience and effectiveness of this mortising machine with their everyday projects.

Another great benefit of the Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T, much like other Powermatics is that it is easy to assemble right out of the box. With twice the power of competing for power mortises and an even more extended lever arm, it is evident that Powermatic has listened to and developed its next-age mortising machines to match the needs of today’s customers including both DIYers and professionals.

The Powermatic 719T Tilt Table Mortiser can also move left to right and forward and back on dovetail ways with the large handwheel controls for accessibility and increasing both ergonomic and cutting efficiency.

For punching hundreds of holes into solid wood with a breeze, solid hickory no longer remains a challenge, and with a high-quality fit and finish it is evident that mortising machines like the Powermatic which are manufactured in Taiwan are equally reliable and trusted in comparison to competing products.

The Powermatic is also perfect for mortising ½” square holes for custom handrails with metal balusters, and the sliding table feature is unmatched. Make nice square mortises, and with a sturdy table and functionality customers hail this mortising machine as being “worth every penny.”

PROS:
  • Sliding-table feature
  • Heavy-duty cast iron construction
  • Excellent table vice
  • Gas cylinder-controlled rack and pinion system for smooth head raising and lowering
  • Easy to assemble out of the box
  • Works on solid hickory and other thick woods
  • Best mortising machine for ½” square holes
  • Reliable and sturdy set screws with not loosen after mortises
  • Built-in and adjustable stops for repeat
  • High quality fit and finish
  • Twice the HP of competing for mortising machines

CONS:
  • Work surface is relatively low (easy adjustment with DIY)
  • One person can manage but it is heavy
  • Needs at least three wrenches to make changes to the machine (Allen wrench, flat, and Philips screwdrivers)

Specifications

  •    Dimensions: 24 x 20 x 61 inches
  •    Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand
  •    Power Source: Corded-electric
  •    Motor Power: 1HP
  •    Chisel Capacity (In.) 1/4 – 1
  •    Bushing Size (In.) 5/8, 3/4, 1-1/8
  •    Chuck Size (In.) 1/2 Spindle Speed
  •    (RPM)    1,725

 

Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser

Powermatic PM701

3/4-horsepower bench mortiser with 1/2-inch chuck, in-line depth stop, and 5/8- and 3/4-inch bushing sizes

Powermatic Note: This is a mid-range priced Powermatic mortising machine solution, with ¾ HP, premium performance, and optimal efficiency it remains a top pick among customers as noted by both feedback and sales popularity.

The Powermatic PM701 Benchtop Mortiser is a high quality, durable build mortising machine that comes with advanced features such as an in-line depth stop, making it easier for users to stop at preset depths without troubles like racking the mortise bit to the base.

The heavy-duty reversible handle is also a great feature, and easy to use in switching from one side to the other conveniently and effectively without a hitch (no pun intended.)

If you’re looking for a mortising machine that will handle heavy workloads and demands with chisels from ¼” to 1” in hardwood and other sturdy materials, then this is the perfect solution and with ¾ HP cuts with both ease and convenience.

The Powermatic PM701 mortising machine is great for those looking for a stand-alone device or those looking for a more powerful, time and energy efficient mortising machine.

With features like a tracked fence, capacitor motor, reversible mount, and ability to accommodate a wide range of chisel/bit sets this remains a top pick among professionals for projects both big and small. For ease of use, the Powermatic 701 also includes a quick-action cam lock to quickly lock the fence into position with one simple 90-degree movement which adds convenience and makes this a real time-saving device.

The attached large hinged chuck door with a magnetic catch is also a practical, helpful upgrade for those both new and experienced with mortising machines. With a reversible hold-down feature customer can capture stock from 0 to 5″ thick underneath it with a breeze, making this one of the most ergonomic and advanced mortising machines available on the market.

The lock nuts are also easy to use, set, and adjust without wear, tear, or malfunctioning through constant use under heavy stress.

PROS:
  • ¾ HP means brute and brunt necessary for most large-sized jobs
  • Trusted Powermatic brand means quality and durability for professionals
  • Practical door with magnetic catch
  • Perfect for saving time and maximizing efficiency
  • Easily adjustable nuts and overall functionality for perfect balanced cuts
  • Easy to use and can run projects all day without slowing down
  • Great substitute for stand-alone mortising machines

CONS:
  • Some customers reported that the lowering gear was over-greased upon arrival (easy fix)
  • A riser block may be helpful and necessary for effectively completing projects
  • Swing is considered shallow by some customers
  • 1” in hardwood and 1” in chisel would be pushing this machine to its limits

Specifications

  •    Base: 93lbs
  •    Chisel Center to Fence (In.) 4-3/8
  •    Chisel Shank Capacity (In.) 3/4
  •    Chisel Stroke Maximum (In.) 5-1/2
  •    Bushing Size (In.) 5/8, 3/4
  •    Chuck Size (In.) 1/2
  •    Spindle Speed (RPM) 1,725
  •    One year factory warranty

 

Powermatic PM-TJ Tenoning Jig

Powermatic PM-TJ

Jig uses your chisel to configure set up eliminating the need to transfer measurements

Powermatic Note: This Powermatic mortising machine is both most affordable as well as lighter than the other two Powermatic mortising machine solutions listed above and will likely appeal to a specific group of both DIYers and professionals as you’ll find illustrated below.

The Powermatic PM-TJ Tenoning Jig is a solid, big, well machined mortising machine solution with extruded handles conveniently located away from the blade, a swing-arm included with the clamp (knuckle) which is great for added versatility and is overall an affordable, effective solution that was well engineered.

The micro-adjust system is a nice concept, and although few customers express problems with its functionality, many have found ways around this and still managed to make great use of it. Included is also an operating instruction and parts manual which customers found both very helpful and concise.

Other excellent, added features and upgrades to similar mortising machines are the nice quality rubber-clamp, making this jib a significant improvement over cast iron jibs as the parts move smoothly and precisely every time.

Touted as an overall highly versatile and adjustable tool, customers found it perfect for efficiently cutting tenons in 1/10th the time of competing jibs and mortising machines. Made with stainless steel screws you don’t have to worry about it rusting over time or malfunctioning.

Additionally, the manufacturer has included a metrics hex key wrench set which was a nice bonus.

PROS:
  • Includes full metrics hex key wrench set
  • High-quality parts
  • Save time and energy by cutting tenons in a fraction of the time
  • Stainless steel nuts, bolts, and parts mean longevity increased
  • A must-have for replacing older cast-iron jibs in the workplace
  • Magnified angle-indicator
  • Highly ergonomic functionality
  • Top choice for accuracy and repeatability

CONS:
  • Some found added versatility options to be overwhelming
  • Can be difficult to secure the workpiece against the fence
  • Micro-adjust system is still in developmental stage
  • Rubber clamp may be a little soft
  • Can be easy to overtighten the workpiece

Specifications

  •    Weight: 21lbs
  •    Included components: Chisels
  •    Dimensions: 18.3 x 13 x 8.2 inches
  •    Warranty: 1 Year

 

Jet 708580 JBM-5 1/2 Horsepower Bench Mortiser

Jet 708580 JBM-5

1/2-horsepower bench mortiser; 115 volts; 1,752-rpm motor

Called “the best benchtop machine” by customers, the Jet 708580 JBM-5 1/2 Horsepower Bench Mortiser is a top-rated mortising machine that provides smooth plunge action and comes highly recommended.

An easily top of the line choice, this is the perfect solution for doing smaller projects like puzzle boxes or gun racks and is a relatively light-weight machine in comparison to similar mortising machines.

Described as relatively quiet, customers enjoyed using the Jet Mortising Machine for regular indoor DIY and smaller projects. The MDF base is very excellent quality and a desirable choice for making through-mortises. Also, if you’re looking for the best option for your “first mortise,” this is a must-try for customers of all types!

An excellent workhorse, the Jet 708580 JBM-5 is a 1/2HP powerful machine that makes adjustments more comfortable and will work on anything from hard maple to fir. It is also naturally much more comfortable, convenient, and effective than doing your mortises by hand.

Scrap cherry is also a “cake-walk” with this machine, so you know you are getting a near-premium product for a very affordable price in contrast.

PROS:
  • Easy deep cuts up to 3 – 3 ½.”
  • Lightweight unit is easy to relocate or reposition
  • Cuts through scrap cherry, hard maple, and fir with a cinch
  • Perfect for building puzzle boxes, weapon racks, and other small to medium projects
  • Smooth and consistent plunge action
  • A quiet mortising machine solution
  • Included bits are high quality and sharp
  • Mobile and compact does not take up space
  • An affordable and practical solution to the alternative of creating mortises by-hand

CONS:
  • Back-fence is too small for some
  • The fence moves if knobs are overtightened – but this is not uncommon
  • There are no clamps included to hold down the workpiece
  • One customer reported that the fence does not track parallel
  • A heavier unit might make sense for some customers
  • Not the best mortising machine for producing large furniture

Specifications

  • Weight: 53lbs
  • Motor: 1/2 horsepower
  • Voltage: 115 Volts
  • Spindle speed: 1725 rpm
  • Chuck size: 3/8-inch
  • Chisel shank capacity: 5/8- and 3/4-inch
  • Head stroke: 4-3/4 inches
  • Chisel center to fence: 3-1/2 inches
  • Fence size: 1-9/16 x 13-3/4 inches
  • Base size: 7-5/8 x 12-3/16 inches
  • Dimensions: 14.4 inches by 22.8 inches by 11 inches

 

Choosing The Best Mortising Machine

Depending on the job type, size, and the personal or professional personality each of these top 5 best mortising machines will serve different purposes and be more efficient, cost-effective, manageable physically, operationally effective at cutting (tenons for example), and mobile or space-saving according to your exact requirements.

Each of these mortising machines has a different cut and stroke measurements, functionality, chisel shank capacities, and depth-cutting capacities. For some people, 2-3” may be thick enough, but for larger projects and specialty projects this is not sufficient, and therefore a more industrial-grade mortising machine is likely required, such as the Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Mortiser.

This is why it’s essential to study and understand the different advantages and disadvantages between mortising machine types; the square chisel, the horizontal (or slot) and the chain. Each of these mortising machine types and designs will cut different ways or use different technology and build to get the job done.

If you are looking to save time, be energy efficient and get the best quality for the price paid then the Powermatic PM-TJ Tenoning Jig is the perfect solution, and will give you a high return on investment, is built by a trusted manufacturer and has excellent feedback for jobs both big and small. For design, functionality, and ease of use, the Powermatic Tenoning Jig mortising machine is also a top pick.

Many customers, woodworkers, and DIYers in the industry trust brands like Makita because they always deliver on quality and never disappoint. However, in these best mortising machine reviews we’ve also included machines that are also much more powerful, more affordable, comparably efficient, reliable, and popular among trusted, repeat customers including professionals such as the Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand.

Depending on the type of project you have or frequently undertake, specific angular cutting capabilities, flexibility, and ergonomic design in a mortising machine may be more valuable to you than others. This is an important key factor to consider.

Ultimately, what type of additional components if any you might expect to need or use with your mortising machine should also play a role on which you choose, such as the instructions manual readability, parts and labor required to get it up and running, maintenance frequency, costs, and difficulty as well as factors like the necessary spindle-speed, horsepower you need for the job-type and size you’ll be using it for, and how creative, handy, and thrifty you are with making your own custom modifications to a mortising machine as-needed.

Some of these mortising machines hold down the workpiece with custom clamps better than others or may require slight changes such as a wooden block or stone to raise the working area for you to get the most out of your project.

Powermatic Mortising Machines Note:

We do not have favorites, but our customers do -as shown by both reviews and popularity – which is why you will find three levels of Powermatic mortising machines listed in our reviews. Each one meeting different needs, and at variations of both pricing and functionality, as well as accessibility in use.

 

 

 

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