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3/4 Fox morticer

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Digizz

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I've finally got the 13/16" guide bush to enable me to use some square chisels bought from Axminster and have just had a play. The alignment of drill bit and chisel seems to be very slightly out so that I get a faint rubbing sound on one side of the bit when rotating - not much though. Is this normal?

Trying it out in softwood was OK but as soon as I hit some Maple I had a problem with burning the wood :( It got so hot, it blued the bit :( I didn't dwell too much in the hole either. The sides of the mortice (finish) were just reasonable but I wasn't hugely impressed. Maybe I'm expecting perfection? - there was quite a lot of rubbish to clear at the bottom of the mortice too (waste between the bit and chisel that was still attached).

Any ideas or suggestions?
 

Chris Knight

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Digizz,

Most of what you are seeing is normal. Maple is very prone to burning so indeed you mustn't hang around. It is also hard so it may well need several bites at the cherry to cut the hole. Don't try it in one go if you end up getting the result you have, let the bit and drill cool down in between attacks. You can use a vacuum cleaner to pull cool air across the bit.

The rubbing sound is nothing to worry about if you have set the drill bit the regulation distance below the chisel.

There will be stuff to clean up at the bottom - always. The sides are rougher than a router would leave but help yourself and do cut each extremity of the mortice first then work to the middle. If one side of the chisel is unsupported as the other is forcing its way through wood, the chisel always bends slightly off line into the open space.
 

Digizz

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Thanks Chris.

I think I may have screwed the first chisel (expensive mistake) - it's a nice blue colour now :( I guess I was forcing it too much in one go.

I set the bit about the thickness of a 1p coin - maybe there also wasn't enough clearance, causing it to heat up too much?
 

Chris Knight

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Digizz,

I think I use a slightly greater clearance but I doubt that is the problem (i.e friction between drill and chisel - at least direct friction). Maple chips being stirred at high speed in the bottom of the hole and the bottom of the hole itself (while the chisel is not moving very much) will get very hot and heat transfer from the heated drill - which is getting hot by friction - to the chisel is possible by this means alone.

I have proven this to my own satisfaction by tests I did which ensured better chip clearance (unfortunately you cannot apply my method in a real situation but if you have a compressed air line you can blow the bit while cutting - even the vacuum helps a lot.
 

Digizz

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Did you hone your chisels before first use? Maybe that's my problem as I'm using them straight out of the box ( not got a chisel cone sharpener yet).

I just tried again in the Maple and the chips start burning at the point where you have to apply enough pressure to get the chisel biting into the wood. A very disheatening state of affairs!
 

Chris Knight

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Sounds as though something isn't sharp! I have a Multico and didn't hone or sharpen anything but you may have to do this with the Fox. Other folk have noted that the chisels supplied with some imports are no good so possibly you have these? Try a Clico chisel if this is the case.
 

Digizz

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I bought 3 chisels from Axminster - were around £20 each IIRC. I thought these might be better than the supplied ones but now I'm not so sure :(

I did see some for £50 each or so but thought it was a bit pricey. Maybe I should get a good one though.
 

Chris Knight

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Someone else here has a Fox, suggest you do a search to find out who and contact them to see if there is any model specific info to share.
 
A

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I did not know Fox did a 3/4" morticer, I thought it was 5/8" and 1".

I have the 5/8" model and the chuck on it is a pile of junk, so is the chuck key which disintegrated in my hands upon the second use, although no problem to replace either.

I have only tried mine on redwood with the original chisels, also unsharpened, and it works a treat.
 

Digizz

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it's a 3/4 HP motor.

yes - the chuck and key are pretty poor - the key hardly fits it properly - one for the wish list I think.
 

Dewy

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Digizz":3ezsx2gj said:
I think I may have screwed the first chisel (expensive mistake) - it's a nice blue colour now :( I guess I was forcing it too much in one go.
It depends on the type of steel used for the bit.
Carbon steel is far softer than HSS and blunts quickly.
I worked with HSS cutters on 5%chrome steel for many years and the cutters always went blue.
The swarf flew off red hot and didnt half burn if it landed on the face or hands.
I used to go all week without shaving so the swarf hit the bristles and the burning smell gave advanced warning not to touch the face until the smell died down. lol
The cutters just went to be reground and worked just as well as when new.
 
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Digiizzz

When using it, take the first cut near the middle of the mortice and be VERY gentle. next, index the wood 1/4 to 1/2 of the chisel width along the mortice and take a small cut (no need to be gentle at 1/4 chisel, just wham it down), repeat until you reach the end and then do the other side.

Cutting the full chisel width does not give a good finish, hence starting in the middle, but small cuts do

You will get a much better cut with very clean bottoms and less burning.

BTW, why the concern about the bottom of the mortice? No-one will see it and there is no need for an end grain clue up on a tenon. You chould cut the mortice a few mm deeper than the tenon - strength comes from the faces
 

ike

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Are these chisels the "Japanese" ones, or their cheapest offering?
 

Digizz

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Thanks Guys - i'll continue to experiment.

Ike - yes, these were Japanese style (around £15 each from Axminster). I think they're probably still far east made though?
 

ike

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Wee, if they're the same as I bought (black and yellow boxes), they are actually made in Japan. I got 3 - 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" for about £75 I think it was.

I was just curious because I found them to be very nicely machined and they cut extremely well (albeit I have not tried anything harder or tougher than oak). If yours are not the same ones, forgive me for drivelling on.

To anyone else thinking of getting a morticer - yup, Clico bits are the dog's danglies (worth it if they will really earn their keep... and your pockets are deep enough!), otherwise I can thorough recommend the Axminster Japanese chisels, as they are far away better than the very nasty Chiwainese offerings.

cheers

Ike
 

Digizz

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Yes - they are exactly the ones.

Do you use them in the way Tony's mentions? i.e. are my problems down to trying to take too much out in one go in the harder woods?
 

ike

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for about £75 I think it was.
P.S. Actually, thinking back, they may have been a bit less as I think there were a couple other items on the order.
 

ike

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Well, I use a 5/8" capacity morticer (Axminster 1903/Rexon clone). I found using the 1/2" chisel on hardwood does work the motor (1/2hp)fairly hard, so I'm (probably unconsiously) working the mortice in smaller plunge steps anyway. With a bigger machine like yours, maybe you get less "feedback" and are running the chisel in a little too hard as suggested. I dunno, but it's just a thought.

I used my chisels out of the box - I haven't sharpened them yet. As they don't get a humungous amount of use, I thought come the time to sharpen them, I might be able to get by with honing the inside of the chisel with a small round slipstone, as I'm loath to spend £40-50 until I absolutely have no other choice.

cheers

Ike
 
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I had a similar problem on my Charnwood morticer, but that was caused by the head catching on the holddown :oops: i fitted an auxiliary fence to solve it :lol:
 

AlanG

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Digizz
As others have suggested, I start in the middle and work out to the edge. When the chisel is surrounded on all sides by the timber it is difficult to push through the work and also difficult to pull the chisel out after the first cut (like trying to remove a nail) Once the first cut is complete and the chisel only in contact with the timber on three sides it is an easy task as the chisel deflects slightly away from the timber.
I now am in the habit of running a drill bit down the mortice before I use the morticer , it only takes a few minuets and saves all the grunting. :D

Good luck with the tool.

Alan
 
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