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First bench Mortice Machine

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bourbon

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Hi All. I have just picked up a Charnwood W308 machine. I've never used a morticer before. Any tips? It came with a drill chuck and 7 chisels. It was really cheap so I can't complain if it's a pile of poo! I am going to have a go at making a set of gates, My biggest project so far.
 

Mike Jordan

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The best money I ever spent was for a chisel sharpening kit from Axi. There is a world of difference when the chisel and auger are sharp.
 

Trevanion

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When setting up the chisel and auger, set the chisel with a penny between the top of the chisel and the cast housing, and then push the auger up tight into the chisel and clamp it down in the chuck, remove the penny and push the chisel up into the housing and square it up with the rear fence and tighten it in place.

The reason for the penny gap is you want clearance between the auger and the chisel like below otherwise there will be a lot of friction and you'll burn the auger and chisel into an early grave:



Another rule of thumb is you want the cutting edge to line up with the points of the chisel.

Deburring the box and auger itself helps with clogging and chip ejection, particularly on really cheaply made chisels.
 

Eric The Viking

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To add to Trevanion above, the actual coin you use depends rather on the chisel and the stock: You need a bigger gap for softwoods, smaller for hardwoods ans smaller chisels. Some tuning (choice of coin) may be required.

1. Fit the chisel, using the coin to give you a gap;
2. Snug-up the auger to the chisel and tighten the chuck;
3. Loosen off the chisel, push it up fully home (remove the coin) and re-tighten,

And voila! You should have just the right spacing. I kept a 2p piece tied onto my morticer with a bit of fishing line. For my setup it worked well (mostly softwood, but for hardwoods I did have to go thinner.

It's not just for clearance either - the chips have to travel up smoothly, and out of the slot(s) in the chisel part of the tool. That gap provides the clearance for that to work. It's worth checking inside the chisel, that the transition between the conical part at the bottom and the straighter part is smooth and there isn't a sharp lip/arris from poor machining, either on that cone inside, or the edges of the chip ejection slot. If necessary fettle with a diamond needle file or similar, but mind those four points! (DAMHIKT). The better it works, the cooler the machine runs and the longer it stays sharp.

Sharpness is very important, chisel particularly. Those Axminster sharpening kits* are really good. You can also touch up the auger with a needle file as needed, but you need the auger to cut slightly outside the sides of the square of the chisel, too - that's correct and doesn't mean the auger is oversize. A very slight taper on the chisel is also correct, so it doesn't get pushed off line but descends in a straight line into the stock.

Remembering all this makes me realise I was a twit to sell mine...

E.

*To get the best from the conical hone in the kit, I used Trefolex cutting compound with it, which worked well. It actually cuts, like a jobber drill bit, so don't use abrasive paste - you'll blunt it.
 

bourbon

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Thanks for those valuable tips on the set up, I'll get a sharpening stone for it soon. I was juggling a bit with the auger/ chisel gap but got a mortice cut! Now to work out where it's going to live in my rather overcrowded workshop.
 

Trevanion

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Also, another tip I neglected to share is that you want the ejection port of the chisel to be facing either left or right depending on preference, never forward or behind as you want the chips to eject into the open mortice as you go along which will help to reduce clogging and any damage to the tool itself. If facing forward or behind the ejection port becomes more closed the deeper you go and the chips become compacted in the auger.

It's surprising how many professionals get this little tidbit wrong.
 
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