morticer advice

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johnnyb

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Can anybody put me straight on a suitable morticer. I use what I think is an ancient record bm morticer. it's a bit worn out of alignment on the up down slide. . won't adjust as it sags at the most used height. or seizes anywhere else.
anyway it introduces pita accuracy issues that I could do without.
I've resolved to get a new un(more importantly though a good un)
I'm looking at sedgwick 571 a startrite tm250? a dominion chain and chisel( it's not the double one though)
what's people's opinions it's for a one man shop 3 phase is fine. are chain mortisers useful even?
what goes bad on the sedgwicks?
 

deema

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Sedgwicks are great, haven’t found anything that really goes wrong with them. Most issues are neglect, full of sawdust and the three gribs not being adjusted. I’ve used one to sink a 1” mortise chisel into oak before today even though max capacity is 3/4” in hardwood. I will say I was swinging on the handle and it didn’t bother it.

I haven’t played with the latest vintage where they seem in the kart few years to have / be going through a phase of value engineering out everything that was good about the brand ……ie fabrications replacing castings. I’m not sure what they’ve done if anything to the castings of the ‘new’ 571.

I tried to buy the company a few years ago, however they weren’t interested. I love their last vintage of machines but their marketing sucks and they haven’t moved with the times adding easy setup systems. They are great for traditional folk who know how to ‘nudge’ settings to get them bang on. It grieves me to see another good British company struggling. Their range of machines has contracted and not expanded.
 
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johnnyb

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my experience with sedgwick was they were a bit rough and ready. yes robust and durable but old fashioned and not user friendly.. thats worn machines though not newish stuff. the dominion seems a good machine though probably similar to sedgwick on steroids. the startrite seems little used and has 1 inch max chisel therefore a bit more than the sedge. but
 

deema

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Well, I wouldn’t agree with rough and ready, the ones that are full of sawdust / zero maintenance 🤔 the good thing is that parts are interchangeable so you can get spares for almost any vintage.
I haven’t played with a Dominion Morticer but other Dominion stuff was built like the proverbial out house. However, if it’s missing anything or broken you will need to get it made, no spares.
Another to consider would be the Wadkin DM or DMV
 

johnnyb

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I suppose many peoples experience is ab(used) machines as they are expensive new. mine was a pt260 that was noisy and not to accurate( despite my best attempts)it also had dreadful dust collection apart from that it was great! I remember picking it up and the guy saying " oh it's my portable machine' when i looked puzzled he showed me and he'd put two big wooden skids on it and dragged it in and out of his van!
 

deema

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I can’t comment of the machine you bought, but I’ve restored a few PT260 machines. The PT is the smallest of the Sedgwick range of planner thicknesser’s, it has the same robust solid cast iron construction of all the important bits with only the base being a fabrication. It has only one motor that drives both the spindle and feed rollers. All the other machines in their range have two motors and a gear box reduction for the feed rollers. All PT’s should be left in one position and not moved, they settle and the setting moves a little, typically you would need to adjust it after a month of three after which it should remain stable. If you move them around, irrespective of make, they won’t like you for it.
The noise of the machine is primarily driven by the spindle / cutter arrangement in it. So machines with the same form of cutter (Standard knife, Tersa, Spiral etc) will have very similar noise levels. They all have one or two motors and perhaps a gear box, which at a decent size of machine will be the same type, induction. Sedgwick used to use only Brook Crompton motors (they don’t make fraction HP motors any more) which are very good quality motors that are really well balanced. The main issue we have found is that the pulleys aren’t necessarily as well balanced. Doesn’t really affect noise, but adds a minuscule amount of additional vibration. Again something common to other machines as they are jelly bean parts.

Setting up a Sedgwick to work properly isn’t too difficult, but you do need a clock and a good straight edge if you’ve taken it apart.

The fence is a proper cast iron webbed arrangement, wonderfully stiff. Most people set them to 90 degrees and then they don’t usually change it! It stays set. Planning thickness is a little rudimentary, with only a simple manual scale. However, most stuff is surfaced and then thicknesses so, accuracy of the surfaces isn’t too critical. The thicknesser is again a scale, but the thicknesser table sits on a very robust large column, they are as accurate as they were setup (parallel to the spindle / how accurate the knives have been set) A simple digital readout is one thing that would certainly be a big improvement, and I don’t know why Sedgwick didn’t add this to their machines, rather than having it as an option.

We are restoring an old Sedgwick MB at the moment that we writing a thread on. This is a very old machine and the only things that so far appear to have worn are the chain and sprockets which is expected for any chain drive and the bushes / bearings. This is to be expected and typical maintenance.

The older dust chutes weren’t as effective as the newer version. But they do need a lot of airflow.

For the price bracket there isn’t in my opinion much that can better a Sedgwick. They are a very solid accurate machine.

Clearly personal preference is a very important determination on what works for an individual, a poor experience is a poor experience. The Wadkin and Dominion machines are definitely more robustly made, but they also sat in a different price bracket when new. I would say that Secgwick are appropriate machines for a small shops, where they are looked after rather than a large shop where they have to withstand inexperienced / don’t care gorilla’s abusing them.

The chisel capacity of the Sedgwick is 1” in softwood, and 3/4” in hardwood, which is identical to the Startrite. Looking at the Startrite machine it appears to be carbon copy of the Sedgwick. The largest difference I can see from the manuals is that the Sedgwick uses a weight to return the Morticer head where as the Startrite uses a pneumatic spring.
 

deema

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Good bag, that will clean up to be a nice machine. A coat of paint and it could look like new. I’d recommend you take it apart and clean it thoroughly. The only real thing to watch out for is the ball bearing and spring that create the indent for the two positions of the handle. The ball bearing fly’s out unless your careful and then it’s frustrating having to buy a new one! Cheap as chips on eBay.

It’s appears to be missing the bar for the depth stop, which is a steel rod with a collar and the cover for the Chuck……which is a pain really to have! But H&S requires a guard for anything rotating😀
 

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johnnyb

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he's also selling a huge pad sander and a skeleton multico type tenoner 2 dust extractors all a bit ropey to be honest.
 

deema

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Pad sanders seem to be given away these days, they are dusty and not something I’d want to use. I’ve not seen that model of the Multico tenoner, that’s probably best in a museum showing the design evolution! Is that diplomatic enough?
 

JBaz

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I've had a Sedgwick (I think it's a 571) for the best part of 40 years (scary!) and it's been brilliant.

I have used it on just about everything from MDF to oak and it just works. I had to make a few collars for the various auger sizes but apart from that I can't fault it.

The last big project was a pergola made from 150mm x 150mm green oak up to 4.5m long. The mortices were anything up to 100mm deep and with a 5/8" bit it did a great job.

They seem to sell for about £500 (used) these days, but well worth it imo.
 
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