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Multico PM16 mortiser

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Keith Smith

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I mentioned in another thread that I had a Multico PM16 mortiser and had used it to make a Mackintosh chair. Gentle arm twisting later and here is the (short) review.


The PM16 is probably the smallest mortiser that would be classed as durable enough for trade use, it costs around £350. I have used some of the cheaper units, they invariably use a tubular column which allows the head to flex and the pressure available is therefore very limited. The Multico uses a rectangular steel column with a dovetailed slideway on which the headstock slides. The headstock has adjusters on the side which allow for any wear/ play to be corrected and, in use, the whole thing is very stable which is essential if you want to cut an accurate mortise.

Chisel fitting is pretty straightforward and quick, everything is well made and fits. The lever arm and mechanism is substantial and allows reasonably effortless mortising in hardwoods. I use a ½ inch max chisel, if I need a larger mortise I just mortise from both sides of the workpiece. The rear fence works well it doesn’t move out of position half way through a job, but it could be improved by attaching a larger board to it; I haven’t got round to it yet.(I’ve only had it four years).



It is also possible to reverse the column on the baseplate which allows door mortising.

The only thing that I really dislike about this machine is the hold down clamp, the chisel will drive into hardwoods easily but getting it back out can be a pain. If the wood is not held down absolutely firmly, as the chisel is withdrawn the wood tilts, the chisel is gripped tightly and won’t come out. This is the same for all mortisers but the hold down clamp on the Multico is just not up to the standard of the rest of the machine. I have meant to modify it, but it is another of those jobs I just haven’t got round to.



One other cause for concern is that Multico have moved their operation to France. I recently needed a new gas strut and it took ages to get any answer from them. The strutt cost me nearly £50 which I thought was a bit steep, as they are usually about £25 for this size.

Despite my minor gripes I think that, all in all, this is an excellent machine for the money. Mine came with the optional drill conversion kit which is well worth having especially if you don't already own a pillar drill.
 

Mike.C

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Hi Keith,

Thank you for the excellent review. I havn't used the PM16 but a friend of mine has the floor standing model (forget the model number) and i found this to be a very good machine.

Regards

Mike.C
 

Chris Knight

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Keith,

Excellent review. I have one of these too and I did not know the column could be reversed on the base! I'm somewhat horrified by the price of a gas strut, I have no need of one at present and hope I never will!

Unlike your experiences, my experience of the hold down has been very good. I find that it never slips and holds the toughest woods down when withdrawing the chisel. Perhaps you could expand a bit on what your issues were?
 

Keith Smith

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Tony, thanks for the link, I did think about one of these some time ago. I do mortise some very long lengths, (4 metres) and thought that one of these clamps would not be up to it.

Chris, one other thing I have meant to do is to reverse the column and mount the base on a 50mm block. This would increase the capacity to 150mm which would be very usefull, another job :roll: .

As for expanding on why my hold down slips, I think I am more interested in why yours doesn't. If you look at the picture is yours the same? Mine has an M6 Bristol handle squeezing an alloy casting on the dovetail slideway. Which of course needs to be smooth, as the headstock slides on it. I can tighten this up until the blood vessels stand out on my forehead and it still moves.
 

johnjin

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Hi Keith

A nice review and with pictures as well.
It didn't take you long to get the pictures all sussed out, did it.
Anyway thank you very much for taking the time and trouble.
It is very much appreciated.

All the best

John
 

Chris Knight

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Keith,

Just nipped out to take this


As you see it's an identical arrangement. I have no idea why mine does not slip - I only need very light hand pressure to tighten the thing enough to stop slips. It is a close fit on the column.

I guess you will have checked that yours has no trapped dirt and that the column is not too oily so unless there is a problem with tolerances, it is very difficult to say what the matter is.

I recall several comparative tests in the past of these morticers and when it was included in such a review the Multico always came out top - one of the reasons was the excellent holddown.

It may be worth a conversation with the manufacturer.
 
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