Holddown Ratings

First. The Bridgewood, Delta, Grizzly, Star, and Woodtek have simple but sturdy hold-downs. You can flip them to accommodate thicker stock.

An adjustable handle saves time and fatigue, especially on repetitive jobs. With multiple positions, your arm won't have to go through the maximum range of rotary motion just to mortise a thin workpiecc. Our testers liked the Delta's spring-loaded handle best: You can easily shift it to any of six positions, no tools needed. The Bridgewood, Grizzly, Star, and Woodtek handles have six positions but require a wrench to switch positions. The Multico has four positions; the Reliant and Tradesman have two—all adjusted with an alien wrench.

Bit and chisel changing on these machines is tedious at best. All the models we tested have keyed bit chucks hidden behind plastic or metal safety plates. Bit changing was easiest on the Delta, Multico, Reliant, and Tradesman. These models have two holes for chuck access—one on each side of the head—so you can hold the chuck still with one hand while you tighten or loosen it with the other. And the Delta, Reliant, and Tradesman safety plates come off without any tools, so you can get into the access holes easily.

We had the most trouble changing bits on the Bridgewood, Grizzly, Star, and Woodtek. It's hard to hold the chuck steady because you can't fit both hands comfortably inside the single access hole. (See photo, page 75.)

Our testers liked the big brass setscrew that tightens the chisel on the Bridge-

wood, Grizzly, Star, and Woodtek. It's easy to reach, and unlike the steel setscrews on the other models, it doesn't mar the chisel shank.

Cutting Performance

To measure performance, we looked at two specific aspects of cutting—the effort necessary to cut in dense hardwoods such as oak or maple, and the quality of the finished mortise. Here's what we found:

Cutting effort becomes a big deal fast if you have a large number of mortises to make in hard wood. To test cutting effort, we installed brand-new identical VV-in. Jet chisels in all the machines and cut into hard maple. The Multico required slightly less cutting effort than the other machines. (See chart.) The Delta mortiser needs a slower feed rate—at 1,725 rpm, it operates at only half the speed of the other models—but it doesn't tire your arm as quickly as the other models.

Quality of cut depends on the chisel. The Tradesman is the only model we tested that came with chisels; all the other models offer chisels as an option. (See chart.) To test quality of cut, we ordered each machine's optional '/j-in. chisel and mortised into oak and hard maple. Not all the mortises were pretty, but none were so rough that you couldn't get a decent glue bond. The Delta's cuts were consistently the cleanest. (See Highs Lows, page 77.)

AH the mortisers except the 1,725-rpm Delta produced a little smoke when mortising hardwoods, and left burn marks in the bottom of the mortise— the result of a too-high (2,800+) rpm. All the bits rattled from time to time, and many of the bits also turned blue around the edges. While blucness on tooling of this sort usually indicates a loss of temper, we didn't notice any performance problems with blue bits.

Recommendations

If you make a lot of mortise-and-tcnon furniture, benchtop mortisers are definitely worth a look. Our machines were closely matched, and all but the Tradesman and Reliant gave strong performances. (See chart.)

The Delta 14-650 earns our Editors' Choice award—best performance regardless of price. Its fence was dead flat and square, and with its slower 1,725 rpm, the bit doesn't burn the wood as on the other models. The Delta also has the only cast column of the bunch, for extra rigidity.

Though the Multico PM 10 didn't win an award, it too performed very well— requiring less effort to cut than any other mortiser in our test.

The Grizzly G3183 gets our Best Buy award—best value for the money. The other three almost-identical machines (Bridgewood, Star and Woodtek) did a fine job, but at $225 the Grizzly had the lowest street price. A

Lee Valley Tools and Veritas* Tools, the manufacturing arm, bring you a selection of products from their full-color 252-page catalog.

Thickness Calipers

Primarily used by turners, these thickness caliper» can Ik* fitted into virtually any shape of vase or bawl. To use, open the caliper by just pulling the legs apart (having the spacing nut between the legs rather than outside them allows this), put in position and then set the spacing nut to the wall thickness. Open calipers, remove and measure tip gap. The spacing nut can Ix? adjusted for any thickness from 0V to 14"on the l6^2v model and 0"to 512" on the 9" model. The respective throat depths (from nut to tip) are IP 2"and 5^2". These are equally good for dimensional take-offs of almost any oddly shaped object. Steel with brass fittings.

AW370 9" Thickness Caliper $20.95 AW371 1612M Thickness Caliper $29.95

r Boggs Spokeshave by Veritas1

Brian Boggs, a well-known chair maker from Kentucky, asked us to manufacture and market this concave spokeshave of his design. Various magazine reviews have been highly complimentary about its function. The tight mouth, the careful grinding, and the extra-thick (Wi blade make it function more like a plane than a spokeshave. It is capable of very fine work; the A2 tool steel in the blade not only takes a fine edge, but will hold it many times longer tlian standard blades. Made from silicon bronze with rosewood handles, this is as beautiful as it is effective. It is 9MIong with a HVwide blade.

AW376 Boggs Spokeshave $85.00 AW377 Kepi. Blade, W $21.00

C Veritas Sanding Block

Although there are quite a few sanding blocks on the market, they are generally ho-hum; this is a very good one. The hardwood body fits naturally in the palm of your hand without the need for a death grip. The felt-covered Steel sole is flat but forgiving. Best of all. the four spring tips in the base automatically tension the sandpaper as you tighten the brass thumbscrew down. With a 3^4" base, it efficiently uses exactly V$ of a sheet of sandpaper. Weighs 14 oz. AW375 Veritas5 Sanding Block $18.95

a Skew Chisels

Just a shade under Vi* wide, these are an excellent buy in skew chisels. If you have never used a low bevel (20°) skew for trimming shoulders, winkling glue out of corners, or dressing end grain, you are missing some useful additions to your chisel selection. One left, one right, they solve a lot of problems. Overall length 10V 2". Hardwood handle. AW374 Pr. Skew Chisels - l'z* $14.95

Veritas* Hook Rules

Woodworking frequently requires you to measure a short distance from the end or edge of a board for drilling, mortising, etc. Hits Is most easily and accurately done with a hook nile. You can be confident of your zero register — something that is not usually the case with a tape measure. Inside measurements can be made from the plain end.

Our hook rules are made from stainless steel with a matte finish. The Imperial rule is graduated in l6ths only for easy reading. One face is zeroed at the hook end. the other face is zeroed at the square end. The metric/Imperial rule is graduated in both millimeters and 32nds. It is scaled in both directions — to 12" on one face, and to 30cm on the other.

B. AW37212" Hook Rule - Imperial $12.50

F. AW37312"Hook Rule - Nfctriclmp.$12.50

A Catalog Of Solutions

Our 252-page, full-color catalog lias the widest selection of woodworking hand tools in the market. With a few 4 exceptions, the copy in this ad has been taken directly from our catalog to show you the detailed infonnation you can expect to find about each tool.

Call: 1-800-871-8158

Our catalog is $5 (refunded with first order) or FREE with any purchase from this ad

N.Y. residents, add saicn Ux.

OvwMrjs. «11: 1-<j13-,>96-0J50 or fax: l-6l.VS96-<j050.

BIRD'S EYE

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