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At under 50 lb., the Jet JBM-5 and its close relatives are truly portable. Most come with a set of bits and chisels up to 1/2 in. However, the 1/2 -hp motors work best with 3?8-in. sizes or smaller, and chisels have to be kept sharp to work well. My main complaint with these entry-level benchtop units is that the fence and hold-down are fussy to set up accurately. With a single clamping point, the fence on this entry-level mortiser goes out of parallel each time you move it, meaning you’ll have to square the chisel to it again. Also, the fence is a bit short. If you don’t mind some fine-tuning for each new job, then one of these machines is for you. By the way, shopmade stop blocks can be used to line up the fence accurately in various positions, and additional clamps will help with tall workpieces. The JET- JBM-5 hollow-chisel mortiser is available for about $350 from www.jettools.com.
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