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In FWW #206, I evaluated a variety of mortising machines. I found the joint-making router jigs to be accurate, fast, and versatile, particularly the JDS Multi-Router. Recently, a new company, Richline Woodworking Machines (www.richlinemachines.com) debuted the Richline model 18-8 mortise-cutting machine, which retails for $1,850, or nearly $1,000 less than the JDS. The tool includes a Porter-Cable router motor unit and two bits. Unlike the JDS Multi-Router, which holds the router in a horizontal position, the Richline holds the router above the stock. One lever plunges the bit into the work; a second moves the stock from side to side. A sliding table adjusts the stock in and out. The Richline provides 8 in. of side-to-side travel and accommodates material up to 3-1/2 in. wide. Mortises can be up to 1-3/4 in. deep and 1-1/2 in. from the edge of the stock. With the router’s vertical orientation and the jig’s solid clamping table, you can’t cut mortises in end grain. But once the tool is set up, workpieces can be clamped and mortised faster than any other machine I’ve seen, making it ideal for repetitive work. And at over 170 lb., it’s rock-solid and vibration-free, but not really portable.
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