1-hp. Mortiser MS-10 - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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1-hp. Mortiser MS-10

Bridgewood - 1-hp. Mortiser MS-10

The Bridgewood mortiser features a 1 hp motor and a 6 1/2 in. by 20 in. cast-iron table.

$799 (As of 12/1/2002)

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Editor's Review: Tool Test: 1-hp Mortisers

by Roland Johnson

review date: December 1, 2002

Large stand-alone mortisers have been around for nearly a century, but now several manufacturers offer more affordable stand-alone models with features that make them practical for serious hobbyists and small commercial shops. Compared with the drill-press add-ons and benchtop mortisers currently on the market, these mortisers feature lots of cast-iron tables that move, sturdy hold-downs, 1-hp motors, and extralong lever handles. Curious to find out just how well these machines work, I tested seven of them.

All things considered, I was pleased to find that all seven were well made and did a decent job cutting accurate mortises, even when running a 3/4-in. bit. That puts them head and shoulders above any of the drill-press add-ons or benchtop mortisers I've used. So it wasn't easy to choose a favorite.

The Bridgewood, Geetech, Grizzly, and Woodtek machines look very much alike, except for paint color. Even the owner's manuals are identical. They use a large handwheel on the front to move the table side to side and forward and backward. The mortising head is raised with a long lever, which is pinned in place on these machines (I prefer an adjustable lever). All these machines did an adequate job boring any size mortise up to 3/4 in. Their hold-down systems worked great, the tables moved smoothly, and the stops for the table and mortise head worked satisfactorily. Bit changes were relatively easy. The Grizzly has a 110-volt motor, but you need a 240-volt circuit for the Bridgewood, Geetech, and Woodtek machines.

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Editor Test Results:

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Bridgewood
Manufacturer's Web Site www.wilkemach.com
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-235-2100
Cutting Capacity Chisel: 1 in. (softwood), 4/3 in. (hardwood)
Table Travel (front to back, side to side): 3-1/2 in, 16 in.
Vertical Spindle Travel 5 in.
Table Size 6-1/2 in. x 20 in.
Amps 7 amps
Volts 220v
Speed 36 rpm

I have had a similar Bridgewood model for 20 years. I don't think that Bridgewood tools are sold any more. Victim of the Phase 2 Oriental intrusion.Watch where the model you are looking at is made...Taiwan...Korea...former Soviet countries, turn out some decent tools. China leaves a lot to be desired. Bridgewood was good machines...this is no exception.I know I have made a Million $$ of furniture with it !!! No repairs that I can remember. Anyway, I have a huge Wysong Miles that I haven't hooked up yet. The little Bridgewood does the job, day in/day out. There are 5 of us...about $100K-$125K yr. gross. Small high end shop.Arts & Crafts furniture, so we mortise every day. The guys are big...6'4" tall, so the lever is not a chore...even so, a 3/4 bit in Oak is a workout. 1/2" work is about the limit for gals in hardwood. The Wysong is 5hp and pedal operated power stroke. If we increase production, it is waiting for some small gal to operate. THE REAL BOTTLENECK in these medium sized mortising machines is the chisel/drill combo. The difference between the top tier tools and the mid range is huge....Don't get me wrong...we do a lot with the cheap Delta and Grizzly bits...there are lots on the market similar...Once you have held a HSS Forrest City Chisel and Bit combo.....the rest are a joke. The Wysong would pretzel the Delta and Grizzly bits. The best bits cost 10X the cheaper ones. The Bridgewood has put food on the table for almost 20 yrs. I would consider it, or a similar model to be a "must have" in any shop that wanted to succeed My $.02....enjoy

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