Benchtop Mortiser JBM-5 - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Benchtop Mortiser JBM-5

Jet - Benchtop Mortiser JBM-5

The Jet benchtop mortiser has a reversible column for mortising larger stock and a toolless hold-down.

$355 (As of 8/1/2005)

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Editor's Review: Tool Test: Benchtop Mortisers

by Roland Johnson

review date: August 1, 2005

From FWW #241 (July/August 2014):

Street price: $355
Motor: 1/2 hp
Hold-down: Good
Clamping: None
Fence: Fair
Table: Very good
Depth stop: Good
Comments: MDF table can be replaced with shopmade jigs or larger table.

Read "Tool Test: Benchtop Mortisers," (FWW #241).


From FWW #178 (July/August 2005):

Properly set up and operated, a mortising machine cuts straight, square-sided mortises in relatively short order. The author had eight benchtop models shipped to his shop for a close examination. The Jet, like several others, is capable of cutting long or wide workpieces. The lightest of the mortisers tested, it  had the least amount of runout. It offers a toolless method for securing the hold-down to the shaft and a great chuck-key, thanks to a long shank that makes it easy to reach the chuck. Its spring-loaded cogged lever took two hands to operate.

Read "Benchtop Mortisers," (FWW #178).


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Editor Test Results:

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Jet
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number
Weight 44 lb.
Dimensions Base: 7-5/8" x 12-3/16"
Cutting Capacity Can cut long or wide workpieces
Table Travel N/A
Vertical Spindle Travel 4 in.
Table Size 12-1/4 in. x 7-1/2 in.
Amps 6 amps
Volts 115v
Speed 1,725 rpm

This was a decent little Mortiser for the money, however the table lacked the refinements to do expeditious work that you see on the Powermatic and some of the floor standing machines. If you were not in a hurry, it was ok! The motor never strained too much, but you did have to cut slowly based on the slower RPM motor speed. The operating handle operated smoothly. My biggest complaint was the table and the hold down. The table was not square and was made of MDF. The table had to be shimmed and was subject to damage from errant bumps of hardwood. Runout of the power head was acceptable, but not great.I finally saved enough money and I upgraded to a Powermatic 701. That table is far superior as it came from the factory square and flat. I did not have to shim it. It is also made of Cast Iron, not MDF. The Powermatic table also has rollers to allow you to quickly and securely cut long runs of mortises.The motor is stronger and does cut more quickly.You can buy a MDF table from Rockler for the Jet that functions in a similar manner to the Powermatic table, but you are going to spend another $50 or so dollars. By the time you spend that money and the money for the JBM-5, you are nearer the cost of the Powermatic.The Jet is a good beginner tool, but I would recommend saving up the difference and buying the Powermatic.

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