Table Vise for Benchtop Mortiser
Shopmade vise is the perfect solution for older machines that don't have one.
Large commercial-grade mortising machines have a table vise to clamp the workpiece against the fence, but my benchtop mortiser didn’t. Without it, I spent a lot of time clamping and unclamping my material to the fence with a spring clamp or C-clamp. Doing this for every cut really slowed the process down.
Following the basic design of the larger machines, I made my own vise. I mounted an oak fence to the T-tracks in the mortiser via two T-bolts. The fence has a press screw with a poplar block at the end of the screw to create the vise jaw. This design should work on any benchtop mortiser that has T-slots milled into the table. On my mortiser, the slots were too wide for a standard T-bolt, so I added a large washer to the end of each T-bolt and ground the sides parallel for a better fit.
To cut a mortise, I set my workpiece in place, and a twist of the vise handle locks it down. Releasing and repositioning it for the next cut via the cam-action hold-downs is just as quick.
Rolly Rhodes, Bakersfield, CA