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The POWERMATIC 719T Mortiser is feature-laden, built like a truck and competitively priced. If that doesn't do it for you, farm the work out!
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POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser

Power, durability, accuracy and angles!

Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz

Posted - 12-7-2007

Cutting mortises, especially more than a couple of them, got way easier with the advent of the mortising machine. The POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser takes that idea into the future with the addition of a built-in X/Y sliding table that also tilts! Factor in the typical

POWERMATIC long-term durability and the 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser should be at the top of your must-have list.

Heavyweight Durability

Powermatic uses cast iron and steel liberally to insure accuracy and long-term durability. Both goals are met with the 719T.
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The liberal use of iron castings and steel components give the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser an overall weight of just over 300-lbs. Those parts are nicely machined to insure smooth, accurate operation. Also, sliding parts move on dovetail-shaped keyways that enhance accuracy. All of the keyways are equipped with gib screw adjusters that allow compensating for wear (should that actually occur...) plus let you fine-tune the feel by tightening or loosening the fit between the moving part and the keyway.

The 14"-wide by 16"-deep and 25"-tall base cabinet is more than adequate to support the main portion of this machine. The base cabinet elevates the table surface (at 0-degrees tilt) to 32" above the floor. It also has a nice internal storage compartment complete with a padded shelf that has been perforated to hold chisel sets and other tools.

The POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser base cabinet does not have built-in wheels. However, if mobility is a good thing in your shop, putting one of the JET universal mobile bases beneath this machine cures that issue with style.

The motor driving the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser is also a heavyweight. The 1-HP TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) motor may seem stronger to those unaccustomed to POWERMATIC machines. That's because POWERMATIC rates their electric motors using a continuous duty cycle rather than the smoke and mirror-based "peak" or "max developed" other use to fudge on true power output. The POWERMATIC motor cruises along at 1725 rpm without a whimper. While the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser comes wired for 110V power, it can be converted to 220V operation.

The rack and pinion drive, plus the repositionable operating arm make the Powermatic 719T very easy to operate.
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Plunge Action

The POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser powerhead has a 6" plunge motion, driven by a rack and pinion system. This is a very smooth system that requires surprisingly little effort thanks to the leverage afforded by the 24"-long, solid steel operating arm.

The operating arm screws into a spring-loaded cast iron hub that can be repositioned on the splined pinion shaft. Simply pull it out, turn it to the new position (closest spline) and let it click back into the locked mode. This feature lets you put the operating arm in the most comfortable position for the job.

A tool-free stop rod mounted on the side of the powerhead controls mortise depth. Aside from being easy to use and effective, locating the stop rod so close to the powerhead slides virtually eliminates torquing of the powerhead and chisel. That drastically reduces deflections of the bit and insures cleaner mortises and chisels that stay sharper longer.

X, Y and Tilt!

The POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser features a 20"-long by 7"-deep iron table surface with a 3 1/2"-tall rear fence incorporated into that casting. A MDF table board is included to prevent disaster when cutting through mortises.

It is not uncommon for a woodworker to buy a mortising machine and drop a separate X/Y vise into the cart at the same time. Recognizing the popularity of this add-on, POWERMATIC built the X/Y movement capability into the 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser table. That eliminates an extra purchase and adds lots of convenience - not to mention exceptional accuracy.

The X/Y operating handwheel (left) are great and make precision mortises easy to make. The tilt function (right) could be the real winner on this machine if angled mortises ever become part of your workload.
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A pair of 5"-diameter handwheels, each with spinner knobs operates the X/Y movements. (X=left to right, Y= front to back) These handwheels allow the operator to move the table/stock in tiny increments for exceptional accuracy. The table system has an overall movement range of 16" on the X-axis and 4" on the Y-axis. Stop collars on a front-mounted shaft let you limit the X-axis table movement for cutting multiple same-sized mortises.

POWERMATIC also added tilt to the table by mounting it on a huge pivot on the right side. Loosen a large bolt on the front of the base cabinet with the included 23mm combination wrench and you can tilt the table up to 35-dgrees from horizontal. A scale with pointer at the locking bolt and adjustable 0-degree stops let you dial the tilt function in perfectly. The X/Y table movements are unaffected by tilting the table.

Stop and Clamp

The material stop (left) and very trick clamp system (right) make the Powermatic 719T very easy, very accurate and safe to use.
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The POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser comes with a nifty material stop that can be installed on either end of the table fence. It is fully adjustable using finger operated screws that make it as flexible as it is tool free.

To secure the material to the table the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser features a nice clamp with a large 8"-long by 2 5/8"-tall cast iron fence. The clamp has special threads that allow you to slide the face against the stock before turning the handle to tighten it down. Very fast and very cool.

The clamp mount pivots when its mounting bolts are loosened. This make clamping odd-shaped work pieces much easier and often far more secure.

I never could get the Powermatic 719T to do anything wrong. It just wants to cut mortises accurately without stressing the operator.
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In The Shop

The POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser is every bit the well-built, well-designed machine I have come to expect from POWERMATIC. There is lots of cast iron and steel where other manufacturers would substitute plastic and pot metal to save a few bucks. The result is a far longer useful life expectancy for the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser than can be reasonably predicted for its competitors.

The powerhead and table move smoothly and the feel of that movement can be fine-tuned with the gib screw adjusters. POWERMATIC claims the gib screws are intended to allow compensating for wear down the road but I have serious doubt that noticeable wear of the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser is on the horizon.

The oversized operating handle and being able to reposition it so easily makes plunging the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser very easy. That makes cutting mortises - especially lots of them - far less tiring and more accurate.

The table movement capabilities are probably the big star of the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser in the overall scheme of making mortises. Being able to move the stock so easily and accurately makes it far easier to be precise when following layout lines. The table movement stops make cutting repetitive mortises with dead on precision a near no-brainer.

See It Work!

I should note that the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser does not come with auger/chisel sets and that is a good thing. Every mortising machine owner I know has one or two chisel sizes that they actually use and two or three other sizes that have not left the drawer since they were unpacked. I would rather buy the chisels I really need (use) rather than add a full set to the price of the machine.

Conclusions

Throughout the evaluation process I could not find anything the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser did not do well. Most machines have a learning curve but on the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser that is very short. This machine just works very well and requires very little getting used to. You can literally be cutting ultra precise mortises within an hour of assembling the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser.

With a street price of $899 for the mortiser (12-6-2007, with enclosed base) the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser is a very good investment. The heavy-duty construction and long-term durability of the POWERMATIC 719T Hollow Chisel Mortiser means it will be around and functioning perfectly for many, many years. I really like buying a tool once and then being able to count on it working properly forever.

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