If you’re a furniture maker struggling to make-do with a mortising attachment on your drill press, then you’re all too familiar with the tedium involved in repeatedly taking this accessory on and off your press. But, is investing in a dedicated mortiser like the Jet JBM-5 Bench Mortising Machine really worth the extra money (especially if you’re just a hobbyist)? Below, you’ll find our opinions of the Jet JBM, so you can judge for yourself.
Highlights of Jet JBM-5
- Has 1/2-inch chisel capacity
- 1/2 horsepower
- 4-3/4- inch head stroke
- Easy-change bits
- 4-inch chuck key
- Quick-setting depth-stop
- Removable toggle switch
- Adjustable feed-handle
What We Liked About The Jet JBM-5
- Change Depth Stop without Tools – This is a nice feature to have when you need to make a lot of adjustments and don’t want to be slowed down.
- Can Reverse Unit on Base – With the ability to reverse the Jet 708580, you can mortise extra long or wide pieces of wood.
- Nice Bits – The chisels that come with the Jet are extremely sharp and of high quality. This saves you from having to go out and buy replacement bits right from the get-go (as with some other machines).
- Good Build – The mortiser is solidly built (cast iron and steel) and has a nice fit and finish. Also, small touches such as the steel chuck doors (not plastic) let you know this is a quality piece of machinery.
- Easy Setup and Operation – Once you open the box, you are ready to begin mortising in about fifteen minutes or less, and with such easy access to the chuck and the extra long key, switching out bits is a snap. The instructions and operation are all straightforward as Jet understands that high-quality doesn’t have to mean complicated.
- Variable Speeds – With the ability to work at fast and slow speeds, the Jet can drill through virtually any type of wood. The slow speeds (1750 RPMs) mean you can drill through hard woods like red oak without risk of burning.
What We Didn’t Like About The Jet JBM-5
- Fence Design – The fence on the Jet JBM-5 benchtop mortiser requires extreme concentration to achieve a precise depth, and it is not quite parallel to the chisel. Of course, you can shim and adjust this until everything is square, but for the price should you really have to?
- Hold-down – As with most mortises in this price range, the hold-down leaves something to be desired. When working with smaller pieces, you may find that you have to find something to “boost” it up to get a strong hold.
Jet JBM-5 Conclusion
If you’re someone who makes mortises on a fairly regular basis, we think you’ll love what the Jet can offer you: convenience, clean mortises, and a lot of saved time. Admittedly, the fence and hold-down aren’t perfect, but if you’re willing to spend some time making a few of your own alterations then you shouldn’t have any problems. Whether you’re lucky enough to come across a Jet JBM-5 sale or you pay full price, this machine ought to satisfy beginners and experts with its simple yet powerful operation.