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Slot Mortisers

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  1. What is a slot mortiser?
  2. The history of the slot mortiser
  3. Who uses slot mortisers today?
  4. Buying slot mortising machines
Used slot mortising machine support drilling unit workspace

What is a slot mortiser?

A slot mortiser is a specialised piece of machinery that is capable of cutting very precise cylindrical, square and rectangular slots into wood. Also known as a horizontal mortiser, this relatively simple machine has a static router mounted on its side. The workpiece is held in place on a multi-axis table. The slot mortiser is differentiated from other types of mortiser by its ability to produce floating tenons, as well as the traditional variety. This allows two pieces of wood to be joined together with a mortise in each and a third piece that is milled into a fitted tenon.

  • Fully automatic production of slots
  • Its functions are similar to those of the milling process
  • Mainly used in the woodworking industry
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A horizontal mortising machine cuts slots into wood in two very different ways. One method involves drilling down to the hole’s full depth before widening it. The other involves cutting a groove to the hole’s width before deepening it gradually. In simple terms, a slot mortiser is a sophisticated drilling machine that tightly controls the movement of the tool perpendicular to the spindle.

Slot mortising machines operate in a very similar way to milling machines. However, before the advent of CNC milling machines capable of cutting mortises using a computer-controlled process, slot mortisers were popular because the feeding motion was controlled automatically. This improved accuracy and cut production costs.

The history of the slot mortiser

During the Industrial Revolution, there was a huge demand for labour-saving machinery capable of mass-producing wooden furniture. These production processes required the cutting of accurate slots into both wood and metal. Before the advent of the slot mortising machine, these slots were cut by hand, which involved drilling, chiselling and smoothing with a file. This painstaking, manual process was inefficient and not always accurate, which is why the slot mortising machine was one of the most crucial inventions of the 19th century.

Used slot mortising machine view of drilling unit Those first slot mortisers were used largely in the production of spline shafts in wheels. The work the machines carried out helped to transform the steam engine industry by making the process of cutting slots faster and a lot more accurate. While different machines are used to cut and separate metal workpieces today, slot mortisers are still used widely in the construction of wooden frames. However, they are now a lot smaller than they used to be, and they are typically operated by a single user.

Who uses slot mortisers today?

Slot mortising machines are now used widely in woodworking operations of all sizes. They are used frequently in the production of chairs, tables and wardrobes. In this era of competitiveness, cost-cutting and labour-saving manufacturing processes, the multi slot mortising machine has made the furniture industry profitable.

Modern doors and window frames are made with great precision using the horizontal slot mortiser, which delivers the level of accuracy and speed needed by modern manufacturers. Any woodworking process that requires the creation of dowel holes or slots and recesses for mortises can be made more accurate and efficient with the use of slot mortising.

Used slot mortising machine detail view of drilling tool

Buying slot mortising machines

Surplex is home to a wide range of machinery at competitive prices. If you need a horizontal slot mortiser to improve your woodworking operation, why buy new when you can save money by purchasing a used model with a proven track record of accuracy and efficiency? There are often quality used slot mortisers available from brands such as BALESTRINI, BERNARDO, COMAG, HESS, HOLZKRAFT, KLEIN&SÖHNE, KÖLLE, PANHANS, SAC and SCM. But if you can’t find a slot mortiser for sale at today, keep checking for news of our latest auctions. Sign up to our regular newsletter, and you’ll know about our latest used slot mortisers for sale well in advance.

Used slot mortising machine front view of work area

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