X-Y Vise Conversion for Delta 14-651 Mortiser

by Greg Jones

This article first appeared in a thread on theWoodNet woodworking forum. It was compiled and reproduced here for easier public consumption. All Text are the property of Greg Jones.

Someone on another forum asked about an X-Y vise on this machine and I realized that I had never posted here what I did to set mine up.

I've seen several mortisers converted to handle an X-Y vise and most do so by raising the head with some type of wood table and extension. Those who have done this seem to get by fine with them, but I was concerned about flex so I converted my Delta 14-651 a little differently. The Delta comes with one riser block and I bought two more. With two blocks installed, the head is within 1/2" of the height of the stock configuration. Adding the third riser gets it to the same height as the stock configuration with one riser installed. This required new bolts to work and I found stainless 130mm and 180mm 8x1.25 bolts for the two and three riser configurations.

The vise is a HF 4" model, with the slide flipped so I can operate both slides with my left hand while operating the mortiser with my right hand. The top slide was also flipped end for end and drilled and tapped to put the slide and vice cranks on the same end.

All in all, I ended up with a very nice setup without too much investment. I bought the Delta at Amazon's blow-out last year for $142, the two risers were $25 each, the vise was $30, and the bolts were around $25 (at BoltDepot.com). That puts the total at right under $250, which is where the Amazon price is today for just the 14-651. While I am well pleased with how this turned out, I'd look at other options before converting a 14-651 at today's prices. This is a great system for under $250 like what I have invested, but there are plenty of other options to explore when you are talking $350+.


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