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Seneca Falls "DIAMOND" Foot Powered Mortiser

A large foot power mortising machine with substantial tilting table, chisel reversing lever, and fully adjustable hold downs. The cast iron frame is marked in large letters along its length, "Seneca Falls Mfg Co, Seneca Falls, NY, Patented Sept 13, 1887". The mortiser is 65" high, with a 30" long hardwood table. The table is mounted on a 4" diameter circular bearing, allowing it to rotate (to tilt 45 degrees) and to slide in and out. This is likely the subject of the 1887 patent, since the rest of the machine seems to be of much earlier design. A great number of patents were granted in the 1840's and 50's for all sorts of mortising machines which I researched when I had the much older Philadelphia mortiser, but I didn't review the later patents. When I get to the patent office to copy the 1887 patent, I will update this page. The decorative cast iron fence is marked "DIAMOND" and has diamond shaped cutouts, as do three of the chisels, including the adjustable split chisel. The table can move up and down the frame on a dovetail slide with large locking hand nut. The chisel can cut 3 inches deep. The heavy foot lever has a 4" x 5" diamond patterned pedal and and adjustable coil spring return. A lever at the top of the machine provides instant rotation of the chisel from left to right.

The set of six chisels are 1/4", 1/2", 5/8, 3/4", 7/8", and an adjustable split chisel with up to 1" separation of two 1 1/4" chisels. This is apparently for cutting tenons and would be especially useful if the owner had lost his saw. I tried it for just trimming a previously cut tenon and it worked quite well. Perhaps this was its purpose. It has the diamond markings, as do the 1/4" and 3/4" chisels, suggesting they are original to the "Diamond" machine.

full length view ---- the top part --- the bottom part

the cast iron fence ---- mortising a barn beam --- the hold downs

the six chisels --- closeup of the adjustable split chisel

Price: sold
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Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email:

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