General International’s 75-050T M1 sets itself apart from other machines here in several big ways. First, the mortiser has a tubular column and telescoping headstock casting. The design enables the head to swivel around on the base so you can do much longer “off-the-table” mortising.
You can also extend the machine’s stroke to a generous 9″ without a riser block by lifting and locking the headstock casting higher on the column. Both the swiveling and stroke adjustments can be done tool free. Additionally, the column can be unlocked at the base and tilted left or right up to 30° for cutting beveled mortises; this is the only machine in the group that can do so. Here’s a mortiser that offers convenient and specialized versatility.
General provides a full complement of knobs and levers for carrying out normal setups. The machine’s fence slides and locks in T-slots in the table, which actually made the fence a little harder to move back and forth; the mounting bolt lugs tended to hang up in their slots. Still, the fence was flat, amply tall and locked down tight. A sturdy front clamp will press your work securely against the fence, but I prefer the table rollers on other tools that make it easier to slide the wood laterally.
The fence hold-down on this mortiser is also unusual. It clamps to the column’s dovetail ways instead of to a fence post. While it locked firmly in place, its “reach” over a workpiece decreases as you move the fence further out. That could reduce its function in some instances. When making many matching parts, you might appreciate the adjustable workstop and the depth control offered here: General gives you two collars to limit both up and down travel of the headstock.
Other goodies include four chisels and a bushing to suit 3/4″ chisel shanks. I wish the machine came with a rack for storing these supplies.
In testing, the 75-050T M1 chewed into mortises without complaint. All in all, this is a solid tool, albeit spendy. At $499 as of 2010, the articulating benefits might be harder to justify on an occasional user’s budget.