If you think a chain mortiser looks like a cross between a chainsaw and a drill press, you’ve just about pegged it. These tools speed up post and beam construction, and they look bad-ass.
To operate the tool, you clamp it onto a wide piece of timber, then plunge the mortiser’s spinning chain into the wood to create a straight-sided hole. You can reposition the tool and go again to create bigger mortises — it definitely beats chiseling out holes with a drill. If you want to see one in action check out this video for SwissPRO’s version.
The prices on these specialty tools definitely keep them in the niche market. Street pricing for Makita’s enigmatically named 7104L runs around $1200.