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Author Topic: Moulder recommendation for a small business  (Read 5848 times)

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Offline yieldmap

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Moulder recommendation for a small business
« on: April 20, 2005, 06:34:03 PM »
Hey guys,

I've been hobby-ing my way into this business for a couple of years now.  I'm harvesting my own trees, and have a local sawyer who is great to work with.  I'm interesting in getting into more value-added products, such as moulding.

In particular, I've got a brother-in-law who is building a new house.  At the sight of his $,000 quote for mouldings, I mentioned that I might be able to supply him.  My idea: if I can get the moulder paid for, I'll throw in the hardwood.  Save him some money and get me more tools!!

I'm interested in your recommendations/opinions for moulders.  I'm looking for something small to start with, just to do his house and a few hundred feet for myself in the beginning.  I've looked at the Woodmaster, but also see the smaller Shop Fox, Grizzly, and W&H units.  Who likes what, and which do you recommend for my job?

Thanks,
yieldmap

Offline beenthere

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2005, 08:27:35 PM »
This sounds like a good challenge and way to get started.

Do you have experience making moulding?
Can you tell us what moulding patterns your BIL wants in his home?
Do you want to make the moulding in one pass, or several runs with different steps to get the final patterns?
Any idea what $$$ amount you might be shooting for, or to stay under?

I'd think finding some older equipment would be a good way to get started.

Making good moulding is a skill of knowledge, talent, and patience, besides having uniformally dried material to work with (if several machine passes will be necessary), and a species that is fairly easy to mould.

Can you fill us in about what you have in mind?  May help the answers to get you on the way to moulding.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline yieldmap

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2005, 11:29:49 PM »
Thanks for the help.  I've never made moulding, but have worked with a shaper and router for panels and cabinet doors.

For patterns, I think he wants some base moulding, and eventually crown.

I would rather make the moulding in one pass than several.  I don't think he's interested in anything really custom, but he wants to use some of the wood from the tree we took off the place.

I was thinking I could get something in the $2000 price range.  This was my first guess, then validated with the Woodmaster brochure.  Then, I saw the W&H and Shopfox 7" moulders and started asking questions.

For materials, he would like to use some of the soft maple we cut from an old tree on the place.  We just sawed it last night, and it looks nice, but I'm not sure it will be the best for moulding.  I was thinking more along the lines of Red Oak, which I have a slew of.  It's been air-drying for almost a year now.  I worked some this winter, and it has turned out well.

Offline ellmoe

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2005, 08:58:37 PM »
If you buy a used machine you can get more "bang for the buck", plus you will normally get knives with it. Knives and extra heads can get expensive very fast. I have a Weining and spent about as much on extra heads and knives as I did on the machine. If I had it to do over again, I'd look at a used machine.
Mark
Thirty plus years in the sawmill/millwork business. A sore back and arthritic fingers to prove it!

Offline Sawyerfortyish

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2005, 07:27:33 PM »
I just bought a logosol moulder and am very pleased with it. Altho it's more than you want to spend. I have called Grizzly for a new planner and it seems there having trouble getting machines in to sell and are backlogged several months.  I went to another company and bought what I needed. So if your going to buy from Grizzly find out how long it will be before you get your machine. I'm not knocking grizzly I have there 20"planner and it's done good for me.

Offline SawDust_Studios

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2005, 10:24:37 PM »
If you are doing an ocassional house and the odd room or two, I'd go with something like the Williams and Hussey (around $1600)  I have a friend who has one and does about 2 kitchens/month.  I just purchased the Shop Fox model made by grizzly (around $1100) and it really does a great job for the price and looks nearly identical to the WH.

The thing I really like about them is the ease of knife changing.  As stated, I had to wait awhile from grizzly, but they are available from other locations as well.  I think Bridgewood also makes one, available from www.wilkemach.com

Dave
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Offline FeltzE

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2005, 06:57:06 AM »
I've got a logosol which we've run a bunch of 2 sided and 4 sided planing.  The primary finished 4 sided material has been T&G flooring and paneling. A good machine for the money but expect to spend 10k getting started.

Additionally I've got an RBI 820 similar to the woodmaster, with the gang saws, sander head, 3 single knife cutters, and planer head. This machine is quite versitile for the money, I recall spending about 4k on the complete package with about 4 standard pattern knives in the initial purchase. I have recently hand ground 2 different pattern knives for a job for my little brother to replicate an antique set he has in his home. I was very pleased with the results. The RBI I have has a variable speed feed which I think is a must on such a machine I can adjust from about 15 ft per min to a complete hault. with deeper mouldings you can run in a single pass with sharp knives and a VERY slow feed rate... with excelent results. The gang set will allow you to rip accurate blanks more effeciently than on a table saw as well. On my brothers job I've got about 3 - 4 hours making the 2 different knives, and about 4.5 hours ripping and 2 sided planing 700 ft of 5 inch blanks then about 3 hours making 400 ft of the mouldings. In the end you may have to consider the total cost of doing buisness to assess the economy of the machine. Quick to set up about 10 minutes if you have the knives and material ready. Door moulds and crowns are all standard sets from the OEM. Standard couregated knives are used, no pin sets or holes so hand grinding new patterns can be done however you must make sure you end up in balance or bad things may happen!

I picked up an XL mouldmaster 4x6 from a customer and am currently putting that into service, the heads are going out to Wood Tech Tooling today for new gibs and balance. Getting a Niagra Phase converter shipped in due friday.

The only problem is that as I increase capability I havn't increased my storage and work space in the shop and am becomming quite cramped, running 14 foot blanks through the machine needs about 35 feet of clear way. And of course as I am still operating just part time It's been hard to drum up business for the machines. I'll probably have to set up a booth at this summers events to catch people who have some money to spend on restoration projects and want custom woodworking. The price of plastic mouldings have put them into all of the new construction. The effeciency of the big machines renders the small machines not cost effective for standard pieces, so competition with the commercial lumber source is not viable.

However it's very enjoyable taking a tree and making lumber, drying it, replicating an antique knife, and running that rough lumber into a finshed shaped product.  8)

I ramble on...
Standard charir rail done on the rbi more than one pass, have to cut the relief in the bottom...





These are for my brother...




Eric

Offline Gilman

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2005, 11:45:44 AM »
I really like the antique patterns. Thanks for the photos
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Offline FeltzE

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2005, 08:59:57 PM »
Gill, here are a couple better shots


Door Case for an older home in NY



Base board for the same home



Offline yieldmap

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2005, 01:32:24 AM »
Eric,

Holy Cow!!! Those mouldings are great.  Quite a bit different than you can get from the big box, eh?

From your story on the RBI, I think that's what I'd like to get (Woodmaster).  I like the idea of ripping blanks, 2-side planing, then moulding.  Sounds like the machine I need.  I don't think the smaller W&H type machine is quite as versatile for the money.

I am curious about the process of making custom knives.  I've never done any metal work like that.  Can you describe a little?

Thanks for the great info.  I really like the door casing and floor mould.  I'm going to show the Bro-In-Law and see his reaction.  I think that'll get him sold on this venture.

Thanks again,
Sam

Offline FeltzE

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2005, 07:16:12 AM »
Sam, don't get me wrong... That RBI or Woodmaster has quite a capability but it isn't what I would call a commercial machine. It is quite labor intensive to rip, size, plane blanks from rough cut all befor you even put a profile knife in the cutter. That being said they are versatile machines.

I'm still learning about knife grinding. Those two profiles are my first hand ground knives. If you take a piece of moulding and cut it at about 15 degrees and then put your blank knife stock up to it and trace it you will get a pretty fair profile to grind.

Using a steel cutoff saw size your stock to lenth leaving extra to be trimmed for balance in the single knife cutter later.

Then start working your profile with a coarse grit 1/4 inch wheel work it up to near your trace, switch up to a finer stone for finishing. Shape your stone often and keep a bucket of water there to cool the tool steel. Heat kills your hardness so having soft grinding stones help.

The final weight of the knife is important for cutter head balance when using a single knife cutter in the woodmaster or RBI, if you are using a 2 knife cutter head then the knives need to be balanced to within a fraction of a gram.

I just ordered a veil profile grinder (ebay) and I'm going to try that...

The commercial machines are $5k and up to grind knives.

You can get knives made to order from a hundred sources, Global tooling, wood tech tooling, just shoot a google search for profile knife grinding and you can get all the info you need for supplies and companies who will make your knives for your machine.

I'm looking for someone with an XL moulder close enough to go see...and learn...

Eric


Offline Larry

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2005, 08:50:23 AM »
Eric Im impressed with your knife grinding skills.  Ive done couple simple patterns for my Belsaw...nothing as complex as your profiles.  I have ground quite a few knives for the shaper.

The Belsaw, grandpa of all the machines spitting out stock 444 casing.



As Eric indicated no way can you compete with the commercial guys running stock moldings with these small machines.  Reproduction of the antique and small custom runs is where these machines excel.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline Paschale

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2005, 10:13:46 AM »
I own the Powermatic 15" Planer/Moulder.  I've only used it as a planer so far, since I haven't had any need to run moulding yet, though I thought down the road, I'd like to have that option to do some custom moulding.  I talked to some guys on Woodnet who were pretty pleased with the product.  There's a pretty positive review it on that link I sent you.  You can get this for around $1700 on amazon.  I figured it was a smart way to have the molding option, as well as getting a really beefy 5HP planer.  Seemed like a smart way to go for my needs, and I thought if I started getting into a little custom molding on the side, this machine would let me do it.  Wish I could tell you more about the molding aspects of it.  I don't know yet how easy it is to change knives, etc., but I thought I'd point this machine out to you, since you're in the market for one.

I got a few replies on Woodnet here from some guys who own this machine, and have used it for molding.
Y'all can pronounce it "puh-SKOLLY"

Offline FeltzE

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2005, 08:18:27 PM »
Larry,

I occasionally get a little "jog" in the moulding when feeding the first few inches or last few inches, in the RBI, I'm using guide boards that stop short of the rollers. Do you do this? or are you running your guides straight through the machine?

I may go to a different guide board system ... some mdf and a permanent 1/4 or 3/8 inch thick guide on one side and a movable or feather board on the other.

Any ideas?

Eric

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2005, 09:57:41 PM »
3" of jog on both infeed and outfeed...I just figure it as waste.

On the 444 profile which are 3-1/2" finished, the blanks are 3-5/8".  I set the infeed width at 3-11/16" and the outfeed width at 3-1/2".  Pretty much the same tolerances on anything else I run.

Took a picture...infeed on the left.



If ya got better idea let me know.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2005, 07:05:57 AM »

Reference guide boards;
At one time I was running a single runner on each side that ran the length of the feed bed. Groved to provide clearance under the feed rollers. Occasionally binding a board in the feed way due to varience in the blanks or a bit of crook to the blank. So this time I went to feed guides that stop short of the feed rollers.

I was thinking of going to a mdf base board, and a permanently affixed full length guide board on one side about 3/8 inch thick. then either adjustable guide on the other side or a couple of feather boards to keep the blanks firmly against the guide with a little room for flex.

Eric

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2005, 07:16:44 AM »
I made my first moulding on a radial arm saw with one of the simple 3 cutter heads, dangerous and time consuming but worked well enough to make a whole hose full.  Graduated to a crafstman 1/2 horse power shaper and made lots of tounge and groove as well as mouldings.  For simple base boards I have and still just route an edge, works well especially for longer boards.  Graduated again to an older belsaw and have maybe 10 different profiles for things like crown, colonial casing, 1/4 round and a few base board caps that can be installed over a square edge 1x 3 4 or 5.  I do T and G and V match on a 1.5 horse shaper and still use the router for shiplap and simple baseboards.
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Offline SawDust_Studios

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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2005, 10:01:49 AM »
The RBI and Woodmaster are versitile, but there is a point where I decide it just wasn't worth the time to change between the machines.  I had a woodmaster and it made great mouldings, but unless I was making very large quantities, I never used the gang-rip and if you don't have another planer and have too much ruined or chip out (hickory) then you need to set up again to plane some more.  I would buy another woodmaster, but not for the various machines.  It is just a well made machine and good planer.

I did buy the W&H type moulder, like the two above, they ARE NOT commercial heavy duty machines, but they do work daily for the amount of moulding I need.  I think the decision is the same as a sawmill.  What are you going to do with it?  Are you making small amounts of moulding for the occasional job or are you getting into the moulding business?  The nice thing is you have several choices and they all have advantages.


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Re: Moulder recommendation for a small business
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2005, 09:10:27 PM »
I bought my RBI for it's versatality, But as noted earlier, I agree with sawdust... these are not heavy duty commercial machines. That dosn't mean they don't have some pretty serious capabilities.

Running the logosol doing s4s or t&g in a single pass is MUCH more economical than running a lesser machine. And I would consider the Logosol (I have the smaller motors on the 1PH 261) a low end commercial machine in comparison to the larger commercial machines found at full time moulding operations.

Ultimately you get what you pay for, looking at moulding consider the support equipment, straight line rip, maybe a gang saw, possibly pre-planning the lumber for uniform thickness for more efficient and better final products, a profile sanding capability, maybe even a spray finish too.

Handling lumber costs money, planning each side in a separate operation is 4x more time consuming than a single pass and don't forget the handling time to and from the feed , out feed ends of the machine.

Eric


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