Grandma's Picture Frame #3: Zero Clearance Take 2: Using a Molding Head on the Table Saw, Safety and Other Thoughts

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Blog entry by spunwood posted 02-13-2011 05:28 AM 2832 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: A first go at the Insert Part 3 of Grandma's Picture Frame series Part 4: Profiles »

In the last blog entry, the table saw molding cutter fiasco was discussed. After some feedback, and encouragement, and trust that the mishap was partly due to a knot in the wood (WHO PUT THAT THERE!), I went back and reworked the Insert. This time I made it slower, neater, and let the cutter itself remove the kerf by very, VERY slowly raising it while the fence held it down. If you do this, please use a cutter that has both outside edges; otherwise, you may not have created a universal slot for your molder head.

I also made a second featherboard to hold the wood down from above. I ended up not using this because it got in the way of cleanly handling the wood.

Finally, I still experienced a similar slap on one test piece, without destroying the insert this time. I realized that this is not like a saw blade that partly holds the piece in place with its side…when you rip a piece of wood, the fence and blade align that piece. When you use the molder, the wood is much more free to wiggle about. This caused dangerous kick back, tear out, or who knows what.

I moved my Rockler featherboard directly beside the cutter. In normal ripping operations, a featherboard is about a 1/4” prior to the blade. But here, I used the featherboard in a manner that is proably akin to a shapers feeders.

Changes I made this time:
1. better insert (albeit still MDF and too flexible…dangerous).
2. Use Featherboard
3.Place featherboard directly in line with cutters (not over them however:))
4. Use thicker, wider, longer wood, and plan to rip to size after.
5.Use a slightly faster feed rate.
6.Use push stick to move, and hand as (secondary) guide against fence. Primary guide is featherboard.

I have to say, this molder head is a pretty intimidating tablesaw tool. It does wonders, but it makes my heart pound.

Originally, I imagined that I might one day use the cutter to round over edges, but I believe that even with long stock, it would not be possible, or at least very dangerous. What do yall think? As you can see on the two profiles, there is overhang on both sides. I can see doing it without overhang on one side, but not running it through the cutter knives at the exact width of the knife. For the last part of the cut, the wood would be floating in the air, having cut off its edge, no?

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

1 comment so far

View 489tad's profile


3370 posts in 3037 days

#1 posted 02-14-2011 03:28 PM

You learned something. You came out in one piece and the profile looks great. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished frame.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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