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Forum topic by ChrisBarrett posted 01-14-2016 07:52 PM 698 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ChrisBarrett

99 posts in 524 days


01-14-2016 07:52 PM

So I’m doing some remodeling in my 1906 Victorian home and running into problems finding molding that matches. The previous owner made an effort, but not a very good one to put in stuff that matched. Do you guys think it’s worth it to buy a molder and some knives or just have knives made and pay a millwork shop to do it? Right now, I only need about 25 feet of base molding cap, some casing for doorways, and the pieces that go above the doors. Eventually though I’ll need a whole lot more as I start remodeling other rooms.

I found this: http://rockford.craigslist.org/tls/5357685493.html and have seen a couple youtube vids of it in action and seems like it would be good enough for my use. The question is, is it worth it?
Thanks!


24 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 697 days


#1 posted 01-14-2016 08:07 PM

there is always an excuse to buying a new machine. Belsaw and W&H made decent planer/molders. I can give you a crash course on grinding your own profiles when you get it. So, yes, get it.

Its worth what you will pay for it. I wouldnt buy a craftsman. Just me. I dislike them. Look into Belsaw and Williams and Hussey.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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ChrisBarrett

99 posts in 524 days


#2 posted 01-14-2016 08:09 PM

Apparently this model of craftsman was actually higher quality than the models that Belsaw made for Sears. I already have Makita 2040 for planing, so this molder would be used for just running molding through.

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ChrisBarrett

99 posts in 524 days


#3 posted 01-14-2016 09:19 PM

So I called up one millwork company in town, they charge $250 to make a knife, $50 setup fee and then probably around $3 a foot to cut the molding, not including lumber cost.

At most I’ll need 3 knives, one for base molding cap, one for casing on the sides of the doors, and one for what is potentially called the “architrave”? The very top molding above the door. I could potentially find a match for some of this stuff, but not in douglas fir for sure, which is what the rest of the molding is upstairs.

edit okay it’s not called the architrave. Maybe just cap, or crown?

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


#4 posted 01-14-2016 09:57 PM

I had to do similar work in a house built in 1900. The old molding had indications that all young children who had ever lived there were issued hatchets at about the age of 5. Quite probably these hatchets were handed down from one generation to the next.

I got a Sears molding head for the table saw (mine was the single cutter type, not 3 cutter). I had to grind my own cutters to get the shapes I needed, but this was quite easy. Then each board had to be run through several times, with more than one cutter style, to get what I needed (the moldings measured 5 1/2” across). And then all had to be sanded before finishing.

I do not recommend this, because it is tedious work, though I did end up with satisfactory moldings. But it was cheap. I think the molding heads and cutters are still available, and I have seen them on CL and in used junk shops. I still have a set, though I rarely use it (and then only reluctantly).

If you should go this route, I suggest making a kind of tunnel out of wood to clamp onto your fence that covers the whole molding cutter. This made the entire operation seem under control, and therefore saferl, as it prevented any lateral movement and of course held the material down on the table. As always, I made it a point to stand out of the line of fire while doing this operation.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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ChrisBarrett

99 posts in 524 days


#5 posted 01-14-2016 10:57 PM

yeah I have seen those in videos and they would be scary to use. :-D Also – I know that it would be possible to figure out how to reproduce some if not all of this use several router bits and a route table. But that would be a ton of work. I figure a molder with custom knives if necessary would be a good balance between time and cost.

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ChrisBarrett

99 posts in 524 days


#6 posted 01-14-2016 11:02 PM

I uploaded some pictures of each molding I need to reproduce: http://imgur.com/a/hqA17

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

819 posts in 386 days


#7 posted 01-15-2016 12:25 AM

ChrisBarrett,

Part of your decision to either make the moulding yourself or outsource its milling is obviously an economic decision. Other factors may enter into it, but economics is probably the main driver.

Based on the numbers your local mill shop provided, here is my analysis: For each run at $250 knife charge, $50 setup charge, and at $3 per lineal foot (lf), you will pay (exclusive of the lumber):

$375 for 25lf;
$600 for 100lf;
$1800 for 500lf;
$3300 for 1000lf;
$4800 for 1500lf, and
$6300 for 2000lf

Since you will eventually need more than 25lf, investing in machinery and time, as you are considering, depends on ultimately how many total feet you will run and also whether you will have use for the machine at some future time. The break-even analysis below applies to any purchase, new or used.

If buying makes sense, then whether to buy new or used is next. Used should be less money than new. However, a used machine that will not hold the knife firmly in place, keep the stock moving smoothly through the moulder and firmly against the bed, or one for which finding knives is a challenge are factors to consider. One option to consider before buying used, is to insist that a short piece of Douglas fir be run through the machine so you can inspect the results.

The Craftsman machine on Craigslist looks like a light weight machine, though it is difficult to tell from the photo. If you get excessive vibration that causes chattering with this or any other machine, you may be in for a fair amount of sanding to remove these milling marks. Also there is no mention in the ad whether the machine has the accessories required to run moulding. My moulder/planer requires a moulding shaft onto which a moulding head is installed. The moulding head then holds the knife in place.

The other option is buying new. The only investigation I did for my reply was to look at the Woodmaster Web site. I am sure there are decent dedicated moulders out there cheaper than Woodmaster. By the way, my only affiliation with Woodmaster is that I own two of their machines, a 12” planer and moulder and their drum sander and find these to be of good quality.

To buy new from Woodmaster would cost $2500 for the 12” Planer/Moulder and their $700 Pro-Pack for the 12” planer plus shipping. Their Propack includes 4 knife sets. I think it is a one moulding knife machine. While I have the accessories needed to convert my planer to a moulder, I have never run moulding. Therefore I cannot give you an opinion on how well it works. There are YouTube videos showing their machine milling moulding, including curved moulding.

To economically justify the Woodmaster purchase at about $3200 plus shipping, you will have to run at least 1000lf. The 25 lf you have to run now justifies the Craigslist machine, if it includes mouldng accessories and it produces the results you expect.

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


#8 posted 01-15-2016 12:35 AM

I should have added (above) that you don’t want to cut to whole depth in one pass. Take shallow cuts. (Very tedious).

Following up on JBrow’s economic analysis, keep in mind that you can resell the moulder after you are through with it.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

131 posts in 351 days


#9 posted 01-15-2016 02:45 AM

I have a Woodmaster molder/planer and have run many different profiles through it. Using a single knife molding head and the slow feed rate, the moldings come out slick smooth. i’d buy the machine in a heartbeat. Use it for what you need (Woodmaster has hundreds of standard knife profiles) and keep it for making crown, casings, etc, throughout the house.

made these solid cherry moldings on my woodmaster molder for the kitchen when I redid it about 10 years ago.

[URL=http://s1355.photobucket.com/user/ftimpano/media/kitchen1-7zpsvqteuikg.jpg.html][IMG]http://i1355.photobucket.com/albums/q701/ftimpano/kitchen1-7_zpsvqteuikg.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

[URL=http://s1355.photobucket.com/user/ftimpano/media/kitchen1-6zps7hww46jv.jpg.html][IMG]http://i1355.photobucket.com/albums/q701/ftimpano/kitchen1-6_zps7hww46jv.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Any board cut to length has a 50% probability of being too short.

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

131 posts in 351 days


#10 posted 01-15-2016 02:47 AM

I have a Woodmaster molder/planer and have run many different profiles through it. Using a single knife molding head and the slow feed rate, the moldings come out slick smooth. i’d buy the machine in a heartbeat. Use it for what you need (Woodmaster has hundreds of standard knife profiles) and keep it for making crown, casings, etc, throughout the house.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Any board cut to length has a 50% probability of being too short.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

819 posts in 386 days


#11 posted 01-15-2016 02:50 AM

runswithscissor,

Great point!

I overlooked “salvage value”, or rather assumed “salvage value” would only be keeping the machine and using it later. In order to enhance “salvage value”, buying the best machine possible, running a 1000 or so lineal feet through it and reselling it could conceivably result in free use of the machine. A “high end machine” bought new would not fetch its entire cost back, but it could be sold in a “like new” condition and net a pretty good price. And with a “high end machine” or best machine possible, I have to believe that it would perform very well.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 952 days


#12 posted 01-15-2016 02:50 AM

Buy the machine. Just because.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

819 posts in 386 days


#13 posted 01-15-2016 03:02 AM

sawdustdad

WOW! The mouldings look great; no visible mill marks and a flawless finish. Also incredible craftsmanship evident from those tight joints after the install – I assume you were the installing craftsman. And you had to have saved a boat load of money – at least enough to pay for the Woodmaster.

View Carey  Mitchell's profile

Carey Mitchell

88 posts in 1425 days


#14 posted 01-15-2016 03:51 AM

I agree with runswithscissors re the Craftsman molding cutter head. It was my first saw attachment about 40 years ago and I still pull it out every couple f years. Mine is the single cutter type.

To reinforce his comments – DO NOT USE THIS tool without the “tunnel” arrangement. With the single cutter, there is nothing to prevent it from digging in and throwing the workpiece at you – it happened to me within the first 15 seconds of use. It went across the garage and chipped a brick!

With the dozen cutter shapes in the set, you can make virtually any shape – if you take your time on the setups. But it is slooow !

View ChrisBarrett's profile

ChrisBarrett

99 posts in 524 days


#15 posted 01-15-2016 05:02 AM

Jbrow – keep in mind that I have three different moldings I need. The most footage is just the the baseboard cap. So in the whole house, as we remodel stuff I could see needing a couple hundred feet of it eventually. We want to finish the attic, so we’ll need trim and moulding for up there too.

So if I can’t find this molding off the shelf, and I have to pay for knife grinding it’ll be for 3 different moldings, with 3 different setup fees. So that’s 900 right there. I think economics tells me getting a light weight machine (as long as it works) will be cheaper in the long term.

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