ADVICE NEEDED - starting a moulding business

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Forum topic by hammerdude posted 05-28-2013 07:33 AM 7230 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1821 days

05-28-2013 07:33 AM

I’m looking to startup a business making moldings such as casing, baseboards and crown and your help is needed. I’ve been doing research online for a few months on this but google can only help so much.

What I’ve been looking into is buying a moulder/planer to make my trim. I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of models ($1200 price range) such as the King KC-235PM, jet jpm13 and Craftex that busybee sells. I’m wondering if any of you do use any of these models and can provide feedback such as places to purchase knifes at decent prices and personal experiences with these machines to help me out.

My other idea is using a router table, which I already own. The bits are alot cheaper than the molding knives, so it leaves me wondering if it would be smarter doing it this way or not. Probably not….

I’m an experienced carpenter who lives in a small town and know for a fact the market is there. I have access to a lumbermill and a 24’x24’ space to work in. This business startup is official and will be underway in the next 2 weeks and any feedback received will be greatly appreciated.

23 replies so far

View Farrout's profile


185 posts in 3150 days

#1 posted 05-28-2013 10:44 AM

My first question would be what production rate do you need to maintain to be profitable?
How many feet do you expect to deliver per week?
Can the models you mention produce at that level?

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius!

View hammerdude's profile


7 posts in 1821 days

#2 posted 05-28-2013 01:38 PM

Realistically I estimate 15000 feet of wood per year. I’m assuming these models should suffice. Keep in mind this molding business is half of my business startup so it is not my main focus.

The big name box stores sells basic 8’ MDF crown molding for $30.00 in my area, understand my point? and plus who doesn’t like the look of wood? lol

View Woodendeavor's profile


276 posts in 2602 days

#3 posted 05-28-2013 01:52 PM

I use a woodmaster 718 molder planer. I would recommend looking into the machine for its versatility. I manufacture shoe molding and have the machine set up with a rip saw on one side and molding knife on the other allowing me to cut my blanks and mill finished trim with one machine and no change out. Good luck

View Loren's profile


10380 posts in 3643 days

#4 posted 05-28-2013 02:15 PM

Are you planning to provide the finished
product sanded or not?

If not, will your customers want to do it?

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1944 days

#5 posted 05-28-2013 02:18 PM

With the cost of store bought it seems like a though nut to crack

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3738 days

#6 posted 05-28-2013 02:36 PM

15000 feet/year isn’t much.
That is just 37 – 8 foot sticks of molding per week (50 weeks/year)

Seems you really need to link into the homebuilders and trim carpenters.

If there are a lot of historical homes needing reproduced trim, or high end custom folks – maybe it can be done, but a lot of those guys either own a moulder themselves or have a well established subcontractor that they farm their work out to already.

I second the Woodmaster.

Whatever pieces you do make – keep good records of your setup, and a piece of the moulding… inevitably you will get a call from somebody that needs one more piece of XXX moulding – and they will expect all the beads to line up with the first batch.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Loren's profile


10380 posts in 3643 days

#7 posted 05-28-2013 02:43 PM

There are a bunch of videos on Youtube about people
using Woodmaster moulders. I think the best work
to get with the machine is the curved arches and
things where you have the client over a barrel, so
to speak. Straight moulding obviously doesn’t fetch
such premium prices.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#8 posted 05-28-2013 02:50 PM

I own a shop fox planner moulder an it is a good design modeled after William and Hussy considered a standard for years. I have also had good experience with Woodmaster products.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View waho6o9's profile


8188 posts in 2572 days

#9 posted 05-28-2013 02:59 PM

COD is your friend.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3542 days

#10 posted 05-28-2013 05:06 PM

I have no idea about the machines you have listed but we use a 25” woodmaster with a 7.5 hp leeson and a 12” woodmaster with a 5hp leeson. Works great for us.

In this area getting paint grade moldings is cheap and difficult to make money at.

Hardwood molding such as walnut and hickory would be more of a money maker.

-- .

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2965 days

#11 posted 05-28-2013 05:23 PM

Are you offering custom moulding or competing with mouldings that you can already buy off the shelf? If it’s custom work and you can offer a choice of timber you can charge a premium. Maybe get some sample boards into timber merchants or kitchen suppliers.

View hammerdude's profile


7 posts in 1821 days

#12 posted 05-28-2013 07:11 PM

All good points! thanks again for your time to comment.

I’ve looked into the woodmaster, looks like a nifty tool that does all, just a little over my budget for the time being.

I’ve seen a few used molder/planers for under $600, I’m thinking at this price it gives me more room moneywise to buy more variety of knives. And if the business part of this ends up working than I can always upgrade to the woodmaster in a year from now. And if it doesnt work I can always resell the unit for what I paid for.

As for the knives, where do you guys recommend buying from? I’m in canada so a canadian company would be an added bonus to save on shipping delays for future purchases.

Quick question, do I need to sand each molding that comes out or because its 3 knives the output product comes out smooth enough not needing sanding?

I do plan on making samples and knocking on contractors doors with the product. I’m also offering my product to residential customers with the option of installation.

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2839 days

#13 posted 05-28-2013 11:36 PM

You might want to install your product too. That would get you into new built projects and remodels. -Jack

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3757 days

#14 posted 05-29-2013 12:07 AM

U.P. here, almost in sight of Lake Superior is a small shop that makes custom doors and moldings. The owner kindly gave me a tour of his shop and what caught my interest the most, is the fact that his machines are very specialized, and not at all typical of what you would see in a “hobbiest” and even in an advanced “hobiest” shop.

All his stock comes pre planed to 15/16”. His machines are set up for this thickness and he literally can’t do any other thickness without involving a lot of set-up time. His molding machine takes knives about six inches wide, and of course he has several sets with different contours. The stock goes in one end and comes out the other completely milled. If I remember correctly, this machine costs around 15 – 20 grand.

He of course cannot compete with the big boxes. His “nitch” is the higher end custom trim; ie: cherry, curly maple, and woods that you won’t find at Home Depot. Yet, even in this market, he needs this kind of equipment and production rate to be competitive.

On the other hand, last year I milled many hundreds of linear feet of baseboard, window, and door trim for my brother-in-law’s addition to his house. Starting with raw Wood-Mizer sawn boards, I planed the wood to thickness, ripped it to width, and milled a simple rounded edge with my shaper cutter. It was a slow process and a lot of work. My brother-in-law could easily install the trim faster than I could produce it. Obviously, I did not have a business opportunity here.

I don’t believe that the typical shaper found in most woodworking shops could give you a competitive production rate. Routers of course are not intended to be run in continuous duty manufacturing type operations.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Loren's profile


10380 posts in 3643 days

#15 posted 05-29-2013 12:20 AM

You might want to consider investing in one of these Holz-her
contour sanders. They show up used on ebay. I don’t think
many shops use them anymore.

I have never used one. I think you cast up a foam block
for the profile and the unit vibrates as it feeds the

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