Advice on spindle moulder purchase

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Against_The_Grain

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PS and the block in the photo didn't look in great condition to me! First thing you need to look at is that the clamp faces meet flat.
Modern blocks are "friction held" too, with a peg to stop them flying out if loose. I wonder if the hole for the peg makes the blade more liable to break, if other things go wrong? Half a cutter flying loose instead of the whole thing.
Limiters ditto, double the risk of flying blades.

That’s because you have experience with these blocks, someone who doesn’t most likely wouldn’t spot that the jaws are splayed which are easy to see held up to the light like in that picture but difficult to spot sat on a bench. I think most would assume the block is good because the nuts aren’t rounded and it’s in a clean condition.

I’ve never heard of a single instance of modern pinned cutters breaking, companies like Whitehill will actually tell you if a cutter profile you have made is at risk of breaking from too great of a projection or parts of the profile that are too thin, and will make it from a thicker steel to prevent breakage. I doubt that the pin holes would create any weakness as they’re so far into the block and the leverage on the cutter is right at the edge of the block itself where the cutter hangs out, not at the pin holes. The risk of cutters coming flying out of modern limiter blocks are near nil, even if you don’t tighten the wedge fully, centrifugal force will keep it in place during running.
 

Jacob

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That’s because you have experience with these blocks, someone who doesn’t most likely wouldn’t spot that the jaws are splayed which are easy to see held up to the light like in that picture but difficult to spot sat on a bench. I think most would assume the block is good because the nuts aren’t rounded and it’s in a clean condition.
So now they know (if they are reading this)!
I’ve never heard of a single instance of modern pinned cutters breaking, companies like Whitehill will actually tell you if a cutter profile you have made is at risk of breaking from too great of a projection or parts of the profile that are too thin, and will make it from a thicker steel to prevent breakage. I doubt that the pin holes would create any weakness as they’re so far into the block and the leverage on the cutter is right at the edge of the block itself where the cutter hangs out, not at the pin holes. The risk of cutters coming flying out of modern limiter blocks are near nil, even if you don’t tighten the wedge fully, centrifugal force will keep it in place during running.
It was just a thought. I had one loose blade accident (shared machine somebody had started to remove a blade and not finished) and it simply shattered - part driven in to the workpiece and the rest in pieces in the machine well. It occurred to me that the pin hole might be a weak point and break sooner.
 

DBC

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Many thanks for all the advice. Lots of food for thought. The Axminster course is a great idea, DBC, and I will definitely look into that.

I have watched a lot of YouTube videos of the moulder in action, and one in particular by a chap called Roy Sutton was very good and covered some of the basics. However, I am old enough to know that the appearance given by an experienced woodworker on a video can make things look much easier than they actually are!

It is clear from all of you that new tooling is the best way to go, and I think also that I will have to increase my budget. I do really enjoy woodworking and with about 40 years before retirement, I will get a lot out of the investment!

Power is also something I will have to look into. I had planned to make the windows out of Sapele or Douglas fir which will likely need more power I am thinking? 3 phase is an option I will look into.

One further question I have is about table size. I assume a bigger table makes for a more versatile machine? I have noticed that some of the larger machines seem to have quite a small usable table. Does this matter too much?

I have seen what looks to be a very nice SMC T100 with Samco power feed in good working order. It looks a powerful machine though it is only 2 speed. Quite how I would get it into my garage I am not sure! From all of your advice it would seem that this is the sort of machine to look at.
There is also a nice Wadkin, but for double the cost! I think 1K is a more realistic budget really.

As said, I have used a router table to make small casement windows which turned out ok, about a 7/10, they certainly were not perfect. I just found that precision was difficult to achieve and setting up etc. the whole thing took an age. With 2 large bay windows, and 10 7 foot high, 4.5 foot wide monsters to build I might lose the will to live with the router table! also I would like to have a go at dados and skirtings, fancy mouldings etc.

Of course that is not to say that router tables are not effective, but I also have to consider my lack of skill/knowledge.

Many thanks to all of you and in advance for any further advice, Jimbo
I just went on google briefly and that axminster course I mentioned was being offered right up until the start of covid and I can’t tell if it has been started up again yet. So I’d just ring them. I would look into this as it seems to me all that you are lacking is confidence. It sounds like you have made similar windows before just smaller ones and not as many and this is why you have come up against the limitations of a router table. And I think you are right in your intuition that the joinery you plan to make would be extremely time consuming and painful with a router table: especially if you have to make a profit out of your time.

I didn’t mean to put you off when I mentioned that I sometimes swear at my 240v SIP moulder. While it is a little frustrating at times nearly all of these frustrations would be done away with if I bought a power feed. If you haunt ebay I think you could get a spindle moulder of this spec second hand and a power feed without going over your budget too much. However, if you can afford it more powerful machines can obviously swing bigger blocks.

I may have got the wrong end of the stick but I think one of the posters above came to the conclusion that unless you go for a 3 phase moulder you may as well just stick with a router table. If this is what was argued then I disagree with this. Even with my 13a moulder I am cutting chunky profiles with only 1 pass at a fraction of the time it would take on a router table; and the tooling is much much cheaper. Also, modern moulders are extremely well guarded when set up correctly and I would feel much safer using one than an upside down hand router spinning a large heavy panel raising or window coping bit that has to have the stock run across it numerous times to get the full depth of cut required. In my workshop the spindle moulder is used constantly and I haven’t got my router table out for years.

The two other things you asked about were timber species and table size. I make a lot of cabinet doors and the difference between panel raising - which can be a pretty heavy cut sometimes - on softwood and hardwood is noticeable but negligible. I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

The size of the table is not as much of a factor on a moulder as on say a table saw or a jointer and especially if you have a power feed and some roller stands etc. There are a few reasons for this but mostly because the gaurding on these machines is so much more comprehensive than on other machines. The stock is actually held tightly against the two right angled registration faces (the table itself and the upstand guide). In fact if you were to let go of the stock mid cut it should just stay put; something that can be very dangerous on a table saw or table router. Also, moulders are very versatile in that you can raise the block a large amount so if you want a larger table area you could probably make a temporary larger table out of MDF that sleeves down over the existing table and raise your block by 18mm; not that I have ever had to do this.

I think one of the other posters above mentioned that the ‘scary’ reputation that moulders have is a legacy of a previous generation of cutting tools. I would agree with this. I think someone also said that a well set up moulder is a pleasure to use and I second that too.

Finally, I am up so late as I watched that video you mentioned (also because I have the day off tomorrow to go to the Suffolk show). I thought it was extremely good. I think it was the same one that was shown to us at polytech in the late 1980s and is still relevant. I don’t think it is the case that it may be an expert making things look easy or however you phrased it. I thought it was really thorough with pretty much everything you need to know.
 
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DBC

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I accidentally made this second post and I have nothing extra to say and can’t figure out how to delete it. So sorry and listen to Motörhead.
 
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Against_The_Grain

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Would a decent Kity 623 or similar be enough for windows doors, skirtings etc?

A Kity 623 is a good machine, it's a lightweight machine compared to say a Sedgwick or Wadkin but it can still pack a punch with its little 2HP motor, in fact, it will run circles around pretty much any router table that's fitted with a supposed 3HP Router.
 

RobinBHM

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Many thanks for all the advice. Lots of food for thought. The Axminster course is a great idea, DBC, and I will definitely look into that.

I have watched a lot of YouTube videos of the moulder in action, and one in particular by a chap called Roy Sutton was very good and covered some of the basics. However, I am old enough to know that the appearance given by an experienced woodworker on a video can make things look much easier than they actually are!

It is clear from all of you that new tooling is the best way to go, and I think also that I will have to increase my budget. I do really enjoy woodworking and with about 40 years before retirement, I will get a lot out of the investment!

Power is also something I will have to look into. I had planned to make the windows out of Sapele or Douglas fir which will likely need more power I am thinking? 3 phase is an option I will look into.

One further question I have is about table size. I assume a bigger table makes for a more versatile machine? I have noticed that some of the larger machines seem to have quite a small usable table. Does this matter too much?

I have seen what looks to be a very nice SMC T100 with Samco power feed in good working order. It looks a powerful machine though it is only 2 speed. Quite how I would get it into my garage I am not sure! From all of your advice it would seem that this is the sort of machine to look at.
There is also a nice Wadkin, but for double the cost! I think 1K is a more realistic budget really.

As said, I have used a router table to make small casement windows which turned out ok, about a 7/10, they certainly were not perfect. I just found that precision was difficult to achieve and setting up etc. the whole thing took an age. With 2 large bay windows, and 10 7 foot high, 4.5 foot wide monsters to build I might lose the will to live with the router table! also I would like to have a go at dados and skirtings, fancy mouldings etc.

Of course that is not to say that router tables are not effective, but I also have to consider my lack of skill/knowledge.

Many thanks to all of you and in advance for any further advice, Jimbo
Have you looked on Facebook marketplace?

You will need a quite heavy duty spindle moulder with power feed to do the windows you want to make.

if you had the room I’d say get a Wadkin EQ, there’s a few on Facebook abd can be had from £700 - £1200 they weigh about 700kg mind you.

I currently use a Wadkin EP - even older that EQ, fences and rise and fall are absolutely rock solid and smooth.
 

RobinBHM

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A power feed is a pretty essential item for a spindle if running more than few bits.

making windows you will be running multiple passes on every part…power feeders are safer and give better finish
 

Doug71

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I had a little old Electra Beckum TF 100 for a couple of years, only a small, lightweight thing but it performed much better than I expected. The table was a bit small but power wise it was okay as long as you didn't get silly with it.

One thing to look out for is if the fences can be adjusted independently, in certain situations you don't want both fences in line and if they are one piece (my Electra Beckum was) it can be a pain to offset them as it means packings and false fences etc.
 

guineafowl21

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I started out with a little Charnwoond W060 2hp, with sliding table. It coped with pretty much anything I threw at it, including some 55mm deep, elaborate architrave mouldings, tenons, template work, T&G... No power feed, just me shoving it through, and some roller stands.

So in some ways, the machine is what you make of it. If you want to go for old/solid model there are lots of older SCMs, Wadkin EQs and BERs and Sedgwicks on the market. I went for a monster-sized Cooksley, which is like a Wadkin but without the cachet and price tag.

Look up Roy Sutton’s introduction to the spindle moulder, on Trevanion’s youtube channel for good advice and inspiration.
 

NoviceJimbo

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Thanks to you all for your advice it is much appreciated.
Thanks DBC for your time in giving such thorough advice. I did phone axminster today and unfortunately they are running no classes yet because of Covid. I think probably confidence does have something to do with it. i might have a look at local clubs for courses.

Regarding machines, I did see a good looking Wadkin EQ And a nice SCM with a Samco power feed. I am tempted by the 3ph machines but I am not quite sure how to manage the weight and get it into position! (My garage is up a narrow steep lane). I do like the look of the big chunky old beasts. I have only single phase at the moment. Definitely set now on getting a power feed.

I have seen a few single phase machines including a refurbshed wadkin BER 2. The only issue is I keep increasing the budget! Clearly single phase is an option, and it would mean not having to upgrade to 3 phase. However, I do seem to be gathering a growing collection of larger stuff, so maybe its worth it.

Good to know Roy Suttons video is thorough as I found it quite inspiring really.
Thanks RobinBHM, I had not thought of facebook, will have a look this evening.
Really I will have to jump in I think, make a decision and purchase something.

Thanks again to you all.
 

woodieallen

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Many thanks for all the advice. Lots of food for thought. The Axminster course is a great idea, DBC, and I will definitely look into that.

I have watched a lot of YouTube videos of the moulder in action, and one in particular by a chap called Roy Sutton was very good and covered some of the basics. However, I am old enough to know that the appearance given by an experienced woodworker on a video can make things look much easier than they actually are!

It is clear from all of you that new tooling is the best way to go, and I think also that I will have to increase my budget. I do really enjoy woodworking and with about 40 years before retirement, I will get a lot out of the investment!

Power is also something I will have to look into. I had planned to make the windows out of Sapele or Douglas fir which will likely need more power I am thinking? 3 phase is an option I will look into.

One further question I have is about table size. I assume a bigger table makes for a more versatile machine? I have noticed that some of the larger machines seem to have quite a small usable table. Does this matter too much?

I have seen what looks to be a very nice SMC T100 with Samco power feed in good working order. It looks a powerful machine though it is only 2 speed. Quite how I would get it into my garage I am not sure! From all of your advice it would seem that this is the sort of machine to look at.
There is also a nice Wadkin, but for double the cost! I think 1K is a more realistic budget really.

As said, I have used a router table to make small casement windows which turned out ok, about a 7/10, they certainly were not perfect. I just found that precision was difficult to achieve and setting up etc. the whole thing took an age. With 2 large bay windows, and 10 7 foot high, 4.5 foot wide monsters to build I might lose the will to live with the router table! also I would like to have a go at dados and skirtings, fancy mouldings etc.

Of course that is not to say that router tables are not effective, but I also have to consider my lack of skill/knowledge.

Many thanks to all of you and in advance for any further advice, Jimbo
No, you don't need a more powerful machine for those types of wood.

When you say size of table, are you referring to infeed/outfeed? Simple enough to make add-ons. A good sliding table is essential for scribing, say, the ends of rails etc.

Going on a course is essential IMO as it gives confidence and safety advice.
 

woodieallen

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Have you looked on Facebook marketplace?

You will need a quite heavy duty spindle moulder with power feed to do the windows you want to make.

if you had the room I’d say get a Wadkin EQ, there’s a few on Facebook abd can be had from £700 - £1200 they weigh about 700kg mind you.

I currently use a Wadkin EP - even older that EQ, fences and rise and fall are absolutely rock solid and smooth.
No you don't. I made a load of windows back in the day with a small Kity 636.

Power feed is ideal.

And look up 'false fences'....best advice my old boss ever gave me.
 

NoviceJimbo

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Thanks woodieallen, I do like the Kity machines as they will probably suit my smaller workshop better. By table size I just meant that it seems some large heavy duty machines seem to have quite a narrow table left after the fences depth wise. Also it does appear that a lot of those on ebay do not come with their sliding tables.

Lots of the YouTube vids have great looking add-ons as you advise. Yes, I think a course would help me a lot.
many thanks
 

NoviceJimbo

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Just to ask, you mention converters. Are these truly viable and relatively cheap if I purchased a larger older wadkin or similar 5hp sort?
 

Spectric

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What's wrong with a good old-fashioned Transwave rotary converter ?
Nothing in the day but now we have three phase power conversion with no moving parts and precise phase alignment without needing capacitors to adjust and then don't forget rotary convertors will consume power with no load connected.
 

Doug71

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I think the Holzman is the usual rebadged Chinese stuff, you will find the same machine in many different colours


 
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