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Advice? Might get a Morso EH (electric/hydrolic)

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ryantischerphoto

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I'm thinking about getting a Morso EH, the electric & hydrolic model that's fully automated. Does anyone have experience with this model? Any advice on what to look for before buying a used model?

Since I started making my own frames in 2009 I've used a chop saw w/ measuring fence set-up, which has served me well, but I'm thinking about an upgrade. Mostly, I'm tired of the dust/noise and the fact that with my current set-up, even though I have two saws locked in at 45 degrees, I still need to do significant sanding on the wider frames to get good joins.

I've heard that with the guillotine choppers like the Morso you rarely need to sand the joints to get a perfect join. Is this the case, even with the less forgiving smooth/flat profiles that are less forgiving of small gaps? What if there's a slight curve or warping on the moulding?

Also, I've heard the choppers don't work well on compo/gesso frames. I've mostly gotten away from those now anyway, but you never know what a customer may want. (I just opened a landscape photography art gallery and do my own framing, so not primarily a custom framer, meaning I can almost always choose my own frame options that are framer friendly/cost-effective and only offer those to my customers).

Do choppers work well on float frames? Any moulding shapes that they don't work on? I cut a lot of stretcher bars for gallery wrapping canvas and imagine a morso should work just fine for that. Also, does anyone have experience cutting 90 degree chops with them? They say they'll do that as well, which I need for making cross bar supports on my larger canvases.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
 

CB Art & Framing

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I would not.
A good quality fixed double miter saw with good blades will serve you much better.
CTD is my pick or used Pistorius.
Quinn for blades.
I worked for a company that had 2 of those (auto choppers) and they both ended up in the dumpster.
 

tedh

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Random thoughts from a low-volume framer:

You don't need a Morso for stretcher bars. A chop saw is way faster.

Think about a pneumatic Morso. Mine has been great. Bought it old and used in 1995, and it just keeps on going.

For plastics, I use a DeWalt with a 60-tooth non-melt blade.

For very smooth-surfaced moldings, it's the Morso every time.

For ornate and moldings with detail on top, a two-saw Dewalt setup.

For linen liners, the Morso.

For floaters, or front-loaders, either is OK
 
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neilframer

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I would not.
A good quality fixed double miter saw with good blades will serve you much better.
CTD is my pick or used Pistorius.
Quinn for blades.
I worked for a company that had 2 of those (auto choppers) and they both ended up in the dumpster.

I agree except maybe for throwing the choppers in the dumpster...:eek:
(I've only used manual choppers)
Random thoughts from a low-volume framer:
You don't need a Morso for stretcher bars. A chop saw is way faster.
Think about a pneumatic Morso. Mine has been great. Bought it old and used in 1995, and it just keeps on going.
For plastics, I use a DeWalt with a 60-tooth non-melt blade.
For very smooth-surfaced moldings, it's the Morso every time.
For ornate and moldings with detail on top, a two-saw Dewalt setup.
For linen liners, the Morso.
For floaters, or front-loaders, either is OK

I also agree with this, especially using a Morso to cut liners and simple, smooth mouldings.
There are just some mouldings that the Morso cuts very clean and tru and some that will chip and break out when chopped.
Mouldings that have a curved or beveled back, ones with a lot of gesso, etc.
My favorite set-up was this from about 8 years ago.
This was the shop for a very high end custom framing business.
Morso chopper right next to a CTD D45AX pneumatic double mitre saw with Quinn blades.
The best of both worlds for me.
If I had to choose just one, I would take the saw.
You can just see my dog's butt at the bottom of the picture next to the garbage can...:p
P2140289.JPG
 
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IFGL

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We have a Hanson chopper and a casses 939 double maitre saw, we only use the Hanson for mount fillets since we got the saw! I did cut many thousands of frames with our chopper, in fact I wore one out that I purchased from new 20 years ago, and believe me that is an achievement :).
 
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Prospero

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If I understand correctly you have two chop saws - one for each end of the rail. (?)

I have a similar setup. One thing you can do to true-up the angles is to slightly tweak one of the saws
by skewing it slightly. A similar procedure to tweaking the left-hand fence on a chopper. The bolts that
hold down the one-piece fence on a saw will have a bit of play in them if you slacken them. Also the whole saw
itself can be twisted slightly on the bench. (Hope you have both saws firmly fixed down). I not talking huge
movements here - just a very small gnat's whisker. Any tiny alteration in the angle will be x4 in the frame.
To calibrate it properly you need to get some wide flat timber and do a few test cuts. Cut 4 pieces as if you were
making a frame and fit them together 'dry'. Three corners will fit nicely because the ends are free. It's the last corner
where any inaccuracies will manifest themselves. You may have a gap on the inside or outside. Tweak one saw and
test again. If the gap diminishes you are going the right way. If the gap switches from inside to outside you
have tweaked too far. It's a tedious process but worth taking time to do. Once you have it cracked tighten all the bolts/screws
down firmly and you should be good to go.

My setup does surprisingly true angles. I say surprisingly because it was a home-made lash-up. But the whole thing cost
about 5% of a big double mitre saw.

shed13_007.jpg


The Morso does win out over a saw on several levels. No dust no noise. On <2" mouldings with no undercuts. When it comes
to the big stuff Morsoing can be a bit tedious and time consuming. A 3" moulding might need 5-6 bites. Mouldings with undercut
backs will chip out to a greater or lesser extent depending on the grain direction. A lot of far-Eastern mouldings have thick coatings
of very hard stuff (I wouldn't term it gesso). Morsos don't like these mouldings. They can chip very badly and also dull your Morso
blades after a few cuts. Duller the blades the more chip-outs.
 

Jim Miller

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A chopper is a wonderful tool if you are cutting good mouldings. However, most of the moderately-priced mouldings we have to work with these days are sticks of junk wood covered with something like very brittle gesso. On some mouldings it is difficult to get clean cuts even with a saw and sharp blades, and a chopper chips the edges terribly.

Nothing against choppers, but count me among the saw advocates.
 

Joe B

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I would not.
A good quality fixed double miter saw with good blades will serve you much better.
CTD is my pick or used Pistorius.
Quinn for blades.
I worked for a company that had 2 of those (auto choppers) and they both ended up in the dumpster.

I use a chopper on about 80% of my frames and I will put my corners up against anybodies that use a saw. The trick is to have sharp blades - I change out my blades when I start getting the least amount of chipping which is usually 100 of the decorator frames and about triple that with natural woods. I use a Frame Square Saw for all of the mouldings that I cannot chop (to wide or high for the chopper). I get about the same amount of frames from a saw blade sharpening as I do from a knives sharpening. I really like my saw but the biggest problem is that I have a small shop and cannot have the sawdust floating around. I don't care what kind of dust collector you have, unless you spend a fortune, you will have dust floating around in a small shop. My saw is set up in a separate building which takes time to go to and time is money especially at this time of year. I have zero dust with the Morso which is set up in my shop.

I would not purchase a Morso EH model because I like to adjust the speed that the blade comes down. With the EH model you cannot adjust that speed, at least not that I know of. Some mouldings require a little fineness when chopping and the faster speed can actually crush the moulding at the start of the cut. I believe the EH model is best for unfinished wood that you will be doing a finish sanding and painting after the frame is together.

A chopper is a wonderful tool if you are cutting good mouldings. However, most of the moderately-priced mouldings we have to work with these days are sticks of junk wood covered with something like very brittle gesso. On some mouldings it is difficult to get clean cuts even with a saw and sharp blades, and a chopper chips the edges terribly.
Nothing against choppers, but count me among the saw advocates.

I agree with everything that Jim is saying about the quality of the moulding we have been getting the past few years. I don't totally agree with Jim's statement about the "chopper chips the edges terribly" - I would totally agree with Jim only if he stated that the dull knives on the chopper cause terrible chipping. I have actually found that the chopper will give a cleaner cut than a saw when chopping/cutting poor quality moulding if you have sharp knives on. A chopper with sharp knives is coming down at a slight angle and cutting evenly without a blade rotation/vibration that a saw has. I find that I can get chip outs on the bottom corner at the fence with this junk moulding we are now getting. I use a piece of 2 ply mat board between the fence and moulding before chopping, that pretty much alleviates the bottom corner chip-out because you are not cutting with the very tip of the knives. I have very few chip outs but I probably change out my knives quicker than a lot of other framers, most framers probably think I switch them out to soon.

Anyway, everybody is going to have their opinion of saw versus chopper. I like them both and if I could I would have both set up in my shop if somehow I could keep the dust from floating around with the saw. But this is just my opinion. Joe
 
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David Waldmann

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With the EH model you cannot adjust that speed, at least not that I know of.

This is the main reason we did not "upgrade" to an EH. They do have an optional add-on to control the speed and/or size of "bite" but it was an extra $1800 IIRC about about a dozen years ago and just made the total cost too much. Plus not really knowing if it would be the "answer" - foot control is just so nice; every chop is different and you adjust how you're cutting without even thinking about it. A machine has to be told what to do.
 

IFGL

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I use a chopper on about 80% of my frames and I will put my corners up against anybodies that use a saw. The trick is to have sharp blades - I change out my blades when I start getting the least amount of chipping which is usually 100 of the decorator frames and about triple that with natural woods. I use a Frame Square Saw for all of the mouldings that I cannot chop (to wide or high for the chopper). I get about the same amount of frames from a saw blade sharpening as I do from a knives sharpening. I really like my saw but the biggest problem is that I have a small shop and cannot have the sawdust floating around. I don't care what kind of dust collector you have, unless you spend a fortune, you will have dust floating around in a small shop. My saw is set up in a separate building which takes time to go to and time is money especially at this time of year. I have zero dust with the Morso which is set up in my shop.

I would not purchase a Morso EH model because I like to adjust the speed that the blade comes down. With the EH model you cannot adjust that speed, at least not that I know of. Some mouldings require a little fineness when chopping and the faster speed can actually crush the moulding at the start of the cut. I believe the EH model is best for unfinished wood that you will be doing a finish sanding and painting after the frame is together.



I agree with everything that Jim is saying about the quality of the moulding we have been getting the past few years. I don't totally agree with Jim's statement about the "chopper chips the edges terribly" - I would totally agree with Jim only if he stated that the dull knives on the chopper cause terrible chipping. I have actually found that the chopper will give a cleaner cut than a saw when chopping/cutting poor quality moulding if you have sharp knives on. A chopper with sharp knives is coming down at a slight angle and cutting evenly without a blade rotation/vibration that a saw has. I find that I can get chip outs on the bottom corner at the fence with this junk moulding we are now getting. I use a piece of 2 ply mat board between the fence and moulding before chopping, that pretty much alleviates the bottom corner chip-out because you are not cutting with the very tip of the knives. I have very few chip outs but I probably change out my knives quicker than a lot of other framers, most framers probably think I switch them out to soon.

Anyway, everybody is going to have their opinion of saw versus chopper. I like them both and if I could I would have both set up in my shop if somehow I could keep the dust from floating around with the saw. But this is just my opinion. Joe
I used to change the blades on our Hanson every two weeks we had eight sets in rotation, that was roughly 250 to 300 frames of mixed type, we could have let them go much longer but like you I believe sharp blades save much hassle, we had a well known tutor telling us we were doing something wrong if the blades needed changing so often, I would rather know my blades are sharp.
 
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David Waldmann

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Cutting only nice hardwoods with clean finishes, we typically get 1000-1200 frames per set. That's with factory spec blades sharpened by Tech Mark.
 

IFGL

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Cutting only nice hardwoods with clean finishes, we typically get 1000-1200 frames per set. That's with factory spec blades sharpened by Tech Mark.
I would assume it would be around that, we decided to start changing every two weeks because that way we knew the blades would always be razor sharp, this was on a Monday morning, we would also clean and lubricate the machines, we cut all kinds of moulding including thick gesso and so on, lots of oak too, it is interesting that 1000 - 1200 is the number you come up with, that's about what we get with the saw before the blades are changed.

Oh yeah and it was only £8 to have them sharpened with no carraige to pay as it was on a weekly van service, so it made sense.
 

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Oh yeah and it was only £8 to have them sharpened with no carraige to pay as it was on a weekly van service, so it made sense.

That is well worth it. Costs us about $55 US including shipping both ways.
 

Prospero

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I wouldn't use a motorised Morso unless there was a very sound reason for ding so. You can't beat
a bit of bio-feedback. I like to feel what's going on with my feet. I use a manual pinner for the same reason.
The more complicated, the more to go wrong.

A mate of mine has a motormorso, but he has a leg missing. o_O
 
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David Waldmann

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I wouldn't use a motorised Morso unless there was a very sound reason for ding so. You can't beat
a bit of bio-feedback. I like to feel what's going on with my feet. I use a manual pinner for the same reason.
The more complicated, the more to go wrong.

That's the word I was looking for. Yes.

A mate of mine has a motormorso, but he has a leg missing. o_O

Don't you only need one leg to operate a Morso? ;)
 
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