I want to create my own mouldings ...


Apr 27, 2003
I WANT TO CREAT MY OWN MOULDINGS ... I have read on Grumble that many of you have used SHAPERS before to achieve this. I was all set to purchase one from grizzly.com but came across this Planer/Moulder from Woodmaster tools. Take a quick look at: www.woodmastertools.com/s/molding.cfm Has anybody ever used this machine? Don't want to make wrong purchase. (Photo of machine at bottom) All tips on setting up to run my own moulding would be appreciated.

ALSO ... I would like to experiment with gluing various species of hardwoods together, such as walnut & maple, and running them through a Shaper or Moulder. Has anybody ever tried this before? How did it work out? Tips? Does the wood ever become de-laminated? Does the glue chip the moulding knives?

I know that it might not be that cost effective to create my own moulding but I really NEED to create profiles and wood combinations that do not exist elsewhere. I am a photographer / graphic artist and I only build picture frames for my own purposes. Thanks to all of you who have helped me in the past. I have learned a lot through this forum.

Len Brewer

Hey Katman, give the guy a break! It is cold and snowy here in Colorado, we gotta have something to do with all our time indoors.

Glad to see another Colorado Grumbler Len. There are only a couple of us. Please don't do anything unusual, stupid or behave wacked in any way. I want to make sure the state appears to have "balance". Whatever the heck that means......

I'm sure you will get an answer to your question, just not from me. Good luck!
I did that when I first began framing; lots of work but profitable if you have a lot of time on your hands. Gave it up when I moved to a storefront location; not time to do fun things. My best to your efforts; it is very creative and you feel good about your efforts.

Jack Cee
I have a shaper . . . in my basement . . . in the box. It's been there for 3-4 years. One of the reasons I bought it was because I'd already lost part of a finger to a moulding head on a table saw.

I was all set to do some serious work with it when I ran across a post by JRB describing some safety precautions for shaper-use. It started with something like, "Build a cinderblock bunker and line it with 1/4" steel plates."

Now I'm afraid to even read the manual.
I was sooooo elated to see Emibub on Ron's thread about the invisible thread I started to reply and suggest she look up Len here. Then I looked here and she is here!! Everywhere...it must be a Colorado thing.

Len, Emibub was commenting recently about some mouldings so maybe you can make some for her, too. I know you must be a very patient individual to want to make your own mouldings. That attitude will serve you well in your dealings with Emibub.

You do have to learn to roll your eyes and probably learn how to recite the alphabet--backwards. Takes longer than counting to 10.

BTW, grizzly has pretty good tools.
We own a Woodmaster. We use it for only special projects. We used to do a bunch of different moudings. We use it for one artist now. She needed a unfinished moulding in a special shape. It has paid for it self many times with just her work.
It is great for house mouldings also.
Originally posted by katman:
That attitude will serve you well in your dealings with Emibub.

You do have to learn to roll your eyes and probably learn how to recite the alphabet--backwards. Takes longer than counting to 10.
Forewarned is forearmed if you ask me.....zyxwvutsr, oops sorry, it is you that is supposed to count to 10, D'oh!
I would do a price comparison with a really good spindle shaper from someone like Powermatic. If you are going to be doing small mill runs it might be more adaptable and versatile. Despite what Ron says, they can be operated safely, especially if you spring for a power feed mechanism. Also look at the peripheral tools you will need when milling your own mouldings, jointer plane, surface plane, rip saw, dust collection system, OSHA approved finishing booth, HASMAT approval for using and disposing of solvents. (this depends on how involved you want to get in the production).
And if you are going to invest in a machine to make money with, go to a trade show and look at your options and get the very best tool you can afford. There is a huge woodworkers show in Atlanta every year, and I'm sure that if you visit a local cabinet shop you can find out about one in your area.
As far as milling laminated woods. Each variety of wood has peculiar grain and density, thus different depth of cut and feed rates through milling machinery(especially machinery that is not industrial grade). If you laminate two pieces of wood with vastly different qualities you risk compounding what otherwise is a somewhat easy task. Combining them is not impossible, but a good working knowledge of the properties of each separate species you plan to use is probably a good idea.
I get a few profiles run off.You can get a toolmaker to make the shape of router bit that you need no problem at all.It doesnt cost that much either.Some of the profiles will take a few router bits to make the shape you want but its not that horrendously expensive to set up.

I tend to make copies of old frames that I have seen as some of the shapes were a lot more interesting than you see nowadays.
You might want to check out the William and Hussey moulder too: William and Hussey It's pretty popular in the woodworking trade. It can even do curves, in case you ever wanted to do an archtop frame.

If I read well your situation, you need to have maximum design freedom to produce short runs of various types of molding. Then you need a strong router and a bunch of router bits. Advantages:
a) You can set the router under, above or laterally to the working table and rout the wood under any possible angle.
b) You can use the router as a large chisel if hold in your hands, which means that hand carved and hand made molding look is also at your finger tips.
c) By altering bits and depths of cutting, you can achieve any profile you can dream of in one or many runs.
d) Undercut profiles are not denied to you.
e) You can produce any shape molding, not just the straight one.
f) It doesn’t take much room
g) Small investment (under 1 G for a router, bits, table and accessories) and you are in business.
It is not very fast, but you may soon find that your market is not all that large as imagined or that many players are already playing the game better, faster and cheaper than you are.

Woodmaster’s main advantage is its higher capacity but, unless you go for thousands of ft of molding/day, there are more to be concerned with than eased with; Another plus: you're having a sort of shaper, a planer and a sender under the same hood, but you are not likely to enjoy much flat sending anyway. Then note these:
a) It mills only straight moldings
b) no undercuts
c) maximum 1” depth of cut in one single pass only (too shallow for larger moldings)
d) no multiple passes possible
e) one angle of cutting
f) bulky, takes a lot of room.
g) expensive machine and accessories
h) making many different knives for that machine is a very expensive proposition
i) that machine is powered by a huge electric motor. Unless you mill 3-4 sticks at the same time (which is the economic way of using it) you’ll be burning and paying for 5kwh any time you start that machine.

I give it to you that Woodmaster is a seductive tool to own, but not to begin with it.

[ 02-05-2004, 07:43 PM: Message edited by: American Choice ]
I'd take a good look at the entire Grizzly line. They have everything from production capacity tools to amateur woodworkers power tools.

They have a 1.5 hp spindle shaper that would probably take good care of your need. Reasonably priced. They also have a "minerature shaper", just a router permanantly mounted underneath a table. Very nice for smaller volume stuff. Uses standard router bits.

I have several Grizzly tools in my wood shop, and have been happy with all of them! Good luck, and let us know what you decide!!
Unless you're an accomplished shaper man, stay away from then. We have a shaper and a feeder (I'd only use a shaper with a feeder) but we don't make moulding with it.

The best machine for small runs of moulding is the Williams and Hussy; the knives can be changed in under 5 minutes and are readily available from most knife grinders. I like Moore Profiles. We use ours mostly for liner stock and stretcher stock. You'll also need a good table saw, at least an 8" jointer and a planer to make moulding. Those pieces of moulding coming out of that Woodmaster were blanks going in and you need the table saw, jointer and planer to make 'um. I just checked our inventory progran and find we made 2500' of 1 1/2" stretcher stock last year.

I forgot to mention, you'll also need a good dust collection system for the jointer, planer and especially, the moulder. Chips not swept away immediately will get caught under the moulder's knives and emboss the moulding.

Take a look at our web site and give me a call if you really want to go into making moulding. Warren
i just get the tools made and get a carpenter to run of the moulding for me.That way you can have an exclusive pattern if you want.

William and Hussey machine is a sturdy but smaller planer and molding making machine. It has only two lateral columns for gliding its cutter head up and down , both on its right side. That allows for accessories that will help you produce arched molding as well. Yet one needs to be an accomplished wood worker in order to join those arches together into a round or oval frame.
1. As a planer W&H’s widest cut is just 6" where Woodmaster's smallest machine planes 17" wide boards.
2. As a molding making machine, W&H takes one set of knives (mills 1 profile/1 length at a time) where Woodmasters can have 3 or four cutting heads and therefore cut that much more in one pass.
3. Woodmaster can turn into a gang saw or a drum sander. W&H can't do it.
4. Woodmaster's maximum depth of cut is 1 1/4 inch. W&H maximum depth of cut is just 3/4", insufficient for large or deep moldings
5. W&H machine costs more than half of what you pay for a Woodmaster.
6. W&H is simpler and very strong machine. A machine that performs too many different tasks is that much more complicated and less reliable.
7. No undercuts with either machine are possible
8. No “second chance” available in either case. Your molding must be the result of a single knife cut, in one single shot.
9. W&H takes less room than Woodmaster.
10. Woodmaster comes with a stand and is ready for work. W&H (if I am not mistakening) does not. At least I had to build a solid stand for it.
11. One profile, one legth at a time, Woodmaster is a much stronger machine than W&S and your molding won't get stuck in the midle of being milled and will have smoother finish in the end.

Those two machines work on same principles. The possibility of making curved molding is a clear plus for W&H. But it stays no competition with Woodmaster on "straight molding competition" lane and its price is rather high. However, I shouldn't be complaining about W&H's high price, and I don't. More than that, I paid it and am not sorry. But I bought it mainly for its unique ability to produce curved molding, which I guess it is of less importance in your case.

[ 02-07-2004, 12:44 AM: Message edited by: American Choice ]
BIG THANKS to all of you who have taken the time to provide such insightful advice.

Through this forum and from talking to numerous machine manufacturers I have arrived at the final conclusions:

1) Shapers are dangerous to use and inadequate for my needs. They have been ruled out as a possibilty.

2) I have narrowed my choices down to the Williams & Hussey and the Woodmaster molders. It seems that most picture framers like the W&H Molder while most fine woodworkers, like those who post at www.woodweb.com, seem to prefer the Woodmaster. Since I am involved in picture framing, I will give more credence to their opinion.

3) W&H and Woodmaster are sending me videos and literature. I will review these items and make my final decision then.

4) In the meanwhile, I need to build 125 shadowboxes for retail displays and cannot wait to become proficient at running one of these machines. I will build frame stock from oak and maple that I purchase from Home Depot and maybe dress up the profile a bit with a Molding Head on my table saw. (Thanks for the tip Warren)
a close family relative

I was thinking about giving PB&H a call

[ 02-07-2004, 08:38 PM: Message edited by: lessafinger ]
Significantly, Less, it's the middle finger of the right hand that's truncated.

Now, when I flip somebody off, they just look perplexed.
Just another option, and much less dangerous. I'm sure someone like Picture Woods (or one of several manufacturers of picture frame moulding or architectural moulding) would be pleased to run a raw profile for you. The general guidelines are: 1. knives/templates will cost about $350-400 depending on size. 2. Runs will need to be at least 1,000 feet to justify setting up the moulding machine. The manufacturer will likely pass along a set-up/running fee and/or wood costs (unless you supply the wood). Obviously, you'll own the knives, so the cost of the second run and future runs will be much less.

You can certainly try gluing up different species of woods to achieve the look you're trying to get, but be aware that different species will react to environmental conditions differently, causing cracks, separation, etc, but the wood will be less likely to warp. In general, the yield will decrease, but it would be a great look. At Ivy, we tried matching cherry with poplar, maple, walnut, etc. The results were mixed and the ratios of one wood to another are important to keep structural consistency.

Anyway, good luck and be safe. Oh, and a final thought, don't forget about sanding. The small shapers and moulders make several sandings necessary.
See, Earlydreams, why have I told you to go for a router? For each profile you dream of you'll be pocketing out a few hundred dollars. For the price you pay for one such knife you buy yourself 10-12 very good router bits and are free to permutate, change angles, depths and run the wood as many times as needed through your machine. I guess that you have more time than money to spend. And I also guess that you want to be creative, not to run same profile molding by miles
If so, you are going to waste good money on buying W&H or Woodmaster and much more than that on knives.

[ 02-13-2004, 03:05 AM: Message edited by: American Choice ]