Moulding Cutter


Grumbler in Training
Mar 4, 2005
Miami, FL
Hi Folks

I want to know what is a good molding cutter that will give you a perfect cut :confused: cause I doing it maunal cut but want to get something better and a bit faster..

I like my Pistorius saws. They are double bladed and cut very quickly and accurately. It is important to have a good dust collection system, and to keep the blades sharpened regularly.

You need to clarify what you are asking, and what your needs and requirements are.

To do this, first tell us about yourself. Meaning, is this a hobby, a profession, a side job, a new business, etc.

Secondly, tell us what kind of space you have, and what kind of system you need.

I'll get you started with the options:

A chopper is a set of fixed blades that, like a guiotine, is used to chop the mldg. The range from hand models, to foot operated models, to air driven.

A chop saw is like what you see a contracter use to cut lumber. It's a circualr saw on a pivot mount.

Then there is the double miter saw that is what Kevin is talking about. They will cut metal or wood. Very fast, and very well.

Now, another option you might even look into is buying your wood alread chopped. And then all you need to do is join it. (I can see the next thread now).

Another option is to even buy it chopped and joined. Some frameshops do this.
Robert, welcome to The Grumble, I am sure you will become a major contributor to this forum.

Hoffmann Machines sells a really swell saw that not only will cut both miters at the same time, it will rout the miters to accept the Hoffmann dovetail wedges. All you have to do is hammer the wedges in, and your frame is made. You can even forgo using glue if you like. Once the Hoffmann dovetail inserts are in the frame, it will not come apart. This system will give you perfect frames, every time. If I remember correctly, you can snap one of these bad boys up for around twenty five thousand.

If the Hoffmann system is a little too fast for your operation, you could consider a ten or twelve inch double miter saw from CTD Machines in Los Angeles, California. The man to talk to there about your cutting requirements is Larry. Larry will be able to advise you on what is best for you. He is a straight shooter and will not oversell you.

Please be clear about one major point. You can purchase the best saw in the world, but if you skimp on the blades, you may as well stick with your hand miter box.

A decent set of cut off blades will run you around two hundred and fifty dollars each blade. Listen to the people who supply your new machine about what is best for it. We have all learned the hard way about blades, save yourself some time and money, purchase the proper blades.

If your operation is manufacturing, you may want to look into some of the production joining machinery as well. Joining machines are like saws, they can start from a few thousand and go into the many thousands, depending on your needs.

Please let us know what type of saw you purchase, and how you like it once it is in production.

Robert, I apologize. I woke up this morning with a head cold, then, to add to that, I got out of bed on the wrong side. I was being a sarcastic *****.

Marc has it right, let us know what your needs really are. Sometimes you can even correct your existing equipment to solve your cutting problems. In your case, just adding a miter sander may solve your problem. We will not know for sure until we know the size of your operation.

Robert, don't let these guys intimidate you.

You can get a very serviceable saw and measuring bench for around $1500 - maybe less. Surely that is in the budget for any serious hobbyist.

You might spend several hours setting it up properly and it will require some regular adjustments to maintain accuracy. It won't be terribly fast but, if you are diligent, you can get perfect mitres with it. Just ask FramerGuy.

Plan on spending a couple hundred dollars each for a couple of good blades, though.

Then there's the matter of joining those frames . . .
I'm just working it part time to supply my brother store when he gets order for framing I have a chopper now but I'm not getting a even cut I make get two side that come out great and the other two I'll have a 1/8 grap so I have to fill it in with wood filler. Is there a way I can check if the blades are set right at 45 degree angle or can I adjust them?

The problem I'm really having is cutting it to the right size, I know you have to give about 1/8 for the rabbit space plus the size if the molding. What is the best way to measure to the correct size? Is there a chart on the net where I can get a copy of the differnce size of measurements??

P.S. Thanks for all the good information you all gave me I know I will get alot of ideas in this forum.

Take Care
You have to make sure your rabbit supports are adjusted exactly. You can not have any moulding movement whatsoever while you are chopping. You also may be trying to go through a cut all in one or two passes, this can cause the moulding to move slightly during the cut. Advance your blades slowly though the cut, taking smaller bites out with each cut. Your problem is moulding movement.

Your chopper should have a measuring scale, if it does not, contact the supplier or manufacturer and order one. Some of the older Morso and Jyden choppers had a kind of funny scale, can't recall how it worked. It was a little hard to use at first, once you got the hang of it, it worked just fine.

Thanks John,

Is that's why I get the tip chipped out sometimes?

Just wanted to make sure if I'm doing the measurment correct,, You have to add 1/8 for the size of the rabbit and also add the size of the molding to the size you have??

Let say I have a 16 X 20 I have to add 1/8 plus the size of the molding correct???

I think that is using one of the older choppers. I quit using choppers around twenty years ago. I'm 62, I can't remember how to work those old scales. I think you are close though.

We have four different saws that seem to handle every cutting need we have. I sold my last old chopper about five years ago. It had just been sitting there collecting rust, so I got rid of it.

There are probably some old married guys that will remember how it's done. Old married guys have better memories than old single guys. They have to practice remembering important dates and things all the time, to stay out of trouble. They are good at remembering things.

You've gotten some good advice here--particularly John's guidance on the correlation between memory and maritial status. It sounds like you're immediate issue may be resolved if you had some type of production stop. If you are about 1/8 inch out you might be able to help yourself a little by using some type of stop so you are at least consistent in the size of you frame legs. Beyond that, I'm having a hard time remembering who told you what at the start of this thread.
We use a Morso chopper and it cuts with a 1/8 inch a 16 x 20 is a 16 1/8 by 20 1/8...we don't do a special allowance for it..we just know that's what it does ....if we order chopped they have a 1/8 inch allowance..not sure allowance is the right word...but anyway that's what it does

What about the size of the molding I have molding that are 1 1/2 thick don't you add that to the 1/8 for the rabbit size?

If not I think it will come out to short.....

Put some mldg in your chopper.

Cut a 12 x 12 frame. Meaning, line the rabbet up on 12, and cut. Do this 4 times.


Now measure how big the opening is.

Is it 12? Is it bigger? Is it smaller?
If the moulding's not a'rocking then the blades are not sharp enough.
Originally posted by Robert08:
Let say I have a 16 X 20 I have to add 1/8 plus the size of the molding correct???
If you are measuring the outside (longest dimension) of the moulding you need to add 2 x the width at the back + allowance (usually 1/8) to your dimension. For instance, a moulding with a 1-1/2" face and a 1/4" wide rabbet would be 1-1/4" at the back. 2 x 1-1/4, +1/8 = 2-5/8. So the outside dimension of a 16" rail will measure 18-5/8.

However, most scales are made so that you can measure to the inside of the rabbet (where the glass and mat will sit) and all you need to add is the allowance. If your scale is a bunch of lines at a 45° on the flat part of your fence, that is the way it is meant to work. If you want, you can still use the outside measurement method with that type of scale, but there is no need to.

I tried drawing an ASCII picture to try and explain it, but TG deletes multiple "Space"s.
I use a Delta miter saw, so I can't comment on the chopper discussion, but in addition to the above excellent advice, I would recommend a mitre sander to correct any small imperfections in the cuts. Makes for 4 nice tight corners.
Robert, I may have gotten in over my head...Dad does the chopping anyway..but the rabbet measurement is what he uses and we end up with 1/8 inch again 16 x 20 becomes a 16 1/8 by 20 1/8 (rabbet dimension) i am confused
I am curious as to where you got the idea that the 1/8" allowance is there for the rabbet?? It is calculated into or added to the overall dimensions of the matboards/backing board for expansion and contraction ie., movement of the paper contents of the frame package and has not much to do with the rabbet as far as I am aware. So, if your matboard and or backing board measures 16 x 20, you would chop your frame to 16 1/8 x 20 1/8 and the extra 1/8" simply gives the mats and backing some wiggle room as the environmental changes occur in the room where the framing hangs. this allowance is usually built into the calibrations of the chopper or saws so the actual settings would simply be 16" and 20" and the saw or chopper does the rest.

The rabbet is gonna wind up right next to the frame moulding no matter how large or small you chop the frame or how much allowance you figure into the measurements.