Question Revamping my shop - looking for equipment recommendations

nico.leslie

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I am in the process of completely revamping my frame shop. Just for a little background, I spent many years working in a frame shop where I didn't have to do any cutting/joining (I ordered joined frames) and I now work for an artist framing her work exclusively, and I build the frames from scratch. I currently use just a regular Dewalt miter saw to cut the wood, and a Thumbnail Master router and thumbnails to join.

I am looking to get a double miter saw cutter and an underpinner to replace my current set up, preferably both pneumatic. Since I'm not familiar with these machines, I'm not sure which brands are best as far as quality, ease of use, support when needed, etc. So far I've looked at Fletcher and Cassese. I don't need the best of the best, top of the line, all automatic type things. I cut basically two mouldings, and my most used moulding is 2.75" deep. My shop is also not huge, so I'm looking for a modest foot print.

Any recommendations on machines you use and like will be greatly appreciated. Also approximate costs would be helpful, as none of these sites have prices displayed, and I'm still waiting for responses on my inquiries. Thank you so much for your advice!
 

wpfay

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Hi nico.leslie, welcome to the G!

The easy answer is to get another DeWalt that matches your existing one, lock in one at left and one right, both at 45 degrees, and attach that to a Clearmount (new) or Phaedra (used) measuring bench. Upgrade your blades (general consensus here favors Quinn blades) and spend some time dialing in/tweaking the miter saws. This kind of setup can also be connected to a dust collection system. Footprint would be a little more than what you currently use. A double miter saw would be a lot more. They both take up a lot of linear space with infeed and outfeed, but the stationary saws take up more square footage on the floor. The Clearmount/Phaedra option is primarily a benchtop model, so the space below them is free for storage.

If you are regularly joining 2.75" tall mouldings, you may want to consider a Hoffmann dovetail joining machine. They are perfect for tall, relatively narrow mouldings, though they do work on about all of them. Hoffmann is a sponsor of the Grumble, but I would be advocating for them regardless. The Hoffmann machines and v-nailers take up about the same space. The Hoffmanns work better with dust extraction.
 

Ylva

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Hi Nico,
Welcome to the G!

I use the equivalent of the clearmount system and am quite happy with that set up. I have a designated saw room, which is about 4 feet wide and 20 feet long.
As for underpinners: I love my Cassese CS89. I bought it new and paid about $2200 for it, in 2008
No idea what the current price would be, and you might be able to pick up something used. You can always post in the commercial section as a Want To Buy.
 

Nikodeumus

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I am in the process of completely revamping my frame shop. Just for a little background, I spent many years working in a frame shop where I didn't have to do any cutting/joining (I ordered joined frames) and I now work for an artist framing her work exclusively, and I build the frames from scratch. I currently use just a regular Dewalt miter saw to cut the wood, and a Thumbnail Master router and thumbnails to join.

I am looking to get a double miter saw cutter and an underpinner to replace my current set up, preferably both pneumatic. Since I'm not familiar with these machines, I'm not sure which brands are best as far as quality, ease of use, support when needed, etc. So far I've looked at Fletcher and Cassese. I don't need the best of the best, top of the line, all automatic type things. I cut basically two mouldings, and my most used moulding is 2.75" deep. My shop is also not huge, so I'm looking for a modest foot print.

Any recommendations on machines you use and like will be greatly appreciated. Also approximate costs would be helpful, as none of these sites have prices displayed, and I'm still waiting for responses on my inquiries. Thank you so much for your advice!
I use an older model CTD double mitre saw. It's a big beast, and very relieable. It akes up a fair bit of floor space, might be overkill if you aren't doing a lot of production or don't have much space.
I also have a Cassese CS89 under pinner. It works great too, rarely any issues.

To get an idea of pricing used equipment check out:

There are plenty of threads on The Grumble regarding pneumatic tools of the trade.
Here's just a few:

Use the Search function to look for more information.

This is THE place to learn about the industry.
 

nico.leslie

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Hi nico.leslie, welcome to the G!

The easy answer is to get another DeWalt that matches your existing one, lock in one at left and one right, both at 45 degrees, and attach that to a Clearmount (new) or Phaedra (used) measuring bench. Upgrade your blades (general consensus here favors Quinn blades) and spend some time dialing in/tweaking the miter saws. This kind of setup can also be connected to a dust collection system. Footprint would be a little more than what you currently use. A double miter saw would be a lot more. They both take up a lot of linear space with infeed and outfeed, but the stationary saws take up more square footage on the floor. The Clearmount/Phaedra option is primarily a benchtop model, so the space below them is free for storage.

If you are regularly joining 2.75" tall mouldings, you may want to consider a Hoffmann dovetail joining machine. They are perfect for tall, relatively narrow mouldings, though they do work on about all of them. Hoffmann is a sponsor of the Grumble, but I would be advocating for them regardless. The Hoffmann machines and v-nailers take up about the same space. The Hoffmanns work better with dust extraction.
Thanks for your input! The double DeWalt saws idea is an interesting one. The main issue there, which I forgot to mention this in my original post, is that currently I'm working out of two separate spaces. One is strictly a wood shop, where the saw and thumbnail router are, and the other is the main shop where I do the rest of the finishing work. The spaces are across town from each other (a long and complicated story there) so we're looking to improve efficiency by condensing everything into the one main space. Even with a shop vac connected to my current miter saw, it still makes a huge mess, which wouldn't work in the main space. I like the idea of a machine that manages the mess, though I still expect there to be some dust that escapes. The Cassese CS940 looks pretty compact, at just under 30" deep, so I'm thinking that might be a good fit. The length won't be a problem either. Now, I don't control the purse strings, so if the cost is a no-go, we might be buying another miter saw for now!

I am intrigued by the Hoffmann system. I came across it some time ago (probably while I was lurking on here) and I thought it was interesting. My current router also makes mess, even with a shop vac contected to it. I like the way the Hoffman is designed to route from the bottom, which seems like it would keep the dust from flying all over the place. I see some models have a built in dust collection port to connect a vacuum to, but I wonder if something like the X-20 would contain the dust well enough. Definitely something I'm going to look into more. Thank you again for your advice!
 
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nico.leslie

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The Cassese CS89 seems like a popular model, I've come across it in other threads too. Those of you who use that (or similar) how do you find it holds up to deeper mouldings? My primary stock is 2.75" deep. Looking on the Cassese website, their deepest v-nail is about 1/2". Is it possible to stack more than 2 v-nails? Or do they come any deeper? I frame some pretty large pieces, so I worry about the strength of the join over time. I started the day thinking an underpinner was the way to go because of the speed, but I'm starting to lean toward the Hoffmann for my particular need. I also like that I won't have much of a learning curve, since I'm already using a similar system. Definitely still open to any other thoughts or suggestions. Thanks everyone!
 

wpfay

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I think max v-nail length is 15mm, at least it is with my machine. Two stacked is only about 1 1/8".

The issue with stacking more than 2 is the single beveled edge of the v-nail causing the v-nail to curve toward the outside of the moulding as it is pushed in. This helps to draw the joint together, but can also result in a blowout.

The 3 series Hoffmann machines have a downdraft dust port that keeps the bed and fence amazingly clean. I have the MU3-D model hitched to a DeWalt vacuum and that works very nice. The smaller model Hoffmann machines don't have a dedicated dust port as far as I know.

Any double miter saw will have to have a much more robust vacuum system for the dust ports to be effective. I have a 2 hp Grizzley (210V) double bag dust collection attached to my Brevetti saw and it still is a bit underpowered to get all the dust created. Saw cabinets have lots of openings in them that allow for lower vacuum efficiencies. Between the saw and the vacuum system, ear protection is necessary.

What may work best for you in the instance of having to combine the two shop spaces is a chopper. It is quiet and clean, and properly sharpened blades deliver excellent results. Much smaller footprint than a double miter saw.

If you can, post a photo of the primary moulding you are using. That might provide some information about the best path to go down in looking for a mitering machine.
 
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Rick Granick

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What may work best for you in the instance of having to combine the two shop spaces is a chopper. It is quiet and clean, and properly sharpened blades deliver excellent results. Much smaller footprint than a double miter saw.

If you can, post a photo of the primary moulding you are using. That might provide some information about the best path to go down in looking for a mitering machine.
I love my Jyden chopper, but it isn't great with some of today's mouldings that have thick, brittle gesso layers which can crumble when cut. With nice sharp blades it is fine for most "normal" mouldings though, as long as the wood isn't rock-hard.
 

nico.leslie

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If you can, post a photo of the primary moulding you are using. That might provide some information about the best path to go down in looking for a mitering machine.
Here's my primary moulding, it's poplar. I'm still learning about wood types, but I think it's a somewhat soft hardwood (please correct me if I'm wrong here.)

I like the idea of a chopper, for the quieter operation, less mess, and not having to have a special outlet put in like I would for a double miter saw, but I am worried that I'm not going to be strong enough to handle a foot-operated guillotine type chopper. I see there are hydraulic options (I came across Morso) but those are quite expensive. But for all I know the double miter saws are even more. I'm having trouble finding pricing for any of the models I'm looking at. I'm going to continue researching, and all your input has been immensely helpful!
 

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Vermont Hardwoods solid wood picture frame molding

wpfay

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Maybe David from Vermont Hardwoods will chime in. He uses choppers exclusively to cut all of his chops. They are all hardwoods.

This profile is made to be joined by a Hoffmann dovetailer. The 3 series machine would handle this profile easily.
 
Vermont Hardwoods solid wood picture frame molding
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