What can I get for my money - or what should I get


Dec 8, 2004
Rogers, AR
Hello all. I'm moving on up and want to start cutting & joining my own moulding. I've had a local shop do this for me since I have been extreme low volume. Has anyone purchased from pictureframingsupplies.com or framingequipment.com? Is there more used equipment sold the first of the year?
With my limited budget of $2,000 I figure I could get what I need by buying used. Any suggestions? I don't think I'll ever be joining more than 5 to 10 frames per day but I am picky on quality. I would like equipment that can do the job right & easily. Suggestions on best equipment for the price?
Morso chopper with a couple of good sets of blades can be had between $900-$1,400... depending on who is selling and how desperate they are.

A Cassese foot powered under-pinner can be had [when you can find them] from $500-$800, for pnumatic [810] in "servicable" condition.. $600-900.

Put the word out and wait... don't just jump, and you might have enough left over for a new set of blades or a years supply of V-nails.
pictureframingsupplies.com (a NC based company) advertises the INMES manual joiner for around $500 new.

With your budget, I would look at one of these really hard and a good used Morso chopper.

United has the AMP VN-M manual joiner for just over $1000. That is definitely a good investment. You could literally use an AMP VN-M and a Morso for your entire career.
I saw that one for the $500 range and was interested but do you know anyone who has used it? When I first started out I bought one of those Logan Studio Joiners for $100. That thing went up on ebay really fast after a few "frames".
Can the Morso cut compo frames well?
Kathy, The Morso can only cut compo if the compo is on wood. The Compo on metal frames, [especially compo on steel] cause a very bad shear-stutter..and a poor join... that's assuming that you could get a second cut out of the broken blades...

but seriously.. compo? Sure. But try to hold it down to a dull roar... compo is a stone, and dulls shearing knives and chop saw blades equally fast.

The secret is taking a few larger cuts, then 2-3 small finishing chops. But as soon as the back sides start to get a little ragged... change your blades..

DO NOT get them hollow ground on a circler wheel... then need to be ground by a flat bed stoning grinder... at a 30degree angle...

Hollow ground makes for a 20 degree micro edge that crushes and dulls very fast.
Hey K-Cat
I am in a similar place. See my post (Cutting mats, buying scales, and starting out.) mentioned at the link below.
(I hope that link works. If not just look on the grumble for Cutting mats, buying scales, and starting out.)

I have the Inmes manual joiner. Got mine from Blue Ridge Moulding in Roanoke, VA. www.blueridgemoulding.com or call Steve Marcus at 1-800-329-2763. Please mention me if you do it might help my relation with them. I placed an order for moulding and he sold me the Inmes for less then 500 new. So far Blue Ridge Moulding has been real honest and fair, a pleasure to do business with and it is possible to "deal" with Steve.

I have joined over 275 frames now with the Inmes (most of these have been during the last month as I get ready to open a frame shop) and have had no problems. I am on my 3rd box of 1650 v-nails and have had maybe 3 or 4 give me problems. I might have been to blame for rushing and moved or done something wrong. Anyway each was an easy fix and while I never used anything else, I am very happy with my Inmes manual joiner. I never really timed it but with the moulding cut at my side I can join several frames a minute and they all come out looking real good, tight and square.

After I get the frame shop opened at that location, I do not expect a real lot of volume as that town is the county seat but still only has a little more than 2000 people. I live in an unincorporated part of the next county and our largest town and county seat is even smaller. I is a 1 & 1/2 hour drive to the nearest mall in another state etc. So for me the Inmes will be a good fit. Possibly in a larger area it would not do.

As for a saw see my info mentioned above else where on the grumble. I will probably buy the Clearmount scales in the near future after I do a little more investigation.

While I got a $600.00 DeWalt 12" sliding bevel miter saw (To also build my house) it is very much over kill for framing. There are many less expensive saws that would do a real good job. With one of these and with the clearmount scales and Inmes manual joiner you can have everything new for about 1000.00.

Hope this helps!
AC Mach
Originally posted by AC Mach:
While I got a $600.00 DeWalt 12" sliding bevel miter saw (To also build my house) it is very much over kill for framing. There are many less expensive saws that would do a real good job. AC Mach
I want to add my 2 cents here. I would be very careful skimping on cutting devices. When I purchased my shop it came with 2 piece of garbage mitre saws. I invested in new blades and they still cut crappy corners. I upgraded to the Phadera system and still got crappy cuts.(wasn't Phadera systems fault)I finally got smart and chucked the whole thing and found a used Brevetti mitre saw that set me back $1,500. It is worth every penny I spent on it. If you go with the non-industry mitre saws like Dewalt I would get 2 so you don't have to constantly switch the blade back and forth. The noise those things make and the dust they spew is a huge drawback also.

It was an expensive lesson I learned. The Phadera fence, blades and additional saw set me back over 1K and I still got lousy cuts. I have not been able to afford to buy brand spanking new either. Just be careful where you skimp it will slow down your progress and make your job a lot tougher.
I love how people buy those construction site tools and think they can do brain surgery also.... :D

No one, no manufacture, no person outside the industry has invented anything that was an improvement that cost more than $300.

Not DeWalt [I have a 12"], not Delta [had a 10" sliding compound], nor Powermatic....

Buy a Morso, and you'll never regret it.

And when the power goes out for days... you're still chopping frames, and joining on you foot powered v-nailer.

I have thought many years about a 100% Solar Powered Frame Shop...
Hey Kathy and Baer,
I actually agree with your comments. However, both K-Cat and I have specified a limit (at least at this time) with both money and work. If I could afford it and if I had the volume of work I would be looking for something other than either the saw or the v-nailer I have. Also I agree why buy something that you would be unhappy with till you finally get something better. Most times it is better to wait till you can afford the better tool unless you can do okay with the lesser item. In my case I was buying the "construction" saw anyway so until volume of work and money change it is doing fine.

I also realize that many others are using either the Pheadra or the Clearmount with a "construction" saw like DeWalt or Makita and are also doing fine. In fact Clearmount sells the Makita with their scales. I made my comment about the more expensive 12" sliding saw as the features are not needed and can cause problems. I have the sliding rail tightened down so it won't slide. Also the compund miter feature can cause problems and make lousy cuts unless it is acurately squared. So a cheaper saw without either of those features will prevent problems and save money.

So I appreciate your comments and when I can afford or need something better in the future I will be considering the Morso,
AC Mach
Thanks for all the recommendations! For me, I have to go with something that doesn't create saw dust. So that option is out. But thanks for the suggestion. I'm still waiting on some quotes on new equipment. Are these high - Morso-F $2490 Morso-F Deluxe $2895 And is it worth going up to the deluxe? I figured I would start with getting quotes on new so I could work backwards and know what to expect and to look for on used.
Looks to be most manual underpinners are $1300 range. Any brand people like the best?
Mitre-Mite Manual V-Nailer with extender wings for $850 used (according to the owner it was hardly ever used) and one year old. For those of you who purchased used equipment and needed it shipped how did you make sure you were not being took? She is home based and doesn't take credit cards but could do paypal. Wondering if paypal is an option - I've heard some bad things about them when it comes to disputes. I'm thinking this might be a pass on by because of this issue - also is it a good deal at $850?
Thanks so much!
Hi Kathy,

$850 is a good price for the Mitre-Mite Manual V-Nailer with extender wings. I bought the same one at the NYC show in February for about $1000 without the wings.

I looked at the INMES v-nailer as well and it didn't seem as "rugged" as the ITW-AMP products which is why I went with ITW. I think the resale value may be better on ITW too. I believe most people using manual v-nailers have low volume or use it in addition to a pneumatic.

The shipping is expensive on these though since it weighs over 100 lbs. so you'll need to factor that into the price.

I personally opted not to get both a saw and a v-nailer right now and just order everything chopped. I didn't want to store all the extra moulding and deal with higher shipping costs for the low amount of volume I have. Because of this, I have to rely on the vendor to give me good chops and have had to send some back but most are pretty good.

If you decide to buy new, definitely buy these at a trade show to get better savings.

Good luck! :D
Because of this, I have to rely on the vendor to give me good chops and have had to send some back but most are pretty good.
A good alternative might be to spend a little on a good mitre sander and let the vendors do the chopping. Saves on storage space, full stick minimums etc. and with a couple of turns with the sander, perfect mitres. Then you can spend the cash that you were going to spend on cutting equipment on getting a quality v-nailer that will give you perfect corners.

Just my 2 cents.
K-Cat, I would highly recommend the Jyden chopper. It is essentially the same as the Morso, and built like a tank. Mine is about 35 years old and still perfect. That's a good price. Treat it well and you'll have it for your whole career.
Thanks everyone! I've decided to continue to buy chops for the time being and get the best quality underpinner I can afford - I have $2,000 set aside for this and will be buying a new unit so it is under warranty. Then get my cutter in a couple of months. Any suggestions on underpinners? Does United have the best prices?
Originally posted by K-Cat:
Oh also is the Jyden chopper for $800 a good deal or something to pass on http://www.pictureframingequipment.com/moulding.htm
Even if it comes with no blades thats a GREAT price. Make sure it works smoothly... but never use oil on it... just rub it down with a pencil or buy a tube of graphite.

There is ONE lube fitting...if you lube it three times in your whole career... it's to much.


In 1970 I was chopping on a Jyden that had a production date of 1921... they still have the same chopper...even after the thing broke my leg.