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Molding Safety
Molder Knives
Molding Operations

Molding (continued)
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Molding Operations

Warning: Since many molder operations are best done by providing bearing surface close to the cutting area, the first thing you need to do is makearip fence extension.

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Figure 5-10. Construction details of the rip fence extension. if you counterbore for the bolt heads on both sides of the fence, you'll be able to attach it on either side of the rip fence for use on the left or right side of the table. Click on image for larger view.

Construction details of the fence extension are shown in Figure 5-10. If the holes for the bolts are counterbored on each side of the fence, you can secure it to either side of the rip fence, so you will be able to work with the fence on the left or right side of the table. Warning: Never position a feather board over the molder head. Position feather boards in front of or behind the molder head.

To make the arched relief area for the knives, mount the set of knives you are going to use in the molder head and, with the worktable elevated above the accessory, lock the fence so the knives will cut most of their width into the fence extension. Turn on the ma-chine and very, very slowly lower the table until the knives have formed an arch the maximum depth needed.

Molder cuts remove a lot of material, so passes should be made slowly, allowing the knives to cut without choking. A slow pass also results in smoother cuts, since the knives will be working longer on any given area of the wood. Make very deep cuts in stages, lowering the table or adjusting the fence position after each pass until the full cut depth or width is reached. Some warning signs that indicate you are cutting too deeply or too fast include rough cuts, the molder slowing, and the work beginning to chatter.

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Figure 5-11. This is how to handle cuts on stock edges. Keep work flat and snug against the fenc. Make the pass slowly.

Cuts that are made on stock edges are handled as shown in Figure 5-11. Smoother shapes result when you place the stock so you are cutting with the grain of the wood. This isn't always possible, so when you must work against the grain, feed the work even more slowly than usual.


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Figure 5-12. Cross-grain cuts or cuts on stock ends are done this way. The miter gauge holds the stock square to the fence; the safety grip keeps the stock secure.

Cuts made on stock ends can be held securely when you work with the miter gauge and safety grip (Figure 5-12). Warning: Use the miter gauge with safety grip to hold stock less than 10" wide. It is difficult and unsafe to try to handhold such work.

Cuts that are made across the grain will always have slight imperfections at the end of the cut. To compensate, slow down when near the end of a cut or work with stock that is slightly wider than you need. A trim cut, made by ripping or jointing, can then bring the stock to correct width while removing the flaw.

When a project component requires that adjacent edges or all four edges of the piece be molded, make the cross-grain cuts first. The final cuts, made with the grain direction, will remove those slight imperfections that are characteristic at the end of cross-grain cuts.

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Figure 5-13. Work this way when you need many similar pieces of slim molding.

Slim Moldings

If you need a single piece of narrow molding, it is safer to form the shape on a piece of wide stock that you can safely handle and then rip to remove the shaped edge. If many similar narrow pieces are needed, you should organize for the operation as shown in Figure 5-13.

Pre-cut workpieces to size on the table saw. The feather boards are positioned to suit the height and width of the workpieces. The best procedure is to push the workpieces at the infeed end without allowing the workpiece to stop. Warning: Use a small piece of scrap to push the workpiece past the cutter. Support long pieces with a roller stand.


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Figure 5-14. Surface cuts are done in routine fashion; but be careful with settings so cut spacing will be correct. The feather board helps to keep the work flat on the table.

Surface Molding

One facet of woodworking that nearly always requires working with the molder head accessory is making decorative cuts on stock surfaces (Figure 5-14). The operation doesn't differ from usual procedures; it's the spacing of the cuts that is critical. Good work results when you are careful when making and changing settings.


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Figure 5-15. Surface-molded stock can be strip-cut to produce interesting moldings.

Surface-molded pieces can be used as is, as decorative inset panels in furniture projects, or they can be the base material for fancy moldings. Once the surface molding is finished, the work can be strip-cut into wide or narrow pieces (Figure 5-15).

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Figure 5-16. Examples of surface-molded pieces. When cuts cross, make those that are across the grain very slowly. They will require some sanding to make them as smooth as with-the-grain cuts.

Other examples of surface-molded pieces are shown in Figures 5-16 and 5-17. Those in the latter photo were done with a set of 90° Vee-knives.

Remember, when you make cuts that cross each other, make the cross-grain cuts first, and make them very slowly. Even so, they will not be as smooth as those made with the grain. A light sanding of the cross-grain cut surfaces will improve them.

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Figure 5-17. These attractive, faceted panels, which can be used as insets in furniture projects, were surface molded with 90° Vee-knives.


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Figure 5-18. Jointer knives can be used for joinery. Here, the operation results in a rabbet cut. Because of the width of the knife being used (1"), the rabbet can be formed to easily accommodate 3/4" stock.

Forming Joints
When the molder head is equipped with 1" jointer knives, you can use it for joinery. For example, you can cut a rabbet (Figure 5-18) by holding the work flat on the table and moving it slowly and steadily throughout the pass. To form a tongue, just cut back-to-back rabbets (Figure 5-19). Other molder knife profiles are used to produce joints; among them are the glue joint cutter and the tongue-and-groove set.


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Figure 5-19. A tongue is the result when back-to-back rabbets are cut on the same edge of the stock.

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