Clear the decks - Planer/molders

Article Index
Clear the decks
Robland NLX31
For more information
All Pages

In essence, machines such as the above let you flatten one face of a board, then flip the jointer table up, and plane the other side for the greatest parallel accuracy. Grizzly also offers a 10" 2-1/2-hp model.

Another combo or multi-tool example, the Shop Fox W1812 planer/molder, has just about everything you’ll want for a moderately powered molding machine, with an open side that allows for molding elliptical work. Maximum width of the molding is 7", which is also the maximum width of the planer. (For more information, please see the story on Page 22.)

Obviously, these machines won’t take over full-duty planing and probably not all your molding needs. But for smaller shops, and start-up shops, there’s not much better. The 2-hp unit offers variable feed rates, guide rails that ride in T slots for easy adjustment, a 3/4" single pass molding depth, and a good series of cutterhead knives. The base is a single piece cabinet and the shipping weight is 324 lbs.

This open-sided planer/molder design first appeared on the woodworking scene in 1954 from Williams & Hussey Machine Co. Inc., a small New Hampshire company. It was without serious rivals until its patents ran out. Now the W&H and the Shop Fox often go head to head. They are both worth checking out. They are solid machines, both offering the possibility of doing curved and elliptical molding with ease.

European pattern machines
Actually, jointer/planers are also a European innovation, too. Both Felder and Laguna distribute several of each. The European combo tool then goes on into more complex tools that are usually heavier and cost more but provide just about every tool a small shop needs, including table saws with scoring blades and sliding tables, as well as mortisers and shapers.

The primary brands available in the U.S. today are Felder and Laguna. Laguna also brings in Robland, another high-end combo machine (the top Robland carried by Laguna costs more than $13,000).

We’ll emphasize Felder and Laguna here, as those are the brands with the widest range of offerings that may be of use in cabinet and furniture shops.

Laguna’s Platinum 12" 5 function

Laguna’s Platinum 12" is a five-function combination machine, including a 10" table saw with a scoring blade and a sliding table; 12" planer and jointer; shaper; and mortiser. It features three single-phase, 3-hp, 220-volt motors.

The scoring blade is 80mm (3.1"), while the sliding table is large enough to allow crosscutting a full sheet of plywood (maximum crosscut is 60"). Depth of cut is 3" max.

The jointer uses the same 70 carbide-tipped knives in Laguna’s Shear-Tec cutterhead to do its work. The table is 55" long. The shaper has a 3/4" spindle, while the mortiser features a 20" x 8" table. Overall machine weight is 1,600 lbs. This is not quite a full shop behemoth, but it is one hefty machine and needs its own operating area without infringement from other tools or assembly areas.