Shop Fox has made some major changes to its planer/molder combination machine, and the new offering from Woodstock International, model W1812, features a 7" square cutterhead that accepts molding knives with a variety of sizes and profiles. The machine has a planing capacity of 7" wide and accepts material up to 7-1/2" high. When used as a molder, the unit handles profiles up to 6-3/4" wide with a maximum cutting depth of 3/4".
“The W1812 predecessor was so popular we decided to put serious effort into making our planer/molder the absolute best on the market,” says Bill Crofutt, Shop Fox quality control manager. “We added cast-iron extension tables to both infeed and outfeed, T-slots in the table, extra-rigid dovetailed ways for elevation support, doubled the feed motor horsepower, beefed up the drive gears and have a new heavy-duty, variable-speed controller. We even added sealed ball bearings to support both ends of the drive rollers where normally a bushing is used.”
The machine is powered by a 2-hp single-phase motor, and a separate 1/4-hp motor controls the variable feed speed. The 1-1/4" diameter square cutterhead accommodates two HSS knives that provide a range of 64 to 260 cuts per inch. Conversion from a planer to a molder is simple. The planer knives are removed and the molding knives are installed by being bolted to the square sides of the cutterhead. The guide rails are then set, the height is set automatically, and the molder is ready to cut.
“The machine uses a square cutterhead that has a ‘lip’ on it where the knives set,” Crofutt explains. “The knives are bolted to the square sides of the cutterhead instead of, as in most planers, sitting in a groove and held in place with gibs. This type of head automatically sets the height and the knives are self-aligning, making installation very easy. The knives are the same as used by a few other molder/planer manufacturers making a huge selection of knives readily available on top of the rather extensive line offered by Shop Fox. Plus, there are many services that will custom-grind to your specifications.”
The machine has two electronic controls; on/off buttons for the planer motor and a variable-speed control dial for the feed motor. There is one scale on the side of the planer that shows the height of the knives in relation to the table for planing applications.
“Since molding knife profiles are so radically different from one to another, the scale has a pointer and a large range of movement,” adds Crofutt. “Further, there is a graduated dial on the handwheel — every five lines equals 1/64", every 10, 1/32", and so on — making for incredibly precise depth of cut adjustments.”
The cutterhead assembly moves up and down on dovetailed ways, a method more commonly used in jointers and shapers. Dovetailed ways are usually reserved for applications requiring a great deal of strength and accuracy such as milling machines and metal lathes, notes Crofutt.
“We found the two-column original design [on the previous machine] a little lacking in rigidity. Because of our experience with industrial woodworking and metal working machines, we decided to make a major design change and use the dovetail ways. Using dovetails is not only stronger, but it allows for adjustment to eliminate any play. With columns, that is not really feasible. Basically, the head is captured between two horizontal ‘V’ grooves that contain a gib that allows to adjust out all play. These grooves are several inches long, adding much more support than offered by the previous column design.”
The Shop Fox variable speed planer/molder, model W1812, from Woodstock International, is priced at $1,495.
Contact: Woodstock International Inc., P.O. Box 2309, Bellingham, WA 98227. Tel: 800-840-8420. www.shopfox.biz
This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue.