At times I need to get solid wood dimension ed. I need 90 degree angles. A planer with straight knives will most often tear out wood. My wide belt sander is difficult to use on narrow edges. A table saw leaves saw kerfs. My joiner is also prone to leaves tear outs. If I want to produce large quantities of solid wood parts with a square flat edge that would be ready for a finish, what would you suggest I do. Is a shaper a good option with a straight bit? Also out of curiosity, before electricity was this accomplished with hand planes? I'm assuming so, and if so, what type of hand plane? Would the planers with the new style multi tooth heads produce a surface ready for a finish?
Gotcha, the different lengths would make it more difficult. Another way to approach it if there's not too much of a difference in length would be using a caul on the outer edges that's a little longer than the longest stock you're running, slightly thinner in width and using something along the lines of all thread with a nut and washer on the ends that can be slid into notches at the end of the cauls and tensioned with a wing nut. If you're running batches the same width you wouldn't have to move the wing nut much to tension and release.
Mitch Suber frequents the forum and runs a shutter business so he regularly deals with narrow stock. Would be interesting to hear his thoughts and methods.
A fine S4S machine that has a jointer infeed table and fence, and will easily produce excellent quality squared stock at 25' per min all day, every day. Change the dimensions by push button or cranking heads to digital readouts. The first piece is perfect. So is the last. Can do T&G, some light molding, as versatile as you can get.
We all use our machinery in different ways depending on what we produce and what's the most efficient/effective way to get from point A to B. I use my shaper for a lot of different tasks, others set them up for dedicated cuts.
The benefit of an outboard fence is it's a simple setup that you can build or buy and when used with a feeder is pretty efficient for spitting out dimensioned parts with a rebate head. For tear out prone woods you can climb cut or try the spiral heads.
To give you an idea here's a link to one Aigner makes. There's also many variations of shop made versions that are far less expensive.
Think it through. Don't let the initial cost make you rule it out without consideration. I never considered one until I really needed it. By then, I had already 'bought' 2-3 of them, but I just did not have the machines. I would think you can get a used Quattro for less than 10K.
If it saves you 1 hr per day over your current methods, and your shop rate is $85 per, you save enough to buy two of them at 10K. Plus having a better product that may require less work down the line. Plus it is so fast and easy, we used if for one part at a time all the time. The 24" Italian planer was gathering dust, while the Quattromat just kept on humming.
I agree with the other comments as well. Worth considering the cost of sourcing the parts or adding a moulder vs making them in house with your current setup. There's always ways to work with existing machinery to create parts, but it's not always the best solution.
What species are you running? High figured? You do know how to read the grain right? Saying your planer and joiner most often have chipout says to me you may need to tune up the machinery, or there is an operator error.
I've been very successful over the years with a jointer, been woodworking for over 44 years. Smooth yes, ready to finish no. You will see knife marks off every machine, even off a high speed shaper or molding machine. Everything needs to be hit with sandpaper, except work from a master with a hand plane and card scraper.
I also clean edges on my jointer. The bulk work gets done on the big jointer, but I leave the smaller 8" just for cleaning up edges before gluing or whatever. If you have reasonably sharp knives set correctly you should be able to get a nice clean edge in most woods except maybe highly figured or something just prone to tearing out.
As a small shop this works for me as I have nowhere near the volume or space to ever justify a molder. And I don't like buying stock pre milled as you don't have the flexibility for straightening and matching grain the same way you do as when you mill yourself. Of course this wouldn't work so well in a higher volume shop;>)
For large quantities you need a Moulder machine, do all the faces in one pass, when you try to use several machine to accomplish what you want is very difficult to get all the parts exactly the same and square, for a great finish you can use one spiral head for rough cutting and a straight knife in the second head for finish, the time you save and the quality of your product is worth the money.
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