|Home » Forums » Cabinetmaking » Message||Login|
You are not logged in. Consider these WOODWEB Member advantages:
Small molders, Williams & Hussey, Shop Fox6/14
Anyone here ever used both the Williams and Hussey.... and the Shop Fox 7" molders?
We are considering buying one or the other for making basic crown and baseboard. We would be making maybe 15 sticks a week (8') of crown and baseboard (added together).
Their specs are similar but the shop fox appears to be a bit more rigid of a machine.
Other than the cost, how do they compare? How quick is blade changing? For basic crown on 4/4 maple, how many passes do they require?
We have had the Williams & Hussey for about 10 years. I have never used to to run corwn but we run a lot of smaller molding on it and it works great. Williams & Hussey is also great at matching profiles. We created some of our own moldings by running different passes with different shaper cutters. We will then mail a piece to them and within 2 weeks have a set of matching knives.
We've had two of the general international versions and had so much trouble I sent them both back and got a used WH and run miles of custom molding on it. As far as knife change and setup they are the same though. The reason I got the general was for the variable speed which I can get for the WH as an add on, just haven't gotten around to it.
I've run thousands of feet through my W&H. Moldings as small as 3/4" wide or as large as 6 1/2". With the wider moldings it's essential that you have the variable speed kit. Same thing with running maple, the standard speed of 19 fpm is just to fast if you want to only take 1 or 2 passes.
Usually with any molding I like to take two passes. The first pass take most of the profile down and the second is just a skim of 10 or 15 thou. Or course it matters on the wood, the molding size, and the profile. If one end of the profile is much taller than the other, multiple passes can be troublesome because the hold down wheels can keep it pushed down to the table and you can get chatter.
I have the variable speed kit and the elliptical guide. Been using the same machine for 2 decades and never really had any issues with the machine. I did have the variable speed puke it gear oil out and still don't know why it happened. But it still works.
Great machine for non production.
Id go with either the Mikron 652 or the US Concepts. I had a W&H it was ok but nothing like these machines. I have the 652 with router now. Never look back.
Excellent feedback guys, thanks for the input. I will consider the Williams and Hussey more seriously for sure.
Dom, what advantage does the Mirkon have over the Williams and Hussey?
Specifically what problems did you have with the General molders?
Like Leo I've used a W&H for 20 years. Primarily for curved work. Straight runs to match the curves. We run longer runs of molding on shapers. The feed speeds are way faster.
My major complaint with the W&H is it took them forever to improve the machine. They were the exact same machine from the 1950's until 2005, when they finally got variable speed drive.
The casting is tiny and could easily be improved.(we have modified ours over the years to have large tables and a few other mods for speed of setup.
Both of the newer versions General & Shopfox look like better machines. They have made improvements. They cost 40% less.
The major concern I have is the same one I have with all import machines. The bearings and motors. The W&H uses super high speed bearings that seem to last forever. Its been a mystery to me why they do last. Imports are known for having bearing problems. Every Import I've owned had bearings replaced after a few years with Japanese or US bearings. The little molder bearing are a bit different than most. It is a known fact that China specifically cannot make high quality ball bearings.
You've got a 2hp import motor(read the Powermatic thread a week ago). You've also got a 1/8 hp DC variable speed motor. Obvious concerns about that one, because its rare.
In summary, until somebody else(with a name and phone number) runs a ShopFox or General for 5 years without having to service either of the motors or bearings. Stay away.
If you don't have the coin, try to find a used W&H. You will get some knives and a machine that will last more or less forever.
You have to be careful with multiple passes on moldings with sharp points. If your stock is not straight, and hangs up, you'll go through feed rollers quickly. If there is a lot of material to be removed, I run the stock through the table saw with a dado head to hog off stock and run in one pass. You have to baby sit the stock anyway, because it can still hang up during running. I only have Williams and Hussey machine experience, can't help with others. I won't buy any Grizzly/Shop Fox machine after a bad experience.
I have one of the older machines. It's painted grey. I still have the original rollers on it and they are in fair shape now. Never had any issues with moldings that have corners.
Good forum, I was looking at a used W&H in my area, I think it is older than 2006, not sure how to find out the year. I was wondering could you wire in a variable speed switch or is that a bad idea? The other question I have is can you use it for all types of material, like MDF as an example? What should a used one cost ballpark? thanks.
We have had a Shop Fox with variable speed for 4 years or so. We have had no issues. We run 200 - 300 feet per month of crown/base etc.
I am sure that the overall quality of the electrical components, castings etc., are better with the WH, but the Shop Fox makes quality moldings.
Either way you go, you absolutely have to have the variable speed feed. You will not be happy with out it when running large patterns, or difficult woods like hard maple or hickory.
Adam- the gears in the powerfeed destroyed themselves after about 20' several times and after rebuilding it each time with the parts they sent I finally gave up on it.
I can appreciate your reasoning.
Its possible on the older Hussey's to break one of the feed gears. Its a crude safety feature so you don't break the machine.
I wouldn't exactly call it breaking the gear. Stripping it would be a more exacting term. I've done it twice. Then I bought the electronic variable speed. I still have the old transmission up on a shelf somewhere. And yes, the gear is still stripped.
To be clear- this wasn't stripping a drift pin so the gear spun free - this was a gear completely disenagrating. I suspect they all came from a bad batch at the factory but I didn't want to mess around with it any more.
Consider the very limited power available on those machines. The result is very slow or multiple pass machining. Makes for some expensive moldings!
Any other option is 3x-6x more in price.
This is not for production. It's for short runs for custom molding.
W&H "molders" are not really molders, they are more like horizontal shapers. A molder finishes all 4 sides in one pass. Another cost, material prep time, involved with the W&H type. Can be done, just slow/labor consuming. A lot of shop tool purchases come down to capital expenditure VS labor VS buy out. Someone should make a machine similar to the W&H but with a 1 1/4" spindle, 5hp, a better feed system but not as complicated as a US Concepts. Something similar used to be called a "Buck" shaper.
You just described a Woodmaster planer/molder. We have one of those as well.
I've got an 18" one. Its setup with (1) 8" 2 knife corrugated head and (2) 1 1/2" 2 knife heads. That's on the shaft at the same time.
We use it for making crown. The 8" head handles anything you would want to make. I have the back relief cutters in the smaller heads. They are adjustable up and down the shaft for different width crowns. I've got both the 38/52 and 45/45. The bedboard is adjustable.
It works really well. People laugh at these machines. But if you are smart, plenty of money can be made. The big shop I trained at was using big shapers and doing the relief cuts on a ts. My way is better & safer. Variable speed gets you whatever cut you want. The Woodmasters rollers have tons of pressure.
We use the shapers for everything else. The Hussey is still used for curves.
I have the W&H with vari feed. It is enough molder for me. I do wish it came with a cabinet style base for knife storage but i added in sides and a door on mine. Only for my good customers who dont mind paying for the custom knives and what it takes to get the job done. I have taken some pretty deep cuts and i have been really suprised at how well it does. Yea i have bought molding from a big shop with the real big weinig molders and its always pretty wavy unless they happened to feed in some flat boards. So i prefer to s4s my own blanks first that way i know its nice and straight.
I too have a W and H. Had it for about 8 years or so. Added the variable speed about 6 months ago and it's awesome. There are bigger and more productive machines that's been mentioned but I'd imagine at a much larger price. I think it's all about how much molding you're going to run.
I have two W&H and it is a great little machine. The Mikron appears to be a great machine but also 6x the cost.
You can pick up a micron for the price of a good used shaper. You just need to look around. Ive seen them here on WW for $5,000. But they go quick.