4-Head or 5-Head Moulder?

      A 5-head or even a 6-head moulder is more versatile and produces better quality. November 8, 2007

I currently buy around 200,000 feet per year of white pine in 4 different profiles, all small sizes (under 3") like the one shown in the photo. I have no experience running a moulding machine, so I am seeking advice on a good entry level moulder. I've come across a 4 head planer/moulder made by Logosol and am wondering if this would be the right machine for my business. I've heard that a minimum of 5 heads are required to obtain good results - is this correct?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor J:
You're right. You will get a better finish with a 5 head moulder. A 4 head planer/moulder is capable of the profile in your photo, and with a softwood like that, the finish would probably be just fine. However, a 5 head would be so much more versatile. I would highly recommend pricing out the difference between the two. If you can swing it, I would go with a 5 head. Do your homework. There are a lot of 4 head machines that are very user friendly and that might be all you need.

From contributor D:
I agree with contributor J about the five head moulder. One thing to remember (I learned this the hard way) is that a moulder without a straight line rip saw is like a car with no wheels. Looks and sounds nice, but doesn't go very fast.

From Dave Rankin, forum technical advisor:
As a general rule, a fifth head has its benefits. One thing that must be considered is your available power source. If you have the available power and the additional funds, a 5 or even 6 head machine may be a better choice. For example, a good used 5 or 6 head moulder can be purchased from auction or many dealers for under $15,000.

The other thing to consider is the tooling. With certain machines you may be limited to tooling sources. The most common tools used for most moulders will be corrugated knives or insert tools. Some smaller machines require the use of knife stock that is only available with a limited range of quality. Also consider your potential growth. A 5 head machine may allow you to grow in areas yet untapped.

From contributor C:
I would think for the quantities you are moving, a moulder is a good, simple, profitable machine for you. A five head is really preferred - 4's are great to S4S, but profiling is less than ideal.

However, one of the contributors raised a good point - without a straight-line or gang rip, the moulder is not terribly efficient. Your supplier may be able to supply you pre-ripped blanks, or another supplier may have them. For the quantity you need, someone should be happy to get you what you need, at least for the short term.

And tooling can add up quickly. The nice thing about your product is it is small, so you can run insert heads and knives, which are more initially, but cheaper in the long run, and can reduce setup time dramatically.

And one other thing to consider that I'm fighting almost constantly: dust collection. Even small moulders can bury you in dust pretty quickly, so be sure to plan for adequate waste handling.

From contributor V:
I can't give any input on a 5 or 6 head moulder because I have never used one. I do have a PH260 that I use on hardwoods and I am very satisfied. It is simple to set up and operate. You can get any knife profile you want custom ground.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: General

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article