Choosing tooling for MDF moulding

Using carbide tooling on MDF in planer/moulder machines. November 21, 2000

Does anyone have experience (or opinions) with manufacturing MDF mouldings on either the Woodmaster or RBI multipurpose planer/moulder type of machines? These are essentially 20" single head planers with steel profiled cutterhead capability. I understand that the formeldahyde in MDF is hard on HSS tooling, and don't know if carbide is an option for these types of machines. I will be creating custom millwork basically, and not planning to run high production for resale.

Forum Responses
You will need carbide to run MDF moulding. We grind steel knives for the Woodmaster and Foley-Belsaw type moulders and have never received a request for carbide tooling.

On occasion we have made small amounts of MDF trim with a like machine, but the cutters take a bad beating and need sharpening before they are used for solid again.

MDF requires the use of carbide knives for most runs. I have run some short runs in MDF with specially coated steel. This requires that you have the ability to grind the tools in house. If you do not have that ability then the use of carbide is the best option.

If your machine requires special mounting design, then contact a tooling company and see if they will prepare carbide tools for your machine. Some machines require knives with specific hole locations drilled into the steel. If your machine requires this then the tool will be a custom carbide tool.

Dave Rankin, forum technical advisor