Training for a Moulder Operator

Hands-on professional training is vital for anyone setting out to operate ond of these complicated and powerful machines. May 12, 2005

The company I work for recently purchased a used Weinig Profimat 23 6 head moulder. We make cabinets and interiors, and we do the solid wood parts with jointers, planers, saws, shapers, etc. The idea is to eventually replace one set of those machines with the moulder, and today I learned that I might be running it soon.

We hired a moulder operator and knife grinder guy well before the machine was ordered, but it sounds like he's onto a new job that may be inside, or even outside, of the company when the used moulder is up and running. Now that Iím tagged as a future moulder operator and knife grinder guy, could you suggest a few books on the subject that would help me hit the ground running?

I donít know the names of parts of the machine. I donít understand how it can straighten a piece of warped stock. I have a better idea of how knife grinding works, never having seen a knife grinder, than how a moulder functions. I assume I have the basic woodworking theory to make this machine work with a little training, or I wouldnít have been tapped on the shoulder. However, Iím feeling a little lost, and Iím looking for professional guidance.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor R:
Contact Woodtech Tooling for lessons! Not something you should try without proper guidance. The money spent on training will be worth it. Far better to learn it properly than to be self-taught and make the mistakes the hard way. It's also important to learn the proper terminology so you can communicate with a tech for troubleshooting. Nothing more frustrating than having someone talking about the "whatzit" acting up. If your bosses are too cheap to pay for the training, then they deserve all the problems they will have.

From contributor J:
I agree - this is not a toy! I have been running moulders and grinding for over 16 years and still seem to learn something new everyday. Weinig also has training on grinding and moulder operation. Whoever you choose to learn from is better than trying to figure out on your own. And in the long run, you will probably save yourself frustration and your company money.

From contributor B:

First, I must agree - this machine is not a toy; people have been seriously injured with that assumption. Please be very careful around a moulder and youíll most likely retire with all of your fingers. One of the most important things to remember when you are operating the machine is to never distract the operator; a momentís inattention can be disastrous. When used properly, a moulder is no more dangerous than a car; when used improperly, it is at least as dangerous as a car. That said, most folks are quite capable of running a moulder safely and profitably.

I recommend reading as much of the Solid Wood Machining forum as you can, searching the database and asking lots of questions. We all started somewhere and most folks are willing to help. The best manual that I know of is the "Knife Grinding & Woodworking Manual" by Charles G. Monnett Jr. We (Wood Tech Enterprises) keep these in stock, and have a great crew of people that can handle your questions.

From contributor R:
A prerequisite to attending moulder school would be an extensive background of planers, shapers and jointers. At least in my opinion. We had one so-called moulder operator that seemed to know what he was doing but when I found out he didn't know anything about the planers, etc, it explained a lot of his setup problems. He liked to blame the machine. Constantly complaining a Wadkin wasn't as good as a Weinig.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the offers and advice. Today, I was able to observe a couple of basic setups and get a good overview of the processing order inside the machine. In a few hours we were able to produce all the stock I needed for my next job, and I would normally spend most of a week making those parts on other machines. I was amazed. When I mentioned my frustration trying to find books or web sites on moulders through internet search engines, the guy I was shadowing said ďThereís a great web site out there with lots of moulder information. Itís called WOODWEB.Ē Naturally, I laughed and told him about this post.

From contributor D:
When I ran a large shop and we bought our first molder, I sent two guys to the Weinig school in NC. It was a good start, but it still took lots of support on management's end to get it all together. The GM thought that since the speed dial went up to 60fpm, that all wood should come out that fast. We were running poplar moldings. It took a while of schmoozing him, and working out all the details of grinding, setup and running before we hit our stride. When all works well together, it is a beautiful thing, very productive.

From Dave Rankin, forum technical advisor:
As a long time trainer and moulder technician, I strongly suggest that you obtain proper training. Good training will reduce the risk of injury and improve your productivity. It is good to have a basic understanding of woodworking machinery, however, I have trained thousands of operators that had never run the first piece of wood through a machine. A basic understanding of the machinery and its capabilities will save you many long days and headaches. The use of books is good for reference, but can never replace one on one training. This past week I was in Louisiana doing just that training. I will be in Utah this week doing the same.