Sears Molding Head - YEAH!

junquecol

Bruce
User
Current shop project is the ShopNotes / Woodsmith router lift. It was originally published in ShopNotes issue 121. Steve Ramsey has a good video of his build, plus Woodsmith also has a video on You Tube. One the items of the build is the channels that the lift rides in. Shown is using table saw to cut a V groove, plus chamfer on edge of other side of guides. Not an easy task if your saw isn't EXACTLY at 45. But using the "V" grooving cutters in Sears molding head, it's an easy task. Because the same cutter is used to cut both pieces, they are a perfect match. No sanding is needed to remove blade marks. So I give the Sears molding head, that several are afraid of, a big YEAH! Yes it's loud, but so is my planer and jointer.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
I didn't know anyone actually used those things anymore. I've got a set collecting dust. Too scared to use it.
 

Alan in Little Washington

Alan Schaffter
Corporate Member
If you want a safer tablesaw-mounted molder, get a Magic Molder. The original manufacturer, LRH, went out of business some years ago. I couldn't find the current status or if someone else is manufacturing it. It had a smaller diameter than the Sears, and, depending on the model, had two or four replaceable carbide cutters in nearly eighty different profiles. It was great for making beadboard, wainscot, and shiplap panels. It wasn't cheap but was a quality tool. It is still listed on a few tool seller websites and eBay but availability is questionable- Amazon says unavailable.

 

Alan in Little Washington

Alan Schaffter
Corporate Member
Been using a Sears for years. EXACTLY what isn't safe about it? Hundreds of thousands were sold. Small cabinet shops ran door edge profile using them. I've used mine to make replacement siding, and treads for fold up stairs, amongst other things.
Well, first, go back and re-read EXACTLY what I wrote. I never said the Sears wasn't safe, now did I? I only said the Magic Molder was safer.

But, lets look at the physics here- The Sears has a larger diameter which means high tip speed. The cutters extend past the main disk in some cases by an inch or more, increasing the diameter and also making a grab a much more serious event. I had one or two grabs but was lucky, no injury and I have all ten fingers. The large diameter and cutter extending beyond the disk means, in addition to a wide table insert cutout, you must have a long table insert cutout, so depending on the cut, your stock may not be adequately supported. Cabinet door cope and stick cuts were especially problematic. Years ago I made oak frame and panel cabinet doors for an entire kitchen using the Sears molder, but never again. The Sears, wasn't especially well balanced either, and caused my Shopsmith to vibrate and walk across the floor. It caused my Unisaw to vibrate, also. That is tough on arbor bearings. I may be wrong, but the Sears cutters are held in place by only one screw, while the Magic Molder has a multiple step retention design to securely hold the carbide cutters (the Sears were not carbide.) There were all kinds of tools and machines that were in wide use and considered safe in their time, but certainly not by todays' standards. So, I'll let everyone make up their own mind.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Alan, how do you "safely" run cope and stick profiles through one of these on a tablesaw?. How do you feed the stock?.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Alan, how do you "safely" run cope and stick profiles through one of these on a tablesaw?. How do you feed the stock?.
Use the radial arm saw. Throw the motor up on it's side and make a fence for cutter to project through, just like the book says.. On TS, for each cutter, I make a zero clearance insert, therefor my stock is supported. Foolish not to, IMHO
 

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