Anyone Make Stop Flutes On Their Moulder?


From original questioner:

We make a lot of tall pilasters usually with flutes or beads, we do it on a williams and hussey moulder. When I need the flutes to stop a certain distance from the end of the board I'm forced to cut the fluted part down and add a solid piece on the end using glue and pocket screws. I recently saw a guy on YouTube using a woodmaster moulder making them in one solid piece. He did it by lining up the piece with the predetermined mark and turning the machine on, then cranking it up to the correct height then turning the feed on. He then turned the feed off when it got to the other mark on the other end. Hope that makes since... I was wondering if any of you guys do it that way and if so, do you do it on a williams and hussey? I don't have the separate feed motor on mine, but I would get one for it if this method works well.

From contributor Ty

The stopped molder method would leave a different end result than you original. method. In your pocket hole method you would be left with a flute or bead the stops aburptly and square. When using the molder method your knife would leave its cutting circle visible on the stopped ends. I'm not sure how important this is to you.

From contributor Mi

I realize that Tyler, I'm not fond of the stopped abruptly look with the way im doing it right now. That's part of the reason I'd like to get away from it. I think it would look fine with the flutes, not so sure with the beads...

From contributor ri

You would have to be quick with the adjustments or you would burn the wood. I've only done it with routers, but even easy to burn then.

From contributor Mi

I agree rich. The guy in the video didn't have any burns, maybe because of the slower rpm's???

From contributor De

The best way to do stopped flutes is with a molder head on the tablesaw.

From contributor Sh

Derek has the right answer here in my opinion. Easy to stagger the flutes if need be and the flutes are left rounded which I believe to be the better look. Table saw is faster than a hand held router with jigs and it's less prone to mistakes than a router table. I just can't see a molder doing a better job than a table saw with stopping the flutes. To any who may dissent my whole response was started with "in my opinion."

From contributor do

Magic Molder. Call Ballew Saw & Tool and talk to Jack! I didnt realize Ballew was still making LRH stuff so i recently ordered one. New weapon in the arsenal...a game changer.

From contributor Ji

I have a LRH table saw head that I bought several years ago for making 1/2" flutes. Leaves a tapered end flute that I personally prefer. No burns, easily staggered, easy to set spacing.
Freeborn offers the heads as well. I also have the Freeborn beadboard head as well-very nice for beadboard door panels.

From contributor Mi

Ok, I done some research on the Magic moulder. I think I'll get one of these, it's not to pricey and I just like cool tools. I actually have something similar, an old moulding head from Sears that I bought probably 20 years ago. It's basically the same thing just no where near as nice. Plus it loud, and a tool review that I read on the magic moulder said that it was surprisingly quiet? Definitely going to look further into this, looks like the best place to order is magic moulder themselves? Ballew's website says "it's been discontinued from manufacturer and limited supply" ???

From contributor Pa

The only way to do this is on a cnc router, just pay someone to do it for you.

From contributor Da

A few things to consider:

Fluted verticals emulate the bark on tree trunks in a stylized way. Same with reeds, though they don't have the columnar precedents. That is why flutes should properly run only as verticals.

The flute that is stopped within its own radius is considered proper/better. This copies what was done in stone columns many centuries ago. A 1/2" wide flute will stop with a clean 180 degree half circle, in a 1/4" dimension.

Tablesaw molding heads are not sold/allowed in commercial shops in Germany and other countries. The worst tablesaw accident I saw was with one of those heads on a saw, and the worker was "just backing up about an 1/8" to hit his mark. The piece shot off the table, and the cutters took off the end of his index finger that was helping to locate the board.

A jig can be made with a router and tracks for spacing, similar to the track saw guides now available. Stops can be made to locate as needed, and a plunge router can make the stopped flutes easily with a sharp cutter and some quick technique.

Tablesaw cutterheads and shapers will make long tapered runouts as the stops. While one sees that commonly enough to think they are the standard, good practice dictates otherwise.

From contributor ji

"Only" way?

Or one of many?
Did stopped flutes come about after the advent of electricity? Are we to believe the Romans had harnessed electric power and kept it hidden for 4000 yrs?
I drank too many cups of smarta-- on the way in this morning.....
I agree the cnc would be the easiest doing multiple stopped flutes in qty large enough to justify the programming and fixturing. A round end looks best, tapered less so but quicker.

From contributor Pa

Only = most efficient

From contributor Ma

Saved in my favorites, this jig could easily be improved upon, but may be useful to someone.


From contributor Pa

"Saved in my favorites, this jig could easily be improved upon, but may be useful to someone"


But it looks like there may be a burn mark in at the end of the cut?

By the time you make the jig it seems like you be better of employing "comparative advantage" ?

"The theory of comparative advantage is an economic theory about the potential gains from trade for individuals, firms, or nations that arise from differences in their factor endowments or technological progress."

Cabinetmakers generally seem to be against this?

From contributor Mi

Lots of good responses and thoughts.

Pat, I have and do outsource some things to another shop for cnc work. I also have outsourced my doors for years. Recently I put in some better equipment for doing doors, I used to buy my molding and then I got the williams and hussey. In each of these cases the equipment paid for itself in no time and now the profits are mine. The bad part about outsourcing is lead time, and shipping/or fuel and time to go get it if it's local. I can make enough crown to do a kitchen in the time it took me to drive to the molding shop. The only way I can see that outsourcing would be the way to go is if it were something that I needed cnc precision on or if it were a vast quantity that would be to time consuming. Obviously some things are better bought than made, I will never attempt to carve a corbel...

Mark V.
Thanks for the link, that jig is neat and I hadn't thought of doing it like that. Pretty slick.

From contributor Pa

"I have and do outsource some things to another shop for cnc work"

Then this does not apply to you.

The thing one has to consider is that you lose time doing something in house that you could be using on something that you do well, like sales.

Lead times continue to shrink with technology.

From contributor Ri

LRH Magic Moulder cheapish cost, easy set up. I make all my bead board for doors with it. It helps to have a power feeder on the table saw.

From contributor De

I have a CNC router and we still use the magic molder for our flutes. Nothing is faster, safer and makes a better looking flute, in my opinion of course.

From contributor Jo

I made the jig that Mark is referring to. It works very well took me about an hour and a half to Make .

From contributor Pa

Hey John

Does it leave burn marks?

From contributor Jo

That's a hard one to answer I been able to do it without burn marks but not consistently most of the flutes that I've done I've been. Paint grade and how have you been

From contributor Pa

"and how have you been"

cnc, if fixtured the cut is perfect i.e. no mill marks and no burns.

From contributor Je

I do them on the shaper myself. If your doing enough of them could be worth getting a knife made up so you can do multiple flutes in one pass? Be easier than trying on the molder anyway. And with the table saw head your only going to get one at a time.

Personally I'm not a big fan of rounded bottom flutes anyway, regardless of who used them thousands of years ago. I ground my own knives for fluting that have more of a spade shape to them. I like the look of the gradual entry exit slopes as well. I still do them separately though as I also stagger them so the middle is slightly longer…. different strokes for different folks!

good luck,

From contributor ca

We do flutes similar to Mark's system except for we do this with a plunge router tied to a 6 foot linear bearing. The principle is the same.

What we do differently is add a small spacer at the stopping point. The spacer is about 3mm thick (1/8 inch).

You run the flute up to this spacer then stop. At this point we take a damp cloth and moisten the end of the cove cut. While the wood is still moist we remove the 3mm spacer and recut the groove an additional 3mm in length.

Moistening the wood prior to the last cut will cause the grain to swell a little bit but this is fairly easy to sand after the wood has dried. It is certainly easier than trying to sand out the burn mark from momentary pauses.

The burn itself doesn't really matter if you are going to paint the flute but looks better while the product is sitting around on the job site waiting to be painted.

From contributor Sh

I have made flutes many different ways while I prefer the table saw I have also used a plunge router. Used a bit with the bearing above the cutter and made a jig that the router rode on top of with a slot the same width as the bearing with an adjustable stop at one end and a fixed stop at the other. I never had any problems with burn marks because I would always rout to the stop then bounce it back as I turned my router off. It sometimes left me a little rough patch in my flute but since it was up away from the stop it was a breeze to sand out. The reason I began to prefer the table saw was because the jig and router method made me lay out all the flute spacing and stops where as the table saw just makes you lay out the stops and the fence adjustment takes care of the spacing.

From contributor Sh

I also used a router with a guide attached but when we started using more expensive woods I wanted to use something that was more WHOOPS proof so I made the jig with the slot the same width as the bearing and I never made a mistake with it.