Equipment Choices

A closet contractor shopping for an edgebander, boring machine, and panel saw considers his machinery options, new versus used equipment, and whether to lease or buy. November 11, 2005

I would like to buy an entry level edgebander for my closet business, as well as a boring machine and a panel saw (vertical). I am stuck between the Brandt, Holzher 1305, or the SCMI k201. Can anyone tell me which way to go? Also, I am stuck with 1 phase power.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor W:
We use an SCMI Basic 2 and have been very happy with it. I saw a used one in good shape that sold for $2500 recently. If you are not in a big rush, keep your eyes open on the WOODWEB Machinery Exchange and on IRS auctions and E-bay. There are plenty of good deals on the used market, but you have to be very careful when buying a used edgebander. It is a very complicated machine. Make sure that whatever brand you settle on, you will be able to get service. It would do you no good to get a good deal then have to fly in a tech from across the country when it needs repair.

As far as the boring machines go, if you are doing closets, spend the extra money and get the 2 row machine with 46 spindles and through boring. The extra money you spend here will be recouped in short order because of time/labor savings. The single phase power is not a problem. Do a search on E-bay for "rotary phase converter." You will want to get one that has a HP rating large enough to support the three machines all together. Whatever kind of saw you get, make sure it has a scoring blade. There are plenty of them on the used market as well.

From the original questioner:
I think I am going to buy new machines, as I have a well established business and can get some leasing with easy monthly payments. I just can't make up my mind on these awesome machines. I am leaning towards the Brandt KDN 330 or the Holzher 1305 1310 without the scrapers, because I don't do any 3mm tape yet. Used edgebanding machines are a gamble which I cannot afford. I have been in the dark ages for a very long time, so anything will be a major improvement. I have a jet table saw now, so I think the Striebig compact plus will let me do my rips and crosscuts much, much better as opposed to a sliding table saw. The double line boring machine by Conquest seems to work well for the closet world. Any feedback on the 4 pneumatic flip stops? Are they worth the extra grand? Also, is it better to drill up or down? Do you think the Ritter is better?

From contributor W:
If you are buying new, then the service becomes the more important issue. The big machinery show just wrapped up in Vegas last week. If you buy now, ask for a show demo discount. Many manufacturers offer deep discounts for their show demos. Have you looked at getting a trio package? That is another way to save money. Many big manufacturers offer a 3 machine package of bander, saw and borer for a special price. You should be able to get a package deal with the heavier machinery for about 30-40k. Having one brand also simplifies the service end.

From contributor J:
You're right about used edge banders - get a new one and take care of it. We have three Holtz-hers - sliding saw (10'), 21 head boring machine and a new edge bander - all are excellent. We cut on a nesting router now, and these are the only machines we kept.

From contributor D:
We use a single row Ritter and it's worth its weight in gold in a small cabinet shop doing kitchens/bath/libraries/etc., so logically, the double row would be even better. We've had the Ritter three years now (got it new) and have had no trouble whatsoever. Let me just say machine maintenance isn't something we spend a lot of time on, and we definitely don't baby anything. It gets used, and it works.

From contributor P:
Ritter stuff is awesome - we have an '88 R-46 that still drills perfectly. Their equipment will not die! Also very happy with our Altendorf F45 and Brandt KD-56. I run everything with a Gentec 20 hp phase converter - great unit, super service, quiet, inexpensive!

I've done very well purchasing late model equipment used or lease-repo. My bander was a year old and impeccable when I bought it for less than 50% of new. Think about what the brand new equipment would be worth if you had to sell it next month!

"Excellent lease rates" often don't tell the whole story, as in the big print giveth; the small print taketh away! Cost out the entire lease, from purchase to buyout, and consider the effective interest rate you're paying. I haven't seen one yet that isn't far more expensive than simply borrowing from the bank for an outright purchase. Leasing makes sense sometimes, say, for a starting-out business without credit, or for equipment that will be obsolete before the lease period ends. Sure, it's nice to be able to write off the entire lease payment rather than depreciating, and great not to show an equipment loan as a business liability. For me, it's a strictly dollars-and-cents issue, rather than bookkeeping games. We often get blinded by the idea of a beautiful and productive new tool that's going to land on our shop floor for a pittance, and don't think the entire transaction through. Just go in with your eyes open! Read everything first, and ask the questions before signing. Understand everything, even the most mundane boilerplate. The fact that it's a part of the contract indicates that it's important, and probably to the leasing outfit's advantage. They're better at this than you are! If you've just got to lease, bargain with your vendor just as if you were going to write a check. Once the difference that you're negotiating over gets expressed in the "just a few $$ per month" format, the tendency is to ignore it and get on with the transaction. I assume that if we're just a few bucks apart, they're probably in a better position to make up the shortfall.

From contributor W:
If it comes right down to it, you can lease or finance used equipment as well. Talk to your local banker. You can use the lease payment calculator on to give you an idea on the payments. Exfactory also has a leasing program in place for used and new equipment. If you buy through them, make a low offer to start, like 50-60% of asking price.

From contributor H:
If you can manage the extra bucks for the 3mm edgebander, then go for it. I get a lot of closet jobs at higher prices when I smash my tape measure against a 3mm edge in front of the client. It almost guarantees me the job. I have an EP-9 with top and bottom rounding, but no end rounding. A simple machine to operate and the PLC control automatically adjusts all work stations for regular or 3mm tape. I bought it from Adwood, with a slider and Detel 50 spindle double line borer. Got a great package deal and only one service tech to deal with. LOL.

From contributor D:
We have an SCMI K201 and are very happy with it. Had it 5 years with very minor problems. Just be aware that it has a less expensive end cut-off saw arrangement, which is 90 degrees vertical, while the more expensive machines have an angled cut-off saw which gives you a bit more perfect end cut-offs. Ours will still do all 4 sides, but just not as perfectly as a more expensive machine. If you have to do all 4 sides a lot, you should probably think of a machine with angled cut off.

Also, if you are considering the K201, you should get high frequency motors which will cost probably $3,000 more but are really necessary for longevity of the machine. One of the nice things about the K201 is it can run on either single or three phase. That would be good for you, but many used double line drills out there run on three phase. We simply purchased a rotary phase converter, but the entire cost will be $2-3,000 unless you buy used.

We have a used Marcon 46 hole double line drill which drills down and it has been great. Cost us only $4,000 used. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used drill, but would probably not buy a used bander because they are so complex and I have seen a lot of junk out there. If you do lean toward a used bander, you could get someone on WOOWEB with bander experience that lives near the machine, and ask them if they would mind running it and looking it over. Or you could hire a repair outfit like Western Industrial Machine Repair, who could send a tech out to look at and run it.

I have a few friends who bought a like-new used machine and have been very happy - I also have one friend who bought a used SCMI Basic One that was pure junk. That is really an old machine and I can't imagine being able to find a good one out there without taking a real chance.

From contributor I:
I have a Holzher 1315-2. We run about 10-15,000 feet per month on it. It was the fastest of comparably priced machines and I have been fairly happy with it. I am not sold on their cartridge setup, though. If I did it over, I would probably go with the Brandt.