We have two five head moulders that do great but would like to go a little further with the quality. Do the fladder sanders on the end of a machine make that much a difference? I saw one on a 5 head Wadkin which was my competitorís and was curious from that point on. I wasnít comfortable asking him. The one I saw at the show was a 2 head top -one spinning clockwise one counter-clockwise. It was explained to me that one lifted the fibers opposite of the last top head on the moulder, and the other sander slicked it off. That makes sense, but the one I saw of my competitorís was a single head. Do the two heads make that much difference? What type of head would you use or are you using? Which way would you spin it if you only had one head? Any particular rpm?
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor A:
The ultimate decision is yours. In my days around moulders and installations I have not seen a noticeable improvement in the quality of the mouldings. My thoughts would be more focused on sharp knives, hold down solutions, and the quality of steel used. You should have about 14-18 knife marks per inch on your products depending on your speed. I am assuming you are running a 6000 rpm and single knife finish @ 25-30 feet per minute. If youíre looking to get rid of the knife marks, the fladder is not your answer. If mouldings are run at the correct speed for knives finishing and the knives are sharp there should be no need for sanding. 14-18 knife marks per inch is acceptable standard in the industry. Just my thoughts - I am sure others will have more on this subject that I hope will help you decide.
Comment from contributor D:
Any quality finish requires the wood to be sanded to at least 150 grit. We have a state of the art molder and sand all our woodwork before finishing. There is not a molder out there that can eliminate sanding no matter what is promised. For the runs over 500 feet we use a molding sander with hard shaped heads that spin to remove the knife marks. A fladder type sander is used after this. Sanding is a necessary evil that has to be done period if a finish of any quality is to be achieved. If there was a way around this I would have found it as the time to do this is significant as well as included in our bids. 32 years of trial and error have brought this conclusion.