Machining Alder

Tips on hook angle, feed speed, and more. February 19, 2006

After 16 years of producing MDF mouldings only on a Weinig H23, I need to make around 1,500 feet of a large (9 1/2") baseboard from solid alder. I have both 20 and 12 degree cutterheads. I've never machined alder before. Does anyone have any advice on which hook angle is best? Also, does anyone have any preferences for grinding angles including side clearance?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor R:
I would use a 20 degree hook angle cutterhead if I was jointing rough grind at 30 degrees and finishing at 27 degrees. Since you only have 1,500 lf to run, I would probably not joint the run. Therefore I would rough grind at 25 degrees and finish at 20 degrees.

From contributor R:
Another note: You might check the specs of your machine H-23. The (23) stands for 230 mm max width that’s 9.062" s-4-s, 8.625" profile in axial constant (.394" or 10mm). You might have to have a smaller diameter cutterhead on the left spindle, and take some off of your axail dimension on you template to get it to work.

From contributor R:
I forgot the side clearance - 10 degrees if jointed and 5 degrees if not jointed.

From Dave Rankin, forum technical advisor:
I agree with Contributor R on the angles and on going non-jointed for this run. Alder is generally fairly easy to machine so I would run at between 35 and 42 feet per minute.

From contributor C:
Yep - I hadn't planned on jointing this one. For 1,500 feet I can run as slow (or fast) as it needs. Contributor R - yes it is just beyond the maximum width of my moulder so I'm going to be making it in 2 interlocking sections 6" and 4" respectively with a 1/2" rebate connecting them.

From contributor R:
To contributor C: We have several customers running alder. Collectively, they have found a 15 degree hook cutterhead to work best. The green and yellow streaks can be quite tough on conventional knives. Many of them use Wisconsin Badger steel to eliminate many of the mineral streak problems. They also have found the use of a Cratex rubberized abrasive stick to work quite well for de-burring the Badger steel.