BJM

Advice & Ideas on Power Feeding

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Hey everybody,

Me and a couple others are in the beginning stages of trying to produce nicer hardwood flooring, base boards, & crown molding. Ideally we would want to grow to a more industrial scale, so we are looking into ways to move boards across different parts of the process. Right now we want to stay away from just buying a power feeder. We have seen some DIY builds and are wondering if anyone else has any ideas or builds of their own.

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What sort of scale are you talking about? Going truly "industrial" means there is very likely a set of tooling already on the market to meet your needs. At some significant investment, of course.

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A used power feeder isn't that expensive. There are DIY ways but you'll probably spend as much or more trying to figure it out than just getting a used unit.

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As far as I can tell, a power feeder is only useful for production of multiple parts.  Meaning it's for commercial use more than a hobby shop.  Pushing a board through a saw by hand is still a power feeder in my mind. If someone needs a power feeder to cut one board, that tells me that person should take up checkers as a hobby.

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I agree, but the exception, as I understand (I've never used one), is with a shaper. Because of the size of bite they can take, a stout power feeder is needed to safely feed and control the stock. I may be wrong though.

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On 5/19/2019 at 10:37 AM, BJM said:

Hey everybody,

Me and a couple others are in the beginning stages of trying to produce nicer hardwood flooring, base boards, & crown molding. Ideally we would want to grow to a more industrial scale, so we are looking into ways to move boards across different parts of the process. Right now we want to stay away from just buying a power feeder. We have seen some DIY builds and are wondering if anyone else has any ideas or builds of their own.

If you’re serious spend some money and look at Williams and Hussey moulding machines, I’ve used one and they will run crown, base and trim all day long, power feed, 220 volt, standard knives and also custom profiles are available 

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In general it's true a power feeder makes sense only for production work. 

But as shown in the video I posted, it's faster to set up my little power feeder than it is to set up Board Buddies, which amateur (and even professional) woodworkers use frequently as a safety and quality of cut enhancement on the table saw.   Like with Board Buddies, you don't need to (and really can't) put your hands anywhere near the blade,  and with the feeder you don't  even need to use a push stick. This is really nice for even a moderate number of short pieces.

For resawing  on a band saw a power feeder can  increase the quality of cut by holding the stock tight against the fence over much of  the full height of a wide board and keeping the feed speed uniform, and especially without stops. With expensive figured wood that can mean more slices of veneer per billet.

On a router table, with a power feeder you can do some jobs climb feeding, with the direction of cutter  rotation, which can give a cleaner cut, especially in figured woods.....

So there are advantages in some situations other than high volume.

If you're looking to do  profiled trim in high volume though  the Williams and Hussey suggestion is right on. There are other options too you might find cheap on CR, like old Belsaw machines, that can crank out miles of molding.

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I can see that feeder being worth the effort, even for just a few cuts. Looks like skateboard wheels - does it apply force toward the fence, or just toward the table?

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4 minutes ago, Llama said:

I need a power feeder for my jointer! 

It would bog it down cause you probably don’t keep it sharp:D

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39 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

It would bog it down cause you probably don’t keep it sharp:D

HAHA! I haven't turned the cutters yet :) I will after this project though. Hard maple dining table :o 

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As you and others have drilled into me, pics or it didn’t happen! Tacos! :D

Good to hear from ya bud! 

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The wheels are indeed skateboard wheels, with a small modification to assure they're driven by the shafts.

The angle of the wheels relative to the fence is adjusted when clamping it down to the fence, just an eyeball adjustment to put them maybe 5 degrees towards the fence. This pulled the stock tight to the fence.

I used to use Board Buddies for this sort of operation, and if I wanted the best possible results I'd also use a feather board with them. For this maiden voyage of the little power feeder for small stock grooving I didn't bother with the feather board, and the results were great.

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On 7/10/2019 at 9:05 PM, K Cooper said:

As you and others have drilled into me, pics or it didn’t happen! Tacos! :D

Good to hear from ya bud! 

I may post something in another thread. :) 

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What you need for this if your planning on going the business direction is a four-sided planner. (I'm not sure if that's the name in the US, but I work in a furniture and interior building company in the Netherlands and we use one of these for small to large-sized series.

Image result for four sided planer

 

Basically depending on how many cutters you have on there, you can make moldings, trimmings floorboards, etc. they are really easy to use and understand as well. You throw your lumber rough cut all around the same size from the mill in one end and you have your perfect boards come out the other. It also works nicely with MDF. 

The only thing you need in addition to this is a good dust extractor and enough power ;) 

But if your gonna set up anything for a business, this is what you are looking for. It would be the way I would do it for sure. 

As a business your looking out output and ensuring that you don't need to manually plain everything that comes in. Besides that you might want to see if there are any second hand or refurbished ones if your looking at keeping the costs down. 

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