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How The Spindle Moulder Gained Its Notoriety

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Re: How The Spindle Moulder Gained Its Notoriety

Postby Trevanion » 27 Oct 2021, 18:45

Bod1 wrote:This topic, explains the attitude the Wood shop Foreman, back in the late 80's when I was lorry body building.
In past years the factory had been building ash framed lorry bodies, and as such had a full wood machining section.
Mostly Wadkins, of every description, rip saws with caterpillar tracks, chain mortisers, radial arm saws, that looked very much like Dalaks from Dr Who!
Amongst these were several spindle molders, NOBODY but nobody apart from him was allowed to touch them, if another machine could be used, then it was.
He would only use one himself, when the danger zone around the machine was clear, and that was big!
When he retired after 50 years, the wood shop was closed.


Very interesting comment Bod!

One thing about the spindle moulder that I would imagine made it that much more dangerous than other machines in the workshop in times gone by is that the spindle is vertically mounted, so there was quite a wide cone of "danger zone", as you say, from the cutter aperture outwards at about gut height so everyone standing within that large cone was in immediate danger. Whereas, with something like a table saw for example you're only in immediate danger if you're standing directly in front the blade and a piece is shot back like an arrow, with a large bandsaw you're only in immediate danger if you're standing side-on to the blade and the blade snaps...

I can't recall which book but it's one of the older ones in my collection that talks about the "death rattle" of square cutters just before they're about to eject from the block, which everyone in the workshop would hit the floor upon hearing the sound. I would guess the sound was a change in pitch as the cutter block is spinning, perhaps your foreman had a firsthand experience of a similar situation and as a result, became very jittery about them.

Of course, as I've written in my post, with new modern cutter blocks there is very little risk of any flying cutters as they are well secured in their blocks.

As an aside, the "rip saws with caterpillar tracks" were straight-line edgers, I've never used one myself but I remember reading a HSE case study where a boy fresh out of school was made to run one with very little to no training and he stuck his hand underneath the feeder to clear a jammed offcut and the feeder track running at a fast speed pulled his hand through the blade in less than a second and lopped all four fingers off just above the knuckles.
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Re: How The Spindle Moulder Gained Its Notoriety

Postby AJB Temple » 27 Oct 2021, 20:46

Thanks Dan for the modern cutter update.

The last post though about lopping off of fingers (on a tool I have never heard of before) makes me cringe.

If I ever buy a spindle moulder, it's very clear that it has to be a modern type with a Euro block.
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Re: How The Spindle Moulder Gained Its Notoriety

Postby Trevanion » 27 Oct 2021, 21:26

AJB Temple wrote:
If I ever buy a spindle moulder, it's very clear that it has to be a modern type with a Euro block.


Yes, I wouldn't advocate anything else for someone starting out in the spindle moulding world, as well as modern carbide insert rebate blocks and groovers, of course. A standard Whitehill 96mm x 55mm Euro block, a 125mm x 50mm rebate block, a 4-15mm groover would be my suggestions for a sort of "starter package" of safe tooling for the moulder, buying these new from Whitehill would run about £600, but if you don't need the smaller groove sizes you can get an 8-14 groover which is cheaper and brings the cost down to just under £500. You can of course buy secondhand tooling but quite often this will go for quite a lot of money even secondhand and there won't be much difference in the price, and you have to factor in that you may need to change the carbide inserts on those blocks which aren't cheap to buy either.

I've added another small addition of french heads and slotted collars also to add to the "scary" portion of the article, if anyone is interested!
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Re: How The Spindle Moulder Gained Its Notoriety

Postby Jar944 » 29 Oct 2021, 17:27

kirkpoore1 wrote:
The attachment IMG_9246 (2).JPG is no longer available

With this head, the bevel-edged knives rode in a groove milled into each of two disks. The spindle nut held everything together. The advantage was less tool steel, ease of adjustment, and with a smaller diameter it could handle a higher speed spindle. If the nut wasn't tight, though, watch out! By the way, you'll note that these are not a pair, but are two halves of two pairs. The spindle hole on each is a different size. Finally, the knife pairs had to be balanced and had to have the same projection to ensure a smooth cut.
The attachment IMG_9247.JPG is no longer available

Slip knife heads were eventually replaced by lock edge heads, which had teeth milled into the edge of the knife. One of the cutterhead disks had a matching screw in it which kept the knife from slipping and (I think) allowed fine adjustments. In addition, the pairs of disks were bolted together to form a unit so that they could be set up on a bench away from the shaper as well as being able to be inverted and run in reverse if needed. Lockedge cutterheads were available until a decade or two ago.


Kirk. Lockedge is still available (both the heads and the knife stock) Though at this point the knife stock is 2-3x the price of corrugated steel and the heads are not inexpensive either.
Screenshot_20211029-122409_Chrome.jpg
(90.48 KiB)


Bevel edge steel is also available, though no new heads.
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