Question: I've seen tablesaw molding heads for sale and wondered what they're used for. Is there an advantage to using them?
-- Stanley Drozd , Chicago , IL

Answer: A molding head is a cutterhead for the tablesaw that cuts profiles much like a router or shaper does. Some have interchangeable knives and cut numerous profiles.

 

 

Tablesaw Molding Head

 WHERE A BLADE MEETS A BIT.
A molding head runs in a tablesaw, but cuts profiles like a router bit. Molding heads excel at profiling the middle of wide boards, something a router can't do.

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The popularity of routers has made molding heads a rarity, but they have a couple of advantages over a router or router table. They can produce a very smooth cut. Because of the large radius, the cutters enter and exit the stock at a much shallower angle than a router bit, which reduces tearout.
  

Also, the larger table and outfeed support of the tablesaw make it easier to profile long pieces such as baseboard moldings. Another benefit is the ability to mill profiles on the center of boards, such as a bead on a back board.

These advantages come at a price. A starter kit from Magic Molder (www.lrhent.com) with two profiles is $265. Additional profile sets are $99.


From Fine Woodworking #202 November 1, 2008