As I have mentioned recently, the whole concept of the spindle moulder has not been something that I have paid particular attention to, having worked with router tables for so long. So when the opportunity arose to see what it was all about, I jumped at it.
The cutter is the Amana Tool Profile Pro Shaper Cutter, from Toolstoday.com, and it is a real head-turner. The block is comparable to the quality finish you expect from Woodpecker (a similar anodised finish), which looks superb. I didn’t get to try the Insert Planing head, as the available spindle length wasn’t long enough to secure it. Will have to experience that another day.
The Minimax C26 is a combo-machine, with saw, moulder, jointing and thicknessing capabilities (and mortising with an add-on). With a variety of spacers, the Profile Pro looked right at home. For someone used to router tables (and associated kickbacks), the amount the blades protruded on the spindle moulder was a bit nerve-wracking, but Matt (from Gabbett Machinery) has plenty of experience and said this was quite minor compared to many other cutters he had used. So on we went.
Despite the first photo showing a moulding cutter, we first started with a basic rebate cutter (and a large chunk of celery pine). The fence was bought in to guide the work past the cutter, and the spring loaded plate (and associated hold-down) of the C26 kept the timber snug against the fence.
It was a very smooth pass. The feed rate could have been a fair amount higher, as neither the machine or the cutter really noticed, and the resulting silky smooth cut was testament to how well both worked.
Next, it was time to switch the knives over to a profile, and this was easily achieved in-situ – no need to remove the cutter head. It has 2 guide pins to ensure accurate alignment of the cutter, and the block held in place with a turn of the hex key.
The amount of protrusion of this cutter was rather startling, but with Matt’s guidance I learned to accept that it was ok to use the cutter in that state.
So into the cutter went the timber, with excellent results. There was absolutely no kickback, and the entire profile was machined in a single pass.
The Toolstoday.com Profile Pro sure made light work of the operation, and a superb finish from a single pass. The industrial version of the router table came away smelling like there is definitely something worth pursuing further, and combined with quality cutter heads, the spindle moulder really is a rather cool machine.
The MiniMax C26 from Gabbett Machinery certainly held up it’s end of the bargain as well, and the jointer and thicknesser were given a real work out a bit later on, cleaning up a log of huon pine that we had been ripping veneers off on the new Professional 14″ Minimax bandsaw. (You can see a photo of it in the background in some of the earlier images, along with the huon pine log).
Working with quality tools, and cutters is always a pleasure.