CURVED MOLDING PRODUCTION SECRETS from the #1 Curved Molding Shop in America

 

This is a 22-foot, custom profile curved opening and two half round openings which were all made using the 718 Woodmaster. By The Curved Molding Shop.

This is a 22-foot, custom profile curved opening and two half round openings which were all made using the 718 Woodmaster. By The Curved Molding Shop.

“BUSINESS IS GREAT. We’re #1 in online searches for curved molding,” say the owners of The Curved Molding Shop in Van Wert, Ohio. “Woodmaster’s made us #1. Without our Woodmaster we’d never be where we are today.”

We spoke recently with the owners of The Curved Molding Shop who shared some of their business tips and production secrets for making CURVED MOLDING with their WOODMASTER MOLDER/PLANER.

A request for CURVED MOLDING opened the door to profits

“We purchased the Woodmaster 718 a little over seven years ago to make straight molding. One day, a local contractor asked us to make curved molding. We didn’t know where to start so we experimented with different production methods. We figured it out and the curved molding turned out great. The contractor told a few people and before we knew it we started to receive orders for curved molding from contractors and people who’d heard about us.

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Once we got our website up and running the business really took off and we started getting orders from all over the country. We’re getting 60 to 75% of our orders off the website.

Local sales sluggish? Sell online, sell worldwide

The last three weeks we’ve done work for homeowners and contractors in Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington. We never know what part of the country customers will be calling from. It helps having a #1 website. When people do a Google search for Curved Molding, we’re the first listing on the first page.

This is a photo of an elliptical molding over a front door with two side lights. This is the most popular elliptical shape. The elliptical moldings offered by the window and door companies often only offer this molding in fingerjoint moldings which come in pieces. The Curved Molding Shop offers all standard profiles as well as custom profiles for this shape of elliptical. Everything shown here was run on the 718 Woodmaster.

This is a photo of an elliptical molding over a front door with two side lights. This is the most popular elliptical shape. The elliptical moldings offered by the window and door companies often only offer this molding in fingerjoint moldings which come in pieces. The Curved Molding Shop offers all standard profiles as well as custom profiles for this shape of elliptical. Everything shown here was run on the 718 Woodmaster.

Doing business online is a tremendous advantage because our reach is worldwide. New York, New Jersey, we get quite a few orders. We just did a job for someone who has a beautiful million dollar home — he never even asked the price. What I’ve found is people who have money, if they want curved windows, don’t care what the cost is. Those who’re well off are still spending money. They want curved windows, they do a Google search, they find us, and we ship it to them.

“We do it all on a Woodmaster — mold, plane, sand, saw”

This is a photo of elliptical moldings The Curved Molding Shop produced on the 718 Woodmaster. True elliptical moldings are the most difficult curved moldings to produce.

This is a photo of elliptical moldings The Curved Molding Shop produced on the 718 Woodmaster. True elliptical moldings are the most difficult curved moldings to produce.

We do everything start to finish on our Woodmaster. We use the laminating process for curved molding, cutting the 1/4″ strips with the Woodmaster’s gang rip saw. Then we change it over to a planer to plane the strips down to the same thickness. Then we do glue-ups in a curved jig. After that, we run the curved molding blank through the Woodmaster to plane it down, then we and change the Woodmaster over to a molder and run the molding profile.

When we make arches from our favorite wood, red oak, we line up the wood grain and laminate it and it looks just like one piece of wood whether you’re doing half round or elliptical molding. People just love the look.

Custom knives to match a customer’s molding

We’ve been so busy we haven’t had time to experiment but we ran some rope molding today. We ordered the knives from Woodmaster. We do a lot of custom molding where we have to match a sample of customers’ molding. Woodmaster makes the knives for us and we make the molding to match what the customer has in their home.

Making Curved Molding with the Woodmaster 718 at The Curved Molding Shop

Making Curved Molding with the Woodmaster 718 at The Curved Molding Shop

We’ve made a lot of archways, you can see pictures on our website. And we make curved jambs, too. They’re a structural piece built into the wall, a curved header. We just built five archways for a big job in New Jersey and we made curved jambs for them using a product called bendable plywood for the backing. Then we used the Woodmaster to plane down the jambs. We used two pieces of stock we planed down for the facing of the jamb.

We spent a lot of time learning how to do curved molding. I called Gary Striegler about curved molding. (Editor’s Note: see Gary Striegler’s videos on how to make curved molding on the Woodmaster website http://woodmastertools.com/.) He gave us some pointers to get us started and really helped get us to where we are now.

Curved molding brings high profits

Why curved molding? It’s an ultra premium product that commands high prices. It’s hard to find and very expensive. It’s the premium woodworking product. When you can make curved molding, you’re one of a few.

We charge $30 a foot. We haven’t come down on our prices because it’s such a niche market. There are people out there cutting throats to get work. But we’ve never come down on the price.

Our moldings are all the same price, whether it’s 2-1/4” 356 pattern, or the 444 pattern that’s a 3-1/2” molding. It’s the same with custom profiles. The customer pays for the knife and we don’t mark them up or charge a setup fee. Some places charge you a $100 set up fee but we’ve developed an adjustable form that lets us go from elliptical to half round in a matter of minutes so we’re not going to ding people for that.

We ship all our molding FedEx ground to homes and businesses. We make our own boxes because we never know what size we’ll need — that saves the customers money. We don’t mark up shipping. We make our money on bending the wood and making curved molding.

“We can do it better and faster.”

We researched this business before we started. We pulled up some curved molding websites and were amazed at their high prices and long lead times. On one site, a 48” elliptical molding was $400 and the lead time was six to eight weeks.

We knew we could do it better and faster. No matter how big the job is, we deliver curved molding within two to three weeks and we’ve always made our commitments. Over the years, we’ve only had two out of hundreds of curved moldings that didn’t match. And both times it was because we were given bad templates. That’s thanks to the Woodmaster — the machine just doesn’t break down.

Curved Molding emerges from the Woodmaster at The Curved Molding Shop - they have it down to a science

Curved Molding emerges from the Woodmaster at The Curved Molding Shop – they have it down to a science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s all good

Once you see curved molding coming through the molder being profiled, you’re kind of hooked. It’s a neat thing to see. We’ve done some huge profiles. For The Villages, the profile for their chapel was 4-1/4” x 1”. I can’t find any bad points about making curved molding. It’s all been good for us.

Our customers are contractors, homeowners, and we do some business for local lumberyards. A lot of our orders come from repeat customers.

4-in-1 Money Maker — fast changeovers critical

We chose the Woodmaster Molder/Planer because of all the functions it can do. The changeover time for us is crucial. We can change the Woodmaster from ripping to planing then to molding with our eyes closed in five minutes.

Woodmaster’s variable feed rate is crucial. Whoever thought up this machine really had a head on his shoulders. The variable feed rate is important on straight runs but when you’re doing curved molding, it’s the best thing you can have.

With hard woods, we slow the feed rate down all the way. The last thing you want to do is go through all the work of cutting the strips, planing them down, setting up your form, let it sit for five or six hours then run it through your machine as fast as you can. Slow it down and you’ll get a good finish.

“You’d think after 7 years there’s be some vibration…”

We got the 718 Woodmaster. It was just the right size for our shop. It just worked well and shortly after we got it we could tell this was just a well made machine that was going to last. We’re surprised it has lasted like it has. We’ve run thousands of straight runs through it, hundreds of curved moldings, we’ve planed lumber, we just made some rope molding and there’s no vibration at all in that machine. It’s just amazing. You’d think after seven years there’d be a little vibration.

We got the Pro Pack and all the accessories. Everything’s original. Of course we’ve had new belts, rollers, saw blades, planer blades, wearable items like that. The only problem we ever had was the variable speed went out. It was on warranty and they shipped me a new one in two days. We’ve never had any problem with it.

Watch curved molding videos on the Woodmaster website

A lot of people ask us how do you make curved molding. You can’t explain it over the phone. You have to watch Gary’s video on the Woodmaster website. We do it differently than Gary but it’s the same concept with the Woodmaster. The machine does the work. How you bend the wood is up to you. There are always different techniques. Everybody’s got their own way of doing things.

If people are thinking about a Woodmaster, this machine is so good at so many different things. The planer amazes me after seven years. The rip saw is great because of safety — you’ve got a lid over it; you don’t on a table saw.

A woodworker could pay for a Woodmaster with only a couple of jobs. We think any woodworker would want this because of all the attachments and the easy changeover. You could show someone in an hour how to run this. We’ve done it here with our employees. We can’t believe every woodworking shop wouldn’t want this machine. It’s perfect. We’d buy another tomorrow, and we would if this one broke but it’s not broken!”

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QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?

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5 thoughts on “CURVED MOLDING PRODUCTION SECRETS from the #1 Curved Molding Shop in America

  1. I have the 18inch woodmaster moulder. And it runs curved moulding find but does anyone have plans for setting up elliptical mouldings on the woodmaster a video or drawing. Thanks

  2. We do have videos on our new website for the curved molding but elliptical is more complex. I will have a look on line and see what I can find. You might try searching YouTube as well. Any other ideas out there?

  3. Shop Fox makes a jig for their planer/molder that has a set of rollers which handle circular AND elliptical molding. If Woodmaster wants to remain the industry leader in this area, they need to come up with something similar or better. Circular moldings are a big leap from straight pieces, but you are still very limited if you cannot do elliptical or variable curves.

  4. The formula for making an elipse, this is setup for flooring but once you figure the measuring set up it works for any elipse

    ELLIPTICAL STAR
    The elliptical star requires two colors of sheet flooring and should be set
    into a third color. Its size may be adjusted to suit the needs of the area
    where it is installed.
    1. First draw a straight line AB on the material and erect a perpendicular line
    CD through the center point E
    2. Use the length of line EB (2-1/2′) to mark points F and G by measuring from
    D. Place thumbtacks at F and G

    or basically if it is 5′ wide and 3′ high, measure half the width back to the horizontal line from the top of the 3′ mark, on both sides of the intersection. at that point drive those tacks along with one at the top of the elipse. Tie a string with low stretch around the two ends and top tacks. once tied, remove the top tack and follow with a pencil. allowing the string to ride the two tacks on the horizontal plane.

    To see this better go to the link below, figures 1,2,&3 show it best

    http://www.armstrong.com/assets/commflooringna/literature/downloads/F5061.pdf
    page 285

  5. Great point Josh. You can do both circular and elliptical molding on the Woodmaster. Shop Fox’s machine looks like a nice machine, though eerily similar to the Williams & Hussey machine. 🙂

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