Woodmaster Owner: “WE TOOL & DIE MAKERS ARE FUSSY!”

Here's Charles in his workshop, running a panel through his Woodmaster Molder/Planer while his Woodmaster Drum Sander stands ready (foreground). Behind Charles are two of the toy boxes he's made for his grandkids. He has his work cut out for him: when we spoke, he had 13 grandkids, "And one on the way!"

Here’s Charles in his workshop, running a panel through his Woodmaster Molder/Planer while his Woodmaster Drum Sander stands ready (foreground). Behind Charles are two of the toy boxes he’s made for his grandkids. He has his work cut out for him: when we spoke, he had 13 grandkids, “And one on the way!”

We had a chat not long ago with Charles Smith, of Venice, Florida. Charles’ background and experience give him a unique perspective on Woodmasters. He owns both a 50″ Woodmaster Drum Sander and an 18″ Woodmaster Molder/Planer. He uses both machines regularly. He uses them in both his business and for personal projects he builds. And he has past experience as a carpenter, woodworker, and tool & die maker. We thought you might find what he had to say interesting and instructive.

“I’ve done woodworking for many years. My father was a carpenter and skilled craftsman, and I was a hobby woodworker and a builder in Michigan in the 70’s and 80’s. When I came down here to Florida, I came as a builder/remodeler. I got into tool and die trade and worked at General Motors for 17 years. Believe it or not, that honed my woodworking skills. We tool and die makers are particular — we work in one hundred thousandths of an inch. It’s made me a little fussier with some of the woodworking I do and the finishes I end up with.

Everything from $1,000,000 contracts to grandkids’ toy boxes

"These are parts for the toy boxes I build for my grandkids. I've been asked to sell them but I've got a lot of hours and a lot of love in them so I don't think I'll be selling them."

“These are parts for the toy boxes I build for my grandkids. I’ve been asked to sell them but I’ve got a lot of hours and a lot of love in them so I don’t think I’ll be selling them.”

I’ve owned American Glaziers, a commercial glazing contractor, for the past 10 years. We do local and national contracts ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000 per job. Our big jobs are government contracts, Veteran’s Administration hospitals, schools, and churches.

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I use my Woodmasters in both my hobby woodworking and my glazing business. American Glaziers just did some reproduction windows for Okeechobee Court House.

Charles's company did a big window project for the Okeechobee Courthouse. "When a window job calls for wood, we use the Woodmaster."

Charles’s company did a big window project for the Okeechobee Courthouse. “When a window job calls for wood, we use the Woodmaster.”

But most of what I do with my Woodmasters is for my hobby and personal interests. I make toy boxes for my grandkids and make projects for my wife. I make cupboards, shelving, that type of thing. I keep quite active in woodworking, about one to three days a week. I love it. I still work in the glazing business but I’ll definitely move into woodworking in retirement — I love woodworking.

My first Woodmaster was a 50” drum sander. I did my research. I saw Woodmaster was American made. I was impressed by the Woodmaster website and the way the machine is constructed. Being a tool and die maker, I appreciate bearings and precision — and the digital readout.

50” drum sander wasn’t my first choice but…

The 50” drum sander wasn’t my first choice. I was going to settle for the 26” but the 50” was available and I jumped on it. I love it. It’s great. I can put two grits on it at the same time: 25” of fine and 25” of medium sandpaper. I have the best of both worlds there. I can run rough wood through on one end of the drum and then run it through the other side to finish it. That’s the way I load the drum with sandpaper: two grits side by side. I can run 24” material through one grit then the other grit without changing anything.

Molder/Planer’s Spiral Cutterhead – super smooth surfacing

Then I got my 718 Woodmaster Molder/Planer. It takes the widest panels I’ve needed so far. I upgraded it with the Carbide Tipped Spiral Cutterhead as an add-on. The Spiral Cutterhead has six rows of carbide inserts and they’re slightly staggered so that the next row takes up the slight gap that’s between it and the previous row. The beauty is – there are several beauties – they’re in a spiral pattern so rather than hit the wood in a straight line, they shave it on an angle and I believe you get a little advantage that way. Not just in the finish but in the low strain it puts on the wood. It ends up creating a very, very smooth finish.

As you can see, Charles isn't kiddin' about the smooth finish his 725 Woodmaster Molder/Planer creates with the Spiral Cutterhead leaves. Some say, "Smooth as silk in a single pass."

As you can see, Charles isn’t kiddin’ about the smooth finish his 725 Woodmaster Molder/Planer creates with the Spiral Cutterhead leaves. Some say, “Smooth as silk in a single pass.”

There are six rows of small, square cutters and they each have four carbide cutting faces. If you get a nick in one face, you simply turn it. You don’t have to take blades out and have them ground, you just take out the cutterhead and rotate the affected insert.

Sturdy

And the way the Woodmaster is built, it’s very sturdy, very precise. Use isn’t going to deteriorate the machine. It’s not going to affect it. I expect this machine to do what it’s doing now in another 10 years.

There are some wearable parts – the blades, the inserts. These are replaceable of course. But even the Spiral Cutterhead’s inserts: I don’t know if in 10 years I’ll go through all four rotations. They’re carbide and wood hardly wears carbide at all. Carbide is just such a hard material. I may get a nick in one, running a staple through the machine, or a nail accidentally. But that would only affect one side of the four-sided insert.

Woodmaster has it all. Sturdiness, the bed is all cast iron. The feed rollers are very precise. You get very little if any snipe, especially on shorter boards. I run typically 3 to 4-foot boards through the machine and you get very little snipe at the ends. This is my third planer and it’s the best one I’ve ever owned.

Personal pride

Here's a closer look at one of Charles' toy chests. This is the kind of workmanship that creates heirlooms that get passed down through the generations.

Here’s a closer look at one of Charles’ toy chests. This is the kind of workmanship that creates heirlooms that get passed down through the generations.

Charles Smith - business owner, woodworker, Woodmaster Owner!

Charles Smith – business owner, woodworker, Woodmaster Owner!

There’s a lot to be said for woodworking. It’s very relaxing, and you can take a lot of pride in what you make. You can do a lot with it, you can go as far as you want. You can build a 2 x 3” sanding block, or you can build a 21st century reproduction armoire and spend 6 months doing it. I find a lot of pleasure in it. Woodmaster, keep up the good work!

— Charles Smith, Woodmaster Drum Sander & Molder/Planer Owner, Venice FL

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