We heard recently from Woodmaster Owner, Mike W., of North Texas. He told us he’s using his Woodmaster to make all the trim and flooring for his new home.
Running all your own millwork is not all that uncommon for Woodmaster Molder/Planer Owners — most got their Woodmasters specifically to handle serious woodworking projects.
But when Mike told us, “I don’t really have any woodworking credentials other than a shop class I took for a semester in 7th grade,” we thought we’d better check it out. Can a fellow with NO woodworking experience run high-end trim and flooring like a pro?
Mike tells his story…
“My wife, Wendy, and I decided to build a new house. That’s how I got started in woodworking. Besides a shop class in seventh grade, the only real woodworking I’ve done is making the flooring and trim for this house.
It’s a pretty big house, all high-end, about 11,500 square feet overall with about 9,500 square feet of living space. My wife and I are the general contractors. I have a carpenter and his crew and whenever I can help with building, I do. I’ve been involved in just about everything here. We hope to move sometime in October of this year.
Wendy and I base our building and material decisions on the numbers. Not just current costs but longterm costs, too. We knew this home would be expensive so we looked for any way we could save money. When it came down to the wood trim and floors, we started pricing everything out and discovered it would be a lot less expensive if I made the trim and flooring myself. That’s why I got my Woodmaster.
But what if it didn’t work out?
I was certainly concerned about whether this plan would work. What if the machine didn’t work right? What if I couldn’t learn how to use it correctly? What if I didn’t have the time to do the work myself?
I don’t spend this kind of money lightly. These were risks we were willing to take because I did my homework. I can’t stress that enough. I researched all kinds of machines online, I looked at every possibility. I watched Woodmaster’s how-to videos, I talked to people who owned Woodmasters, I looked at Woodmaster’s company info online, and I learned how the machine works. I figured if others could do this kind of work successfully, I could probably do it, too.
The Woodmaster has a great warranty, instructions, and there are people who’ll tell and show you all about it and what to do. I was willing to take the risk and take the time to learn all about it because the cost/benefit analysis showed me that if I could learn to operate it I would save a lot of money.
Saved as much as 70% doing it himself with his Woodmaster
The savings on this entire D-I-Y project, including the raw wood, including the Woodmaster and all the add-ons, including paying my carpenter and his crew, is probably about 50% savings. I cut the cost of having someone else do this work in half. That’s 50% off the cost of unfinished hardwood floors. If I compare it to buying finished flooring, ready to install, I saved 70%.
Making the flooring saved the most money. We’re making them ourselves. Some of the wood is 11” wide, all the way down to 6”. We’re going to do the entire kitchen in 11” wide white oak. To buy hardwood flooring that width is astronomical. But making it yourself with the Woodmaster, buying raw lumber and turn it into flooring, is a no brainer if you can master the process.
He got the biggest & best…plus all the bells & whistles
I had never used any kind of planer before. But I figured if I was going to do it, I wanted it to be able to handle anything I threw at it. I ordered the biggest and best, the 725, 25” Woodmaster with Extension Tables. I got the Caster Kit. Casters come in handy when you run long pieces: you can rotate the machine without having to swing long boards. The biggest board I’ve handled is the countertop for the library. It’s 18’ long and 23” wide red oak. I ran it through in one pass and stuck it on the wall.
The 725 Woodmaster is wide enough to run cabinet doors. It has a Variable Speed Rate that’s very important; I can’t stress that enough. It’s really a big deal, you have to have it. When you’re planing rough lumber, a board’s thickness can vary. By slowing the planer down in thicker spots, you can avoid having to take many shallow cuts. Sometimes I’ll have someone else run the boards through. I manage the Variable Speed Knob and speed it up or slow it down as needed on the first pass to get everything level. If you’re going to make curved molding, you have to be able to adjust the speed or you’ll never get the piece through the machine. You have to go slow.
Another extra purchase that was really great is the Reversing Kit. That really comes in handy when you’re setting molding profiles and doing test runs. It’s worth the price.
I got the ProPack that gives me four functions — planing, molding, sanding, rip sawing — and I’ve used them all very effectively. I also got the Spiral Cutterhead. It’s amazing. That Spiral Cutterhead doesn’t care what you stick in there. It just chews through wood and leaves a satin-smooth finish. I estimate the finish equivalent to 150 grit sandpaper. It has indexable carbide cutters with four faces apiece. You can turn the faces as each one dulls over time. I’ve put 100,000 board feet through that cutterhead and I’m on the third face.
Woodmaster has the dust collector with a big blower. They had everything I need in one spot so I went ahead and got it all. I got the Three Side Molding System, too. We’ll be using it to cut the tongue and groove profiles on all the flooring. Between me, my carpenter, and his crew, we’ve used the Woodmaster as much as anybody could, non-stop from morning to evening.
4-way moneymaker – “And not small money, either.”
Once the house is done, I could sell the Woodmaster – it’s already paid for itself in the savings we’ve realized by doing the work ourselves. But if I sell it, I’ll kick myself every time I want to build something. Or I could build a little shop and keep it to make the furniture I told my wife I’d make. And my carpenter could use it for other people’s trim or flooring for his clients and I could make some kind of financial arrangement with him. So potentially I’ll save more on furniture, and make some money too. And if people come to me to make them something, I’ll make it.
I enjoy making my own millwork and I could make money doing it for others. The Woodmaster is a moneymaker – and not small money. For example, a piece of 8” wide crown molding I’m making, with 5-1/2” wide bed molding below it,
the whole piece of ceiling trim is 13-1/2” wide. That’s a big piece of trim. The 8” crown molding alone could cost you $8 – $10 a lineal foot in this part of the country. You run a 10’ board through the Woodmaster, that’s an $80 board. How long does it take to make in the Woodmaster? About 5 minutes. That’s part of the savings I’m talking about here.
My advice for others who’re thinking of doing something like this? Joe at Woodmaster asked me, ‘Can you run a table saw?’ Of course I can, I’ve had one for a long time. ‘Then you can run the Woodmaster,’ he said.
If people want to know more about Woodmaster, I’d be willing to talk to them. Just call or email Woodmaster and get my number.”
— Mike W., Woodmaster Owner, North Texas
Do YOU have a Woodmaster story and photos to share? Email our editor!