Q & A: What’s the Deal with Combination Planer/Molders?
I’m shopping for a planer, and
am also planning to do a bunch of
trim work in my house: crown
moldings, door casings, and the like.
I’m intrigued by the planers that also
can be used to make moldings. What
do you think of them?
The least expensive molder/planers
sell for around $800 and have a
13-in. capacity. This is around $500
more than you would pay for a similarsized
portable planer by the same manufacturer.
One thing you’re getting for
the extra money is stability; the
molder/planer weighs three to four
times as much as the portable planer,
and has its own stand. You also get a
heavy-duty induction motor, rather
than the lighter universal motor of the
portable planer. Simply put, you’re getting
a heavier-duty machine that will
put in more miles of planing, but also
costs more and takes up more space.
Whether you can save money making
your own molding depends on how
much you cut, and how much you pay
for lumber. In our neck of the woods,
1×4 oak sells for around $1.60/ft., and
oak crown molding sells for around
$2.50/ft., so you can save about $1.10/ft.
The cutters for crown molding cost
around $100, so you break even at 90 ft.
of molding,which is a couple average size
Cost aside, a molder/planer gives
you the unique capacity to make moldings
from cherry, white oak or other
interesting woods.You won’t find these
moldings at the lumberyard!
This story originally appeared in American Woodworker Tool Buyer's Guide 2002.