Copying Old Moulding

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  #1  
Old 04-17-04, 03:53 PM
emsluis
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Copying Old Moulding

I am restoring an old home that has a great deal of very intricate moulding. Unfortunately at some point in the homes history, a remodel was performed where several rooms were redone and it appears that to save money the moulding was replaced with just a flat piece of pine. I would like to replace this cheap looking moulding substitute with moulding that matches the rest of the home. I have not had any luck trying to find the same moulding at any lumber yards and I have looked into having custom moulding made from a sample which I am told involves "cutting" unique knives that is very costly. Long story short from the estimates I have recieved I am looking in the $10K range for the moulding to be custom made. My question is: Is there any machine made that is reasonably priced that I could buy used to run the moulding myself? I know a machinist who I believe will be able to make a custom blade for me.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Ed.
 
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Old 04-17-04, 05:20 PM
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Unfortunately, there's no molding machine that I know of that's "reasonably priced". They generally run upwards of $1500 and you still have to have knives made for them to get custom moldings.

$10k sounds pretty steep unless you're looking for a really intricate molding - or you're wanting stain grade hardwood.

Another option would be to remove the old moldings from some rooms and use them to finish other rooms. Then, buy a commercial molding for the 'bare' rooms. The rooms won't match, but they'll look uniform.
 
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Old 04-17-04, 08:42 PM
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I would get on the telephone, internet, and ask around for a molding shop to get some quotes on this work. $10k sounds outrageous. I have had custom molding made, including the knives and not exceeded $4.00 a foot for a run of 200 - 300 feet.

Here are some web sites to peruse for comparison. You might be able find an exact match at a vintage molding house.

http://store.yahoo.com/vintagewoodworks/headblocks.html

http://www.jimillingworthmillwork.com/mouldings2.htm

http://www.artisansdoors.com/millwork/index.html

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 04-17-04, 10:38 PM
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A couple suggestions:

A 3 hp router will drive 1/2 shank moulding bits. Actually the bits are moulding profiles designed as router bits, instead of shaper knives. A number of companies make them. The table and guide can be built.

Visit LRH Enterprises at http://www.lrhent.com/ They make custom moudling and router bits. They balanace every one made. I'm sure your friend could too, but probablly not to the same degree. The same company is the only company that makes the "magic moulder" - a "vertical moulder" attachment for a table saw.

The book "architectural graphic standards" contains standard moulding profiles. They are numbered. My copy, 1931 version, is a hand-me-down. It contains a number of old profiles. The local librany may have a copy, or may have an inter-loan program.

There is a new company (off-shoot of one that is closing) in Washintion State that might be of interest, if you have a more than a thousand feet to run. If this is the case, and you want to negotiate your own deal...
 
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Old 04-17-04, 11:18 PM
emsluis
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions, the moulding cutter that mounts in the table saw looks promising for some of the smaller moulding I would need to make. When I went to the first custom millwork place in the area and they told me around 10K give or take a grand I literally laughed and walked out. By the third place that gave me a similar response, I wasn't laughing anymore. I'm told the previous mouldings were origionally stained before someone painted them and they believe the wood is oak. The most expensive per foot is the casement and crown mouldings. The casement is almost 8 inches wide and at its thickest part is 2.75 inches. It has several beads of different radius' running down it. The crown moulding is aprox 10" accross and has (I believe this is the correct wording) a dental detail on the bottom. I've made a rough total and I'm looking at right around 1000 linear feet of moulding. The middle of the road quote has the wood and cutting cost at 7500 and the cost of making the knives at 2500. They claim they would need to make 12 different knives for the job. Simply stated, 10K is not in my budget for moulding. Thanks for the links to the reproduction sites, I am thinking of replacing all of the moulding with something currently available (therefor less expensive) but that will still look like it belongs there.
Thanks again for the insight,
Ed.
 
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Old 04-18-04, 06:53 AM
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I am thinking of replacing all of the moulding with something currently available (therefor less expensive) but that will still look like it belongs there.
This sounds like a sensible plan. Even if you wanted to have an old style m ade, getting something that is offered by an existing operation would keep the cost down.

It seems as if you had a formidable task trying to match the old molding. When styles get sufficiently dated, reproducing them can be prohibitive. In my old house, none of the doors is a standard size. They were all made at the local shop once the framing was complete. They fit the individual openings fine, but are not interchangeable.

Good luck.
 
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Old 04-18-04, 07:26 AM
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From your descriptions of the sizes and materials, the $10k (~$10/LF) isn't all that outrageous after all. You're definitely talking about built up moldings and fabricaton of the individual pieces is only part of the cost. They either have to be built up then cut and installed, or cut and installed in pieces to get the final profile. Either way, there's a lot of skilled labor involved.

Making your own moldings only makes sense if you truely can't find what you want commercially. Sometimes, I make my own on my shaper using commericial cutters but only when I can't find the profile or wood species I need. In those cases, $10/LF is a realistic cost.
 
 

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