How to Use the Moulding Head on a Radial Saw

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Use the Moulding Head on a Radial Saw
Make profile moulding with a moulding head and radial saw. (moulding image by Jim Mills from

Moulding heads can be used on any saw. They work just like a saw blade. On a radial saw, the moulding head is mounted above the wood. The motor of the saw is pivoted to run parallel with the fence instead of perpendicular like a radial saw normally operates. Care must be taken when running moulding through a radial saw to prevent lumber kickback and material being thrown back at the operator. If precautions are taken, radial saws work great for moulding.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Radial saw
  • Moulding head, any profile
  • 1 piece poplar lumber, 2 1/4-by-96-by-3/4-inch
  • Wood block, 2-by-4-by-1 1/4-inch
  • 1 hand clamp

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  1. 1

    Turn off the radial saw and unplug it. Pull the saw blade out to full extension and lock it in place. Take off the guard. Use the wrenches that came with the saw to remove the retaining nut and saw blade from the saw.

  2. 2

    Place the moulding head on the saw axle where the blade came off. Make sure the cutting edge of the moulding head is facing to the right. Put the nut back on and tighten the moulding head on just as you would a saw blade.

  3. 3

    Place the lumber on the fence on the right side of the blade. Lay a block of wood on top of the lumber approximately six inches from the blade. Place a clamp on the block of wood and tighten it to the fence. Tap down on the block until it holds the lumber tight against the bed of the saw. Push and pull the lumber back and forth under the block from the right side. It should be firm, but movable.

  4. 4

    Release the locking lever and let the saw slide back over the lumber. When the moulding head is directly above the lumber, lower the saw by turning the large wheel underneath the table. Turn the handle until the moulding knife touches the wood.

  5. 5

    Pull the wood away from the lumber just enough to clear the moulding head. Lower the moulding head two more turns.

  6. 6

    Plug in the saw and turn it on. Very slowly push the lumber into the spinning moulding head. When it begins to cut the edge, push another inch then turn the saw off. Check the depth of the moulding profile. Check the profile alignment from side to side. If it is adequate, turn on the saw and continue. If it is too shallow or too deep, raise or lower the head accordingly. If the moulding profile is not centred, move the saw toward or away from the fence to centre the profile.

  7. 7

    Turn on the saw and begin pushing the lumber underneath the cutter head. Push in a slow deliberate motion holding on with both hands. Do not stop until you get within 12 inches of the blade. Turn off the saw. Walk around to the leading edge. Hang on to the moulding with one hand. Turn on the saw. Take the moulding with both hands and pull the remaining 12 inches of moulding out of the saw.

Tips and warnings

  • Never attempt to feed lumber into the saw from the left side. Always feed lumber into the moulding head against the direction of rotation.

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