In the first installment of this review, I looked at the set up of the Woodmaster 718, shared some initial impressions, and shared the results of my planing tests. In this segment I will look at the remaining functions that the 718 performs; drum sanding, gang ripping and molding, and will also share some observations about dust collection.DRUM SANDING. I think it is brilliant to offer this as an add-on to a planer and I am surprised that other tool manufacturers don’t do so. My shop is modest in size, and I had not been willing to give up the floor space for a dedicated drum sander, so having it share the footprint of my planer is a huge bonus.
Overall I think the drum sander is pretty decent, but if I had significant drum sanding requirements I would likely try to find a creative way to fit a dedicated drum sander into my shop. The 718 has a smaller diameter sanding drum (3-1/4″), which does not deliver as flat of a sanding surface as larger dedicated drum sanders which typically have 5″-6″ diameter drums. But for my needs, which include occasionally flattening a glued up panel or sanding an end grain cutting board, I have found it more than adequate. I expect to do a bit of work with a random orbital sander after running it through the drum sander, and I am OK with that for occasional use. The trade-off is shop space vs. time, and I have more time than space.
Initial Installation. I installed the drum sanding cylinder and applied the hook and loop backing. The process was straightforward. The changeover between planing and sanding was about a 10 minute operation the second time I did it, which was quicker and simpler than I expected. It is interesting to note that the sander uses a larger pulley and belt to slow down the rotation speed, which reduces the chances of burning, particularly with finer grit abrasives.Watch a video on the changeover process here: Woodmaster 718 Changeover Process
The flatness produced on this compared to starting with a hand held belt sander was outstanding, and the speed was equally impressive.
Given the smaller drum size, I have to admit that it has surpassed my expectations as a drum sander. In addition to the time savings and quality improvement, I love the dust capture of the 718 compared to using a belt sander to flatten glue-ups. For a tool that requires zero incremental footprint (given that I have already allocated the space for a planer), I really couldn’t be more pleased. If I ever move into a bigger shop I will likely invest in a dedicated drum sander with a larger drum, as this will deliver even better surface quality. But for now this is far better than no drum sander at all.
MOLDING. It is, perhaps, the molding capability that separates this machine more than anything else. The power, precision, and weight of the 718 make it an ideal platform for milling anything from a chair rail to log siding and anything in between. With over 600 stock profiles and a custom molding knife service, the possibilities are virtually endless. It seems that many people purchase this machine primarily for the purpose of running a molding business, and the testimonials of these customers are impressive. While I don’t have an interest in starting a production molding business, I occasionally have a need for molding on a furniture project, and I do a fair amount of DIY work as well so I am sure that I will find plenty of use for this functionality.
GANG RIP SAW. For prepping stock for large molding runs, the gang rip saw capability is a neat option. It allows for safe, quick ripping of multiple strips in a single pass, which delivers better quality and consistency compared to performing this function on a table saw.
Dust hood.The dust collection hood that comes with the 718 is solidly constructed of 14 and 16 gauge welded steel with a 4″ dust port. It is also positioned at an optimal angle to capture debris as it flies off the blades or abrasives, assisting its launch into the dust port and improving capture rate.
With adequate suction, I am able to collect the majority (nearly all) of dust and debris. In my setup, I have a 6″ dust hose that goes right up to a reducer down to 4″ at the 718. With this configuration I can pull over 850 CFM from my cyclone, and the collection is quite good. It requires some serious air movement, however, to collect adequately, which I would expect from an 18″ cutterhead that can take such a deep cut. Before moving the 718 to its permanent location, I ran a 14″ x 4″ flexible hose to it, connected to the same dust collector. Because of the long section of flexible hose my CFM dropped to around 550 CFM (35% drop), and I noticed a significant decrease in collection, with copious amounts of shavings and dust spewing about. This is an example of why it is important to minimize the flex tubing to maximize suction at any large debris producer such as a large planer. For more information on how to optimize your dust collection ductwork, see my article on this topic here: Hooking Up Your Tools for Better Dust Collection.
OVERALL CONCLUSIONS. This machine has exceeded my expectations on nearly every front. The power, precision, and flexibility are all outstanding. As a furniture maker, I will use the planer functionality first and foremost. If I look at the machine strictly as a planer, I believe it holds its own with comparably priced dedicated stationary planers, and has the unique attribute of being American made. When I consider the other functions that that the 718 offers (molding, gang rip, drum sander), I believe that this machine delivers more value per square inch of shop space than any other piece of stationary equipment on the market today.
Photos By Author
718P-153/Model 718 with Pro-Pack/$2,874
718-SH2/Spiral head for 718 planer/$1,125
3875P/Farm Duty 5HP motor upgrade/$195
WM47T/Crown Top 11/16″ x 4-5/8″/$95
WM47B/Crown Bottom 11/16″ x 4-5/8″/$95
Woodmaster Tools, Inc.