March 2005

Moulding Machine Offers Versatility

From straight to curved to elliptical mouldings,

a New York woodworking shop grows with moulder capabilities.

By Michaelle Bradford
Russo Woodworking produces 4,000 square feet of mouldings, including curves, a day. Anthony Russo purchased the Mikron 645 two years ago. Its floating table allows it to keep a true cut on an elliptical within 1?32 of an inch, Russo says.

Initially, Russo Woodworking, a family business, started out as a home building company. But the Babylon, NY, firm built its last home 10 years ago in Huntington, NY, because it became involved with renovation on a large estate, which eventually caused it to change its focus.

On this project, company owner Anthony Russo had to reproduce a large amount of mouldings for the estate. The owner suggested Russo set up machines in the garage and make the mouldings onsite.

Russo started off with a small machine from Williams & Hussey Machine Co. "I worked on that mansion for 10 years and produced every piece of its moulding," he says. "When the job was finished, I said to myself, 'Why would I even want to go back to building houses when this is what I want to do. I love it.' And I started [working solely on mouldings] here in Babylon two years ago."

At that point, Russo purchased a larger moulder, a Mikron 645 multi-moulder, and he says it helped increase his business dramatically.

"My business has grown 80 percent and for me, it is important because I supply distributors and lumberyards," he says. "I have to provide them with quality millwork, and that machine does it. All year-round it is true."

Today, Russo's three-man, 3,000-square-foot shop can output 4,000 square feet of moulding per day, depending upon the order, he says. He provides mouldings for 14 lumberyards, including ellipticals, straights, curves and built-up crowns.

Russo says he likes the machine's quick setup. "Also, the table floats. So when you are doing a right, tight radius on an elliptical, it keeps a true cut on that board within 1?32 of an inch because the table is moving to compensate for the sharp curve. I also have the machine with computerized depth for measuring, which is an option."

Growing the business

Little by little, Russo's business began to expand through word-of-mouth advertising. He went from a machine that did 16 fpm to a machine that did 26 fpm. "Now with the Mikron 645, I'm up to 65 fpm," he says.

With the Mikron 645, the feed rate can be slowed down or sped up, depending on what kind of wood is being used. "Hardwoods, you slow the speed down. Softer woods you can speed it up," Russo says. This is a helpful feature, because Russo Woodworking uses a variety of woods, including cherry, maple, popular, pine and teak.

Russo recently purchased a Mikron rosette machine and says he had read about both the moulder and the rosette machine in magazine advertisements. "I wanted this rosette machine for probably about three years, but I could not afford it," he says. "I was doing rosettes the old fashioned way on a drill press, but the business grew, and I started getting [CWB] and there it was. It kept staring me in the face, like 'Wow, I have to get this.' It was time. It completed my puzzle. Now I can do mouldings, rosettes - everything is in hand."

Russo says that as the business continues to grow he will keep upgrading machinery, buying bigger moulders. "Our company, my dad and myself, we are committed to providing quality millwork for the whole Eastern seaboard," he says. "I do not know if that is a mission statement or a goal, but it is all combined into one basically. We have not had callbacks on any mouldings. If you set up the machine correctly, the product comes out perfect. If you make shortcuts, then you have a problem."

According to Russo, maintenance on the moulder is easy. "There are grease fittings that you pump grease into every 30 hours," he says, "and just keep the beds and the rollers clean. It is simple."

                                                                                                                                                                                           

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