I believe the American 2 1/2 sash sticker is a Rowley and Hermance design. It has their side head adjustments system. The 2 1/2 was made into the Yates-American years. It must have been a good seller. It is certainly a hit with me.

I acquired this machine in the mid eighties. It was in regular use in a specialty shop that made sash and door on a custom order basis. There was a small selection of knives for the common sticking and small mouldings associated with sash and door work. There was also an interesting collection of cap head knives, but the heads were no longer with the machine. This collection features an amazing array of variety the machine was used to produce.

The top head had been adapted from babbitt bearings to ball in fixed pillow blocks. This removed the ability to laterally adjust the spindle. Luckily, I was informed about another machine in the weeds which I was able to acquire and strip parts from. So now it is all babbitt and fully adjustable again.

The bottom head is driven like planer/matcher bottom head. The belt for the upper head runs over the belt for the lower head at an intermediate pulley. It is not driven from the tailshaft. One belt over the other in this arrangement reverses the direction of the lower spindle.

A nice feature of this model is that the bottom head is at the rear, unlike the 3 1/2. This allows me to split patterns as shown below.

In this case, multiple glass bead are run on top with finger knives, and separated at the bottom head. I make ogee stops in this way as well. I have other sash stickers which are actually easier for sash parts than this one. The feed works is limiting on this model so cutting circle issues can arise. The other stickers are open yielding so I can play with the cutting circle on them. But this model excels in being useful for mouldings and rabbeting jambs.

The bottom head I use for back out and surfacing. There is limited knife throw available. The bottom can take a slip on head but I have never had need to use the feature since I place knives on machine using my Stickerman’s Rule.

There are two schools on using squareheads. One is to grind the entire pattern in a single knife and balance it with something similar in weight or for real nice work an identical knife. The picture above shows what that knife will produce when cutting. The scale reads the additional knife projection needed to make the depths as shown. From left to right locates the knife on the head. The rule is set to reflect the distance from the end of the head to the fence or back of the bed and to determine the minimum cut knife projection (the highest part of the cut). Usually an eighth on an inch is required to keep the bolts from striking the finish surface of the wood.

The other school would use multiple knives or spikes to cut parts of the pattern on different sides of the head thus breaking up the chip. This reduces tear out a lot. In my knife room, this is the method preferred. It’s more flexible and works better.

To rabbet jambs I use the top head and usually remove the side head spindle. Same with small siding runs. The feed rolls are in various widths for narrow cuts. The rolls do leave marks which need to be removed in the cut. Deeper in cedar and pine than fir. Feed rolls are secured with left handed nuts.

As with any machine, favoring the grain is the key to getting good results. The heads are running at about 4200 rpm. Which is about as fast as I’d want to go. I use square and round heads with this machine. The spindles are 1″ which is sweet because I have 1″ spindle shapers.

I do not use the plowing feature. Just never really wanted to enough to belt it up.

The bottom head has a belt tensioner. Sometimes I slacken it to get purchase and then tighten it when the bottom head comes up to speed. The tailshaft is driven by a 7 1/2 HP electric motor in the case behind the machine. Machine can be fully lubricated in about three minutes. Most oil spots can be reached from the operator’s position with a 12″ spout oil can.


Small parts are fussy and require care in setting up. Here the detail is on top. But it is not run all the way through. The bottom head will take the surplus away. The idea is to leave enough material together to be sturdy while moving through the machine.  In order to help keep small dimensions rigid, I use a rabbetted guide to wrap the stock in an inverted channel as it passes from top head to bottom head.

The other focus here is to surface the near side from the top. To eliminate the possibility of tear out, I will shear the side from above.

The bead knife below in the picture. This is a combo knife for 5/16 or 1/4 inch beads. Or both at once with a pair of splitters. The shear knife is above. It is ground with a great deal of side relief and is set to a slight taper. This produces an exceptionally smooth cut that will not tear or raise grain. The knife is in the harder range for carbon steel. These same knives are used in pairs (always) to groove. You only want to shear on one side of such a knife at a time.

This is the leading end of the rabbetted guide. I am confining the part top and side. No buckling. If I get a shatter, chances are better that the parts will feed past the problem.

Here at the bottom head the surplus that has been stiffening our small moulding is removed. I usually pinch it down pretty well here because I am running against the grain, having favored the grain to the face on the top head. One thing I could have done here but didn’t would have been to advance the bed platen closer to the cut on the right.

Pile of small filleted glass bead. Smaller than this it’s time to run in multiples.

It still amazes me even after all these years that these old unwanted machines can still do such a nice job.

And here’s what the fuss was for. Pretty glass bead. It has taken me years to learn to make the fillet at 1/32nd of an inch in order to look good. More looks ok on paper but shitty in real life. It’s the radius, the shadow, etc..


Sash stickers are not four side machines. So to run four sides, two or more sides need to be surfaced with one of the three heads. I will show here running three sides on top and catching the face at the bottom head.

This is a pretty picture of the machine opened up. The top chipbreaker is up and the outfeed platen is down. You can see the up side down panel mould, the bottom cutting head. These machines allow about a half inch throw for depth of pattern in the bottom head. One gets a little better finish on the bottom. A bigger pattern would have to run on top. I actually want to run this on top to save setting up two heads (running s4s rippings) but the knives were intended to run below so I couldn’t be lazy. It’s better like this anyhow.

I backed the part out so we can see what the knives are doing. They are planing and shearing the sides. The sizers are left and right working the sides. i only run them as deep as the finish part requires. For one thing, I don’t want to spend my grind prematurely, and for another is that I need some stock left to run against the inside guide.

I should have though a bit more about this shot but the silly camera was blinking a death threat so I was in a hurry. The knife here is not the working knife. It’s its friend. But behind you can see the cut made here meeting the cut from above. And you can see that I didn’t run any deeper with the sizers than necessary to meet the face detail. Real clear where the side is against the hardwood guide.

No here’s the deal. Sizing knives like these need to be a slight angle. Shows real good here. So, it would not be an option in critical locations. But in the case of panel mould, base caps, picture rail it doesn’t matter. In panel mould I prefer this as it sets nice over irregularities and puts a slight pinch to the panel to counter any movement towards opening. Minutiae.

This is as wide a moulding as I will run on the sash stickers in a single pass. symmetrical Victorian casings I run one side, then the other when I don’t feel like using the bigger machine. A part detail on siding or baseboard will work with the side head removed.

I have matched on the sash stickers, but it requires very firm guides as the work is run vertical. And the distance between the heads is, like a moulder, not optimal for matching. But it works well enough in a pinch.

Fun Fun Fun!


Recently I decided to belt up the plow and bore attachment. It works well. Runs at a speedy clip. The side clamping bit heads need attention as they appear to have been used hard.


This is the belt from the intermediate shaft to the slotter cutter spindle.


The wide slot for thr pulley and the rope knot hole bore in in the near track. The smaller rope clearance slot is in the far track.


This is the borer spindle. It is driven from the tail shaft. A foot pedal elevates it to the cut at which point the threaded auger lifts the spindle to the stop at which point it drops out, the screw lead having stripped out the fiber.


This is what the stile looks like when done. Ready to go through the machine to get sticking.


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