This is an American No 3 1/2 Sash Sticker. I believe it is a Rowley and Hermance design. This model has a jointer style bed. The bottom head comes first. I presume the idea was to take the stock somewhat out of wind. I don’t think this model was a real winner, but, It’s winner with me. I run all sash and door parts on this machine. It runs nice, is easy to use, and serves me well. I have had it since 1983.

This was the first old machine I acquired. I had been using a host of small shapers for my sash work. This machine, once I figured it out, put me in a different league and made production much simpler.

I use round and square heads on this machine. The square do a better job on account of breaking up the chip (similar to helical insert heads) when using clustered knives.

I do not use the bottom head on this machine. No call for it. It might have some utility in preparing rough stock but I have always used the jointer and planers for that. You can see here the importance of keeping the parts butted continuously.


Here are a few details on how a sticking is set up a hundred years ago. Time travel in color. This will be an ovolo sticking suitable for insulated glass glazing.

First the two rabbetting knives are set using the stickerman’s rule. the end stop on the rule is set match the distance the head runs inside the back of bed of the machine. This half inch or so allows a little room for knives working the inside edge of the pattern. The projection and location of the rabbett indicate on the rule scale. Each knife, its bolt,washer, and nut have been balanced on the scale. In this case, the two knives are both working at the same projection so they need to weigh the same; both sides of the head must weigh the same and be in line with each other.

Once both are set and secured, the hood is placed and the head turned by hand – the idler is lifted to release the belt tension — to make sure the knives will not strike the hood. Then the machine is run at speed to check the balance. This is an easy balance to make as both side project the same and are doing the same work.

Ovolo knives come in all different sizes. It is good to keep a bunch around in the basic increments: 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2. Larger need to be run on larger heads and with thicker steel. This is a 3/8 ovolo which is what we want for a 1/2 sticking. The rule shows the shoulder, the radius, and the fillet. The knife is slightly rotated here to get my points exactly where I want them.

This is the balance. It is cutting the highest part of the pattern. The rule has a back plate that adjusts for this cut. I have it set here for a rather short projection. For technical reasons. This side of the head needs to be heavier than the opposite with the ovolo knife because it is not projecting much at all. Too heavy or too light and the head will run out of balance which is not good at all.

Here we can see what’s going on. the ovolo, its balance doing the flat, and one of the big rabbetters end view.

Here we test the highest part of the cut by placing a surface at the zero cut elevation. we want to be sure that the bolt and nut will not strike the work. Generally, the short bolts need to be used for knives that cut near the minimum cutting circle (which is shown at the bottom of the stickerman’s rule).

With the bed set at the cutting circle the bed is now set up the amount equal to the amount of material needed to be removed. To get a clean cut with a detail like this 3/32 is a pretty good bite. More in Ponderosa Pine or Cedar. Sometimes less in Fir depending on the grain. Most machines have some kind of marks scribed on the frame to show where the happy place is. Put there by an experienced hand.

At the happy place, the rolls are lowered. The weights on the rollers are adjustable. Just enough bite to drive the work though the machine without making deep imprints. We are about ready to see the test cut.

Well look at that. Now it’s time to put in a pressure shoe and guide to keep the material secure as it passes through the machine.

Just wanted to point out that longer bolts do not interfere with the cut behind the deeper rabbetting knives.

Now we are up and running. The guide which I have riding in the glass rabbet is in place. The wood guide screws onto the adjustable iron shoe. I keep the lock on the shoe snug but not tight. When running small adjustments can be made. It needs to be firm but not too tight. When feeding, one can feel the movement of the stock. It it is jittering, the shoe is down to tight. There is a happy place. It is a lot like adjusting the outfeed of a jointer. You want to be a hair higher than the cut here but not enough to let the work chatter or snipe. These early stickers also have hold down springs. You can see it on the wood guide. It actually works pretty good like this. I have a little tension in it.

This picture above also shows the good spot to pause. the polish from the knives will be in joint so no one will see it. And, it’s a good position to retrieve the stile from the outfeed if you don’t want to pile them up on the outfeed table. I’ll let small parts pile up but door stiles are heavy and I don’t want them dinged up.

Stiles coming and going. On heavy parts like these I ramp up the far end of the out feed table to keep the leverage of the drop from binding the trailing end of the part from binding at the pressure shoe. The four side spring posts are not set tight. Just a little bit each. Four little bits add up to some, which is enough. You also don’t want to compress fibers. It will shoe in stain finishes. The most important thing that keeps the parts against the fence or back of the machine, is to have accurately jointed the part at perfect right angles to the face. Inaccuracy is magnified by the height of the part. If you are not flat on the table, no amount of spring pressure or feed roll lead will make up for the parts desire (with feed roll pressure bearing down) to tip in or out and mess up the sticking, either by running off pattern and /or by running out of square.

The lever with the turned handle engages the feed. Here we see the stiles entering the machine. I usually run stiles then rails. No reason. The rails and bars are set within easy reach so one can move quickly. There is a set up part there too. that is for driving through the last part, a necessity with “push through” machines.

Here is what happens when the rails run tenon to tenon. Nothing happens. And, another good place to pause the feed if it’s time to pick up sticks on the out feed table or take a break.

If you’re not bored yet you be wondering about the bars. I run bars twice, flipping them so as to never be running against the grain. This is not a high production situation where waste is cheaper than time. I want no defects. This scene shows the first pass. The bed has been turned up for the narrow stock. Side springs relocated.

This is the second pass on the other side of the bars. A sled is placed in the bed. It has a block on the infeed end to keep it from advancing with the part though the machine. It is oak and waxed and supports the part in the rabbet. Not all sticking need to be sledded like this. It depends on the pattern.

Here are a few shots showing sticking door bottom rails.







All of which serve to answer the question: Why Do Sash Sticker Tables Go So Low?.


Here’s another one. I got it for parts but then I found I had parts for it so I guess I have to save it now. Besides, it may even be better than the other. In the view above I have already swapped out the plow and bore attachments as per plan.

Two things I am interested in on this machine is the use of this new endless belt. It is leather two ply with nylon core. I have heard these are very good. I would never buy one new because I am not a Doctor or a Wall Streeter. But it’s always fun when something royal comes to a bottom feeder.

The other thing is that this appears to have an original ball bearing top and bottom spindle set up. Or a very good looking conversion.

Later on. Well, I have un-swapped the plow and bore attachments.  Neither fit quite right in the other’s places. So the old one will retain its steel fabricated version and the ball bearing machine will keep its original cast version. The clearances for the two groover cutters was just not quite the same so I decided to leave them alone rather than have to mess around with both to get things to work right.


The other 3 1/2 is now in San Diego! Getting new life!

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