Shaper Bit and Spot's Tale


Some of you old timers here might recall this post I made years back. For the newer folk, it's still quite relevant to the question about the shaper bit. <grin> I'll also post the Haircut tale, if anyone's ever interested.
Nonny
Spot's Tale.
With a hobby of woodworking, I frequent a newsgroup called rec.woodworking on occasion. There, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I recounted a very true tale that was both understood and appreciated by many fellow woodworkers.
Well, friends, let me recount a little tale to you that involves my new Grizzly shaper, a panel raising bit and an old cat that used to hang around a sunny window sill in my shop. His name was Spot.
For those of you who may not have yet played with a shaper, these are big, floor-mounted tools that can be likened to an 800 pound router. Most have interchangeable spindles to handle different sized bits. Grizzly sells theirs with a very complete compliment of extra spindles of various sizes. The spindles have a Morse taper for alignment, but are locked in place with a draw bolt that is inserted up from the bottom of the female Morse and into the male Morse component. This locks it down into the socket, so to speak Because of this, the vibration of a bit will not loosen the spindle and permit it to fly out of the socket..
One particular afternoon, I'd made all of the rail and style cuts for some cabinet doors, and decided that it was time to see just how my new panel raising bit from Grizzly would work. Unlike some panel raising bits, this bit was BIG- over 5" across- and had a slight pitch to the three cutting blades to direct airflow and chips downward. Being so big, it necessitated me removing the 3/4" spindle from the shaper and inserting the 1".
Old Spot was my daughter's cat, and was absolutely fearless in the shop. He would just perch on a wide window sill in the sunlight, watching outside for birds or whatever else might catch a cat's attention. He simply ignored me. Old Spot was an indoor "house" cat. Once my daughter went off to college, Spot decided that he'd spend most of his days in the basement shop with me, since that was where all the action was. He was always a welcome visitor and companion. He always listened to me as I would "talk out" my plans for the day.
On the particular day in question, I inserted the large spindle in the shaper, and slid on the huge panel raising bit. Being intimidated of the shaper in general, and panel raising bit in particular, I took good precautions in seeing that the bit was firmly seated and that the retaining nuts were tight.
Satisfied with my enterprise, I reached down and turned the shaper "on." At that moment, as my fingers mashed the button, I remembered two things I'd overlooked.
1) I hadn't switched the belt from the 10,000 RPM position to the 7,000 RPM position; and,
2) I had forgotten to insert the draw bolt to hold down the spindle.
With the sound of a jet engine, the shaper's 5-hp motor revved to full speed. As it did, I watched in horror as the several pound- 5" panel raising bit I had fastened so securely to the 1" spindle, rose magnificently out of the shaper . . attached to the spindle itself. In a way, it looked like a cross between a Frisbee designed by a madman and some "space toy" that my kids might buy. Being of sound mind, I decided that the safest place to be at that moment was lying on the floor with my hands over my head. As the bit rose into the air, I dove for the ground.
Now, here's where old Spot comes into the tale-
It seems that old Spot had been "short taken" in the shop that afternoon, and had decided that the pile of shavings beneath the shaper was superior to running upstairs to his litter box. It had never happened before, and never happened since, to the best of my knowledge. He had either ingested something that didn't agree with him, or my wife may have given him one of his pills for hairballs. It really didn't matter at that moment. . . as I dove headfirst into the shavings and their semi-liquid content.
The shaper bit and spindle sailed slowly and magnificently over my head, sounding like a jet engine, and crossed another 6' of shop before crashing into a door. The door literally exploded, with one of the panels and style of the door shattered as easily as if they'd been hit with a canon.
When I rose to take stock of the situation, it was apparent that before I could even begin to start cleaning up the damage, that I needed to change shirts and shower. (My good wife later suggested that I probably should have changed my shorts- but not because of the cat)
Spot lived another 2-3 years after that adventure, but finally succumbed to Leukemia one equally cold afternoon. Even now when I look out Spot's window, I sometimes still think I see him there, but when I see the stain he left on the floor of my shop, I don't miss him quite as much.
Respectfully submitted. . . . Nonny
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Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 10:00 PM Newsgroups: rec.woodworking Subject: Question about using big panel raising bit

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RES wrote: ...

That's a "stile"...
And I suppose at least the canon could have administered the last rites if required...
--
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Thank you for catching those spelling errors. I'll go back and correct those on the original
Nonny
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Does the haircut tale begin with an imminent ocean cruise and a dust collector?
Already saved for posterity.
Norm
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wrote:

Yes, and ends with various and sundry death threats that still are valid to this very day.
Nonny
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