What is a wood shaper?

I came across this large tool at a store, the salespeople could only speculate on what it does
It looks like these, http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&q=wood+shaper
If you often use one what have you made with it? Maybe I will return to the store and educate them with your knowledge.
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If you don't know what it is or how to use it, you don't need it.
Al in WA
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wrote:

Brief, sarcastic and damned accurate !
Shapers and spindle moulders are scary. They don't need to be quite so scary, but a badly made or badly used one is the most hazardous machine in the workshop.
In general, they're kind of an όberrouter - they have a shaped cutter on a vertical axis, and they make complex shaped sections in timber. They're on a whole different scale though. Not cheap either, for a good one. For small sections you can do the same things, but on a smaller scale, with a good 1/2" router in a table.
UK terminology differs from US. Here we talk about spindle moulders, not shapers. A spindle moulder has a spindle (a rod) which sticks up through a large hole in the table. There's easy height adjustment of the spindle and an adjustable fence to carry the stock past it. A slotted metal block (the "head") goes over this spindle and there are two or three shaped knives bolted into this block. The knives are replaceable and come in many shapes. A big advantage of spindle moulders is that knives are simple and cheaply made, compared to router cutters.
A typical spindle moulder has a couple of heads and a lot of knives. One head is a multi-purpose head to take different knives. Other heads or blocks may be specific to a particular knife set, such as a wiggle-line gluing block. Because head diameter varies, the table usually has a large hole in it and a set of filler rings to block it up to make it as small as possible.
In recent years, head design (in the UK) has changed. It's now a legal requirement for all heads in use to meet three requirements:
- They must have positive locking for the knives. As well as clamp screws, there muat be a pin that goes through the knife.
- The knives must have cut limiters - a blunt knife ahead of the cutting knife (or similar), so that there's a limit on how much depth each tooth can cut.
- The heads must be lightweight (aluminium not steel) so that the machine won't keep spinning for ages afterwards (some machines use brakes instead).
There's no grandfathering for this stuff, so old machines had to be upgraded with new heads. And a damn good thing too - loose knives were what made old spindle moulders so scary.
The fence and guards normally permit hand-feeding of stock, but for production and some more hazardous cuts it's usual to use a power feeder (motor and rollers on a movable arm). These are excellent devices and well worth having, especially if they have variable speed control. If you buy an old S/H 3-phase one, it's an excellent use for a small VFD to power it.
Some deep and complex profiles are best cut by a cutter entering at an angle, not square-on -- just like "springing" an old wooden moulding plane. This is a job for a tilting spindle moulder, where another adjustment can tilt the spindle in the table. This also allows you to cut several simple angled profiles (e.g. windowsills, roofing parts) by using a small set of standard knives and tilting the spindle.
In the UK, a shaper is like a smaller spindle moulder, but it has a router collet rather than a spindle. This may be as big as 1" diameter, bigger than a router. These are useful machines in their capacity, but they're no substitute for a spindle moulder and cost almost as much. There are also some convertible machines, but I've not seen one of these that inspired confidence. I don't know if these are found in the USA, or what you call them.
Spindle moulders are an excellent buy S/H. Heavyweight cast iron is more valuable here than it is on a cabinet saw! You're more likely to get a powered feed too. Don't buy the tiny Elu (aka Elektra Beckum and others) moulder with the tiny aluminium table. That machine is pure evil.
If you do get one, you need to outfit it with the full set of guards and to train yourself in how to use it. Mis-used, they can kill ! (and the guards are just to save fingers, they won't stop the really big accidents). A commercial shop joinery course, such as an NVQ, isn't excessive training. At the very least, read something like Lonnie Bird's "Shaper Book" <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
--
Smert' spamionam

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Think of it as the "router table from hell". It can do most of what a router in a table can do plus many more heavy duty jobs. It uses cutters with a 1/2 or 3/4 inch hole in the middle instead of a 1/4 or 1/2 inch shaft like a router bit, but it may also have an adapter available for it to allow it to use router bits as well. Most shaper bits can be stacked in different combinations to produce many different shapes with the same cutters. Shapers aren't as popular as they once were, mostly due to the availability of large routers and large router bits that can now make raised panels, but prior to the availability of the big routers they were the cabinet shop's tool of choice for making raised panels and cabinet doors. I still use, and in many ways prefer, mine over routers for these bigger cut jobs.
--
Charley

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The better shaper machines also allow you to tilt the arbor to give you even more cutting options and shaping variations. -- Regards,
Dean Bielanowski Editor, Online Tool Reviews http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com Over 50 woodworking product reviews online! ------------------------------------------------------------ Latest 6 Reviews: - Ryobi EMS1830SCL 12" SCMS - Bessey K-Body Clamps - Lumber Wizard Metal Detector - Pocket Hole Drilling Jig Project Book - Kreg Universal Bench Klamp - GRR-Ripper System & MJ Splitter ------------------------------------------------------------
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Woodcrafter responds:

Tilt arbor shapers do present more options, but in large part those options are not essential to jobs even pro shops do. I'd not call them "better" unless you want to also class triple spindle shapers as "better." They're a variant, and the variation adds about $500 to the price of the shaper (about what a sliding table adds) for a feature that relatively few people need.
Charlie Self "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." John Quincy Adams
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I just got one that looks like that paid $90!. I saw that shaper for $398 . It is like a router on steroids. It also has a reverse switch it says you can use it for grain in the other direction. I have to get some "bits" and try making some saw dust
Frank
ississauga wrote:

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<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> I just got one that looks like that paid $90!. I saw that&nbsp; shaper for $398 . <br>It is like a router on steroids.&nbsp; It also has a reverse switchit says you can use it for grain in the other direction. <br>I have to get some "bits" and try making some saw dust<p>Frank <p>ississauga wrote:<blockquote TYPE=CITE>I came across this large tool at a store, the salespeople could only <br>speculate on what it does <p>It looks like these,<br><a href="http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&q=wood+shaper ">http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=navclient&amp ;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=wood+shaper</a> <p>If you often use one what have you made with it? Maybe I will return <br>to the store and educate them with your knowledge.</blockquote></html>
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ississauga said:

It's a Shaper - kind of like a big heavy duty router table. It handles bits and stock that would be unmanageable on a small router table. It has the HP to run large bits at slower speeds. Makes deeper/heavier cuts than a router.
FWIW,
Greg G.
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ississauga wrote:

"The salespeople could only speculate on what it does"?
Where did you find it, in a dress shop?

Or maybe counsel them on a different career path.
UA100
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On 28 Sep 2004 17:38:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (ississauga) wrote:

it's a high speed machine that is prone to getting upset over small things and throwing the wood back at the offending person that fed it..
In short, it's for folks that know what they're doing and are experienced wood workers..
Unless you hire a crew of illegal's, you're not going to compete with "ready made" molding... best to shop for a better vendor and do what you do well and be successful at... YMMV
Mac
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wrote:

I'm not so sure. Mouldings carry a huge retail markup. If you're consuming a fair quanitity of this, and it's an easy moulding to shape, then it might be worth looking into.
--
Smert' spamionam

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And that's the truth! As I mentioned in another thread, four easy passes on a few bucks worth of oak made over a hundred bucks worth of flooring transitions. Of course it took one native an hour....

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On Wed, 29 Sep 2004 17:56:54 +0100, Andy Dingley

Agreed, Andy.. but he shouldn't be paying that retail markup if he owns a flooring business..
My point is (I think) that if you have a good thing going, do it and find better sources of supply... don't try reinventing the wheel and sacrifice time and energy from running the business..
I do web pages for a living.. I'm not going to try writing my own software to avoid buying FrontPage, because even if I learned enough to write it, I'd be losing so many hours that I could be earning money doing pages that in reality, I'd probably be paying 2 or 3 times as much for software.. (bad example, if you do the math, FP costs about the same as 4 hours of billable time)
Mac
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wrote:

Front Page is an asset though, not a consumable.
No, hang on....
If you do web pages for a living, what the hell do you want with RuntPage anyway ?
--
Smert' spamionam

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Andy Dingley said:

That what *I* was wondering as well. Even though it has improved somewhat since version 3.0, I despise FP. But it does integrate with most of Bill's other consumables, ASP being one of the more common things I have to deal with. Hmmm... well, it integrates as well as Windows can integrate with anything - including itself. And it still doesn't play well with browsers other than IE.
Heck, I still use Macromedia DW or code by hand.
And Access2000... Oh My God, What a mess... 50 different programmers all stuffing modules of code into one DB program - 10 methods to accomplish the same thing, and horrific bugs if you get a reference listed in the wrong order. DAO and ActiveX conflicts come to mind...
I'm getting a headache just thinking about it...
Greg G.
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On Thu, 30 Sep 2004 15:59:42 +0100, Andy Dingley

You misspelled "Page Affront", Andy.
--- - Friends don't let friends use FrontPage - http://diversify.com Dynamic Website Programming
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On Thu, 30 Sep 2004 15:59:42 +0100, Andy Dingley

the point that I was making is that I'm most efficient spending my time at the part of the business that I know and get paid to do, and let others that have other skills provide me with the tools/material/whatever... bad analogy, perhaps for a floor installer buying a machine to make his own cove & baseboard though..
BTW.. I use FP for it's organizational properties... I use a variety of programs to write or produce the pages, but publishing them with FP makes organization and management easy... (if it's on my HD, it's on the web.. delete it from the HD copy, it gets removed from the web)
No other program that I've tried will compare what's different and only publish changes and also keep me from cluttering up sites with old, unused pages and graphics so easily... YMMV
Mac
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wrote:

You work on your own, don't you ?
Oh, you'll learn....

Try rsync. It's FPSE, except that it doesn't screw up if someone goes in there with ftp.
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Better yet, use rsync over ssh - more secure. email me for syntax examples if you can describe what is where on which box.
Dave Hinz
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