I came across this large tool at a store, the salespeople could only
speculate on what it does
It looks like these,
If you often use one what have you made with it? Maybe I will return
to the store and educate them with your knowledge.
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
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
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
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)>
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.
The better shaper machines also allow you to tilt the arbor to give you even
more cutting options and shaping variations.
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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.
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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
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I just got one that looks like that paid $90!. I saw that shaper
for $398 .
<br>It is like a router on steroids. 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
<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& ;ie=UTF-8&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>
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.
On 28 Sep 2004 17:38:37 -0700, email@example.com (ississauga)
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
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
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)
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...
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
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
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