Thursday, January 19, 2012

V3.3 - Wood Shapers, part 3

Fences. Yep, that’s where we left off. So that’s where we shall resume.

On a shaper, the fence is placed on the table top and secured to the table with two long threaded rods, usually with knobs on top. The fence acts basically like the tables of a jointer, laid on their side. The infeed fence side controls the depth of the cut and the outfeed fence side supports the stock after it has passed the cutters. The biggest difference between the two is that the outfeed of the jointer is pretty much always higher than the infeed. That is not always true on a shaper. If the stock is not being removed from the entire edge of the workpiece, the outfeed fence will need to be level with the infeed so as to support it properly. Most shaper operations are this way.
One of the most innovative fence systems to come along in the past 20 years was the segmented fence. This fence consists of fence “fingers” that are small slats of material and they can be adjusted to conform more closely to the cutters and guard outline for better support and dust collection. For best results the opening between the fence halves should never be more than is just enough to clear the cutters and/or guard.
Speaking of guards, there are two basic types for most shapers. The “ring guard” is, as it sounds, a small ring that is mounted on an overhanging arm and it encircles the top of the spindle. The most familiar shaper guard nowadays is the polycarbonate/Lexan, clear or orange-colored disc guard with the rounded edge. It sits on top of the cutter(s) and comes with bushings and washer kits to allow it to fit most spindles. This disc has a high-speed, pre-lubricated ball bearing center that mounts directly on the spindle. It keeps the operators fingers out of harms way, away from the revolving cutter. It minimizes flying chips and yet allows excellent vision to see the work as it is being shaped.
One of the most necessary parts of a shaper is the sliding jig. Its purpose is to clamp the work securely so that it can be advanced into the cutters. It is primarily used in creating return moldings across the ends of narrow strips.
Of course each shaper has an on/off switch and most of them are mounted within easy access of the operator. Some shapers have a movable arm that can be raised above the rear of the table for very good switch access. The switch for reversing the motor is usually on the side of the motor itself.

For now, let’s end our discussion and we’ll see if we can find some more “good juice” for next week.

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