Friday, October 18, 2013

V4.41 - Wood Shapers, part 2

Last week, we started our series on the Wood Shaper. We’ll pick that back up this week and give you a bit more information about this necessary wood shop machine.

Let’s talk about the shaper spindles; most spindles are solid, with different sized spindles or cutter holders on opposite ends, such as a collet to hold router bits or a stub spindle to hold cope cutters. All spindles can be raised and lowered which allows for adjustment of cutter height. Most shapers have the elevation handwheel at the front of the machine and a separate handle that locks the spindle in place at any desired height above the table.

A medium size shaper with a three-quarter horsepower motor is more than adequate for small cutters with a half-inch center bore. Cutters such as panel raising cutters or carbide cutters stacked for multiple cutting operations should be used only with shapers that have one and one-half horsepower, or larger, motors; and three-quarter inch or larger spindles. Some applications require the use of heavy-duty industrial shapers which can have motors as large as 7 horsepower.

On most shapers, the motor must have a speed of 3450 RPM in order to give the spindle the required speed. While there are certain applications the can better use a slower spindle speed, the optimum spindle speed is 10,000 RPM. Shapers may use a v-belt or a flat belt to transmit the motor speed to the spindle and some models have a reversing switch that will change the direction of rotation of the spindle and allow the user to turn the cutter over and feed in the opposite direction.

There are various spindles available that serve specific purposes. For example; the Stub Spindle is used for cope cutters; the Collet Spindle is used for router bits; the half-inch spindle is used for half-inch bore cutters; the three-quarter inch spindle is for three-quarter bore cutters and so on, up to inch and a half or larger spindles. Hollow spindle cartridges require auxiliary spindles with tie-rods so they can pass down thru the main outer spindle and be secured with a tapered nut that holds them tightly and safely while preforming shaper operations.

I’m not sure how much further we’ll get with this because it’s pretty difficult to describe things here on in, without using pictures… but we’ll see. I’ll do my best to give you some good mental visuals.    

Every shaper has a fence. ‘What’s a fence’ you say? In some cases it’s used to keep cows in, but on shapers the fence is used to brace the stock that’s being shaped.

We’ll get more into that next time.

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you. 

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