Monday, October 28, 2013

V4.43 - The Last Word on Wood Shapers

Ok, so we’re gonna wrap up our informational series about Wood Shapers this week. That is, unless you folks come up with some questions that I can answer for everyone. I’m finding this sort of column a bit more difficult than I imagined because I can’t show you any pictures of what I’m talking about. I guess I’m just more used to writing Instruction Manuals when I’m talking about the features of a machine. Instruction Manuals have pictures. Now, if I’m discussing how to fix something…well, I did that over the phone for more than 20 years and Skype didn’t exist. So, “picture-less trouble-shooting” is right up my alley.

Alright, so where were we? Ah yes… another useful tool for Wood Shapers is called a ‘hold-down’. These are usually spring steel and the mount for them attaches to the fence. They apply downward (toward the table) and inward (toward the infeed fence) pressure to help keep the work snug against the fence as it enters the cutting circle. (see how a picture would be perfect right about here?)

No discussion about tools is complete without talking about Safety. A Wood Shaper is probably one of the most dangerous tools in a shop. It can cause kickback and loss of fingertips. Here are some good rules to follow when using your shaper.

1: Always wear the proper clothing. Generally it is a good idea to take off any wristwatches or bracelets and to wear tight-fitting clothing. The use of short-sleeved shirts will minimize the possibility of being pulled into the cutter. Never wear loose-fitting clothing or neckties when using a shaper. 2: Always use the appropriate hold-downs and guards. 3: Keep the cutters sharp. Sharp cutters will cut with less friction and minimum tear out. Less friction means that you will not need to use as much force to move the work thru the cutters. 4: With some cuts, it is better to make several light passes, rather than to try to make the cut in one pass. 5: Always minimize the open area around the cutters and the fence. In other words, keep the fence edges as close to the guard and cutter as possible. Too much open space can lead to snipes, gouges, kickbacks or nicks in the work. 6: Use work controlling devices such as hold-downs or stock feeders whenever possible to keep the work snug against the fence and table. 7: Always push the work past the cutters when completing the cut. Never release the work while it is still touching the cutter.    

I’m not sure where we’ll go next time, but be sure to tune in. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. If you understand the reference, you’ve had more than a few birthdays.

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

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