Related Posts

Share This

Wood shapers and shaper bits

Wood shapers are a must piece of woodworking equipment for both the professional shop and the serious amateur woodworker. The machine itself is simple; it is a flat bed from which a vertical spindle protrudes. The spindle is driven from below at very high speeds; 3,000 to 10,000 RPM are quite common. The spindle design is such that various shaper bits or shaping tools can be quickly and easily mounted.

The operator slides a piece of wood along the face of the guide and into the rapidly spinning contoured blade. The result is a section of wood that has the edge prepared in exactly the mirror image of the shaper bit that was used. To insure that the profile is cut exact, the shaper has a long fence that is used to guide the work-piece.

Many people are more familiar with a router than wood shapers but they essentially perform the same function, especially when the router is mounted to a router table. Although they both do cut edge profiles on a piece of wood, the router is not designed for heavy duty use and is more often used as a portable hand tool. Wood shapers on the other hand are mounted in a stationary position and are designed for continuous use. Shapers are also used on much larger wood profiles.

Although we have been discussing wood shapers with the spindle in a vertical direction coming from below the table, there are variants that have the spindle and cutter mounted horizontally. This arrangement allows for the wood to be cut from the side rather than the bottom. The more common shaper has a vertical spindle.

There are a number of common accessories that are used on shapers; tilting arbor, sliding tables and interchangeable spindles are often part of the machine. Most spindles that are used for production machines are long enough to accommodate more than one bit, this makes the need for constant tool change unnecessary. Many high volume operations have multiple spindles already fitted with common tool bit arrangements which are quick to change, maximizing the machines efficiency.

The shaper is quite dangerous to operate but guards have been devised to mitigate the risk to the operator, there are also jigs and fixtures purpose made which help reduce the possibility of injury.

AllwoodInc is a supplier of quality woodworking machinery including wood shapers. With the largest inventory of new and used equipment in the area, you can be sure to have your equipment needs met.