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Woodworkers often need to create rounded edges on their woodworking projects. A wood shaper is a tool that can be used for this purpose.
Woodworkers typically use a wood shaper in place of sandpaper when working with hardwoods or when finishing projects because they offer more control than sandpaper does.
What is a Wood Shaper?
Wood shaping machine is a powerful tool that can be used for shaping, dimensioning, rounding over edges, and much more.
This tool is basically composed of a steel base that locks into place with screws on your table saw. It allows the user to secure the tool in place which gives them more control.
What is a Basic Guideline on How to Use a Wood Shaper?
Wood shapers are great tools that can greatly improve the outcome of your projects if used properly, but it is important to understand how cutter bits work and how to use them properly.
Step 1: Follow Manuals
Make sure you understand and follow all instructions that came with your wood shaper. These manuals will help you get a better understanding of your machine and ensure your safety while working.
Step 2: Clamp Your Wood Shaper in Place
You will need to clamp it into place with a clamp or some sort of locking mechanism. The clamp can be squeezed together with the blade in between, or it can be clamped to the shaper table if the blade is not wide enough for this.
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Step 3: Make sure the pressure is right
To use a wood shaping machine, it should be pressed against the surface of the workpiece with moderate pressure by a power feeder.
This is done by starting on one side of the workpiece and using long strokes with the wood spindle. It does not have to be perpendicular to the surface of your workpiece, but you want to have it leaning towards one side slightly.
Step 4: Begin with a Roughing Pass
Begin with a roughing pass, making sure that the wood router bit is contacting the workpiece. Make adjustments to the router table height and router speed if necessary.
Step 5: Switch Positions
After every few passes, you will need to switch positions and flip the workpiece over. You might also want to move it around several times while using the wood spindle for best results. Continue this process until your desired result is achieved.
Step 6: Use Sandpaper
Once you feel like you have shaped or dimensioned the wood to your desired results, it is time to scrap it with sandpaper before finishing.
Step 7: Test Your Finished Product
You can test your finished product by running your router along the edge of a scrap piece of wood to ensure you have achieved the desired result.
Accessories for the Wood Shaper Cutter
- Spindle or spindle gouge
- Riser block
- The bit with spurs ( to prevent tear-out)
- Plunge router (Pocket holes need to make on the bottom side of the material)
- Router speed control (12,000 RPM is the maximum recommended spindle speed for this type of cutter)
- Dust collector port ( in spindle)
- Drawbar ( for changing router bits)
- Miter gauge
Here are Some More Tips on Controlling the Shaper
You will need to do many things before using interchangeable spindle shaper cutters, but with practice, you will be able to achieve the results you desire without too many issues.
1. Keep the cutter perpendicular to the workpiece at all times.
2. Use a low cutter speed (3000 RPM) for best results.
3. Take small passes with the cutter bit because it is better than taking large ones that can cause kickback or rough edges.
4. Make sure that you use a cutter head that is the appropriate size for the cutter diameter that you have.
5. Use feather boards to control chip out and reduce tear-out when using shaper bits with larger cutter diameters.
6. After every few passes, take note of the contour and make any adjustments necessary to get the smooth finish you desire.
7. Electric routers are preferable to air-powered models because they give you more control over the cutter bit.
8. Make sure that the cutter has spurred on it for best results when using hardwoods, or use a cutter without them if possible.
9. Also check the power feeder for a wood shaper machine. You should also power it on and power it off when needed if you have a power feeder for your machine.
Having power and belt tensioned and set right before using the equipment is important too. Make sure that you are comfortable with the type of power feeder, foot pedal, or push and turn power feeder.
10. When using cutter bits with over 3 cutter diameters in cutter diameter, you will want to lower your cutter speed and make sure that you use a cutter bit with spurs on it for best results.
That is all there is to using a wood shaping machine when working with hardwoods.
How Wood Shaper Can Help Your Woodworking?
Wood shapers are extremely useful for woodcarvers and woodworkers when they are looking for a way to get refined and detailed results.
The cutter bits generally have a flatter profile than a traditional cutter bit, allowing you to get a level surface.
Woodworkers will be able to shape the wood the way they want with less resistance from any grain or other factors which can lead to tearing out or divots in the wood.
Wood shapers are designed for stability, making them easier to control during the shaping process. They are generally used with a router table to make the entire process less strenuous and allow you to achieve better results overall.
Considerations for Safety
There are some safety considerations that can be made while using cutter bits with wood shapers:
i). Check that cutter bit and shaper spindle/spindle gouge is sharp and in good condition with no significant damage.
ii). When routing, you should use safety glasses to protect your eyes from material that can become dislodged when using wood shapers.
iii). Make sure all of the controls on the router table are set to stop the cutter bit from spinning if something was to go wrong.
iv). Make sure all of the cutter bits and shaper cutter spindles/spindle gouges are cleared of any debris before using it.
v). Use a vacuum cleaner with a canister to help keep cutter bit and spindles/ cutter spindle gouges are clear of debris when in use.
Our article has talked about how to use a wood shaping machine for woodworking projects. It has highlighted the factors which you should consider when using woodworking machine cutter bits with a wood spindle to make sure it’s done safely.