Shapers and Euro Tooling - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Shapers and Euro Tooling

I figured I would post this in the safety section.

I'm wondering how many folks here use shapers and are familiar with the modern, European style of chip limiting cutter heads?

They're all I use nowadays.

Brent
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 04:46 PM
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Never heard of them.... post away!

What do you have videos? ... links?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What do you have videos? ... links?
I did a video series on shapers for small shops which includes some discussion about chip limiter tooling, but it's sorta buried in amongst the weeds!

Here's the nitty gritty from the HSE in the UK: Came from here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/woodworking/tooling.htm




Benefits of chip-limited tooling

The limiter reduces the depth of cut so Ďkick backsí are less likely to occur.

Ejection of the tools was common with the old style cutters as they were only held in place by the friction from clamping bolts. Chip limited tooling has two ways of securing the cutters, preventing ejection.

The reduced depth produces a better finish, so less sanding is required, reducing the health risk and improving production.

Chip limited tooling is much better balanced so there is less vibration when it runs. This has the following benefits:

With high revolution machines such as CNC routers vibrating tools can be ejected with serious consequences;
Less vibration means there will be also be a reduction in noise levels. In addition, noise levels will also be reduced if the tool body is made from aluminium, a feature of some chip limited tools. Lighter aluminium bodies also reduce forces on the motor during braking as well as making the tools easier and safer to handle.
Less vibration means that the tool cuts more efficiently so it can therefore have a three to four times longer tool life. In addition, there will be an improved finish and less wear on the shaft and bearings of the machine.
The old style tooling requires a lot more skill and time to set up correctly. Chip limited tooling is simpler to set up and therefore reduces down time during changeover. Also, as it is more likely to be right first time less timber is wasted. One head can also have several different profiles which also reduces set up times.
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 07:39 PM
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Other than the cost I don't see a problem with them. I use smooth steel in my shaper without a problem.
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Other than the cost I don't see a problem with them. I use smooth steel in my shaper without a problem.
It's hard to get around being more expensive with twice as much steel in the limiter style units but I think for most small to medium sized shops that don't put out thousands of one type of thing, they're more cost effective than brazed tooling that can kind of be "one trick ponies".

I invested in a nice Freeborn T&G head because I will be making miles of T&G in oak and pine for my shop, plus flooring for some other buildings, but for me personally, I think that's the only type of brazed head that would pay off for me.

That being said.....I could buy a lot of replacement HSS knives for my euroblocks for what I paid for the Freeborn.....better not think about it. I already own it! :)

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post #6 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Here are a couple of big limiter heads. One pin retained, one serrated. The one with the serrated block (blanks installed just for show.....not ground) also has limiter style panel raisers in the background. Pretty scary when these whirl up to speed the first time!

B
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 08:33 PM
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As far as I'm aware not very many people still use shapers in home shops. Mostly left for large production operations. I own a shaper and plenty of cutters for it but the thing scares me so I've never turned it on. I might one of these days.


-T
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeebyWoodWorker View Post
As far as I'm aware not very many people still use shapers in home shops. Mostly left for large production operations. I own a shaper and plenty of cutters for it but the thing scares me so I've never turned it on. I might one of these days.


-T
It's interesting because in Europe they are as common in home shops as a jointer is here. In the right hands with good tooling, techniques and guarding they are safe and perform so many things so much better than a router table. I never use the table saw and dado stack for cutting rebates anymore, and if I have a lot of things to mill to the same width, I'll use an outboard fence on the shaper and feed them through with the power feeder....safer than ripping on the cabinet saw and with a shear-cut rebate block, produces a better finish sometimes. Even if I went back to just hobby scale work, I wouldn't be without my shaper.

It got a bad rep from people getting mangled hands, and impaled by thrown knives etc, and it's too bad.
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 08:48 PM
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Angry Ok, turn it on .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeebyWoodWorker View Post
As far as I'm aware not very many people still use shapers in home shops. Mostly left for large production operations. I own a shaper and plenty of cutters for it but the thing scares me so I've never turned it on. I might one of these days.


-T

Just don't run any wood through it.
Home shops just don't need a shaper in my opinion when a good 3 HP+ router in a lift and table will do almost everything a small shop needs. A shaper has a large nut on the top of the spindle to hold the cutters on which prevents any top down router operations. On the other hand, a router will allow you to plunge into the wood at any point to make stopped grooves or dados. It's more versatile and better suited for the profiling operations typically done in the home shop. You can make stiles, rails and raised panels with the proper cutters and a 3 + HP router.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-23-2019, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Just don't run any wood through it.
Home shops just don't need a shaper in my opinion when a good 3 HP+ router in a lift and table will do almost everything a small shop needs. A shaper has a large nut on the top of the spindle to hold the cutters on which prevents any top down router operations. On the other hand, a router will allow you to plunge into the wood at any point to make stopped grooves or dados. It's more versatile and better suited for the profiling operations typically done in the home shop. You can make stiles, rails and raised panels with the proper cutters and a 3 + HP router.

There are certainly a few things router tables can do that shapers can't and is really the only reason I keep mine around....though it's buried right now! The big thing is stopped grooves in small pieces. I have adjustable groovers for the shaper and you can do stopped grooves with them, but because the heads are 6 inches in diameter or more, they have a long arch and the router is better for getting close to the end. I also use it for template/pattern routing small diameter pieces that my rebate blocks are too big around for. Basically everything else I prefer the shaper for and my small one (used) cost less than my router table and lift!
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-24-2019, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeebyWoodWorker View Post
As far as I'm aware not very many people still use shapers in home shops. Mostly left for large production operations. I own a shaper and plenty of cutters for it but the thing scares me so I've never turned it on. I might one of these days.


-T
If you have any type of system that the knives lock in there shouldn't be any risk running them. What I use is loose knives. On those you have to make sure both knives are clean and exactly balanced because all that is holding them in is friction. When you turn on a shaper with a new set of knives that haven't been used before I was taught to place a heavy piece of wood between you and the cutterhead. If anything is going to happen it will happen at startup. The wood should protect you from any thrown knives. Don't know, I've never thrown a knife before. You can also tell a lot by the sound of a shaper. If something is out of balance it will sound terrible and should be turned off. I have had sets of knives that were a little different in weight from each other and I had to take them back to the grinder to even them out. Just 4 or 5 grams difference will cause a lot of vibration.
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post #12 of 22 Old 01-24-2019, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
If you have any type of system that the knives lock in there shouldn't be any risk running them. What I use is loose knives. On those you have to make sure both knives are clean and exactly balanced because all that is holding them in is friction. When you turn on a shaper with a new set of knives that haven't been used before I was taught to place a heavy piece of wood between you and the cutterhead. If anything is going to happen it will happen at startup. The wood should protect you from any thrown knives. Don't know, I've never thrown a knife before. You can also tell a lot by the sound of a shaper. If something is out of balance it will sound terrible and should be turned off. I have had sets of knives that were a little different in weight from each other and I had to take them back to the grinder to even them out. Just 4 or 5 grams difference will cause a lot of vibration.
I've never used the old school systems and they certainly require more skill and training. I have ground knives before and use a decent scale to verify balance, but always corrugated or pin retained so if anything's off balance, they knives can't go flying. There are a lot of neat (but slightly terrifying) images of old timers using 12" tall French heads, feeding curved, complicated mouldings by hand. Nerves of steel....
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post #13 of 22 Old 01-24-2019, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by brentstanley View Post
I've never used the old school systems and they certainly require more skill and training. I have ground knives before and use a decent scale to verify balance, but always corrugated or pin retained so if anything's off balance, they knives can't go flying. There are a lot of neat (but slightly terrifying) images of old timers using 12" tall French heads, feeding curved, complicated mouldings by hand. Nerves of steel....
I know what you mean, at one shop I worked at there was an old guy in his 80's that didn't have all his fingers. One day he was going to run a goose neck for a hand rail at the bottom of a stairway freehand on the shaper with nothing there but the cutter head. It went alright but I was about 19 at the time and couldn't stand to stay in the building when he did it so I never got to see him do it. It's not like I would have learned anything and someday do it myself. At one point the cutter had to be cutting on two sides of a radius at the same time. I don't know how he held on to it. I guess it's something you learn and get used to. There are those that can't see how I can stand to run raised panels with this.
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-24-2019, 11:04 AM
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nerves of steel ^

I'd be in the next zipcode when you ran that set up ......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #15 of 22 Old 01-24-2019, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I know what you mean, at one shop I worked at there was an old guy in his 80's that didn't have all his fingers. One day he was going to run a goose neck for a hand rail at the bottom of a stairway freehand on the shaper with nothing there but the cutter head. It went alright but I was about 19 at the time and couldn't stand to stay in the building when he did it so I never got to see him do it. It's not like I would have learned anything and someday do it myself. At one point the cutter had to be cutting on two sides of a radius at the same time. I don't know how he held on to it. I guess it's something you learn and get used to. There are those that can't see how I can stand to run raised panels with this.
Is that what they call the slotted collar head? I've heard that when they're perfectly tuned the produce nice fluffy shavings.

Here's some footage of French collar work....


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post #16 of 22 Old 01-24-2019, 05:19 PM
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The photo of the old fashioned smooth cutter head, it is definitely a hazard. Too much knife stick out for the steel thickness! I've got the newer heads that use lock edge steel. They work fine. I've got heavy shapers so balance isn't as much of a problem as long as I keep RPMs in the 3000 range. I only grind one knife to pattern and set up another out of the box the sort of balances. Not ideal but when with two knives are ground only one is doing the finishing cut anyhow. I also normally use a power feed.
As for chip limiting heads, very good idea. I've got an assortment of inserted European heads. I've never bought the kind that have interchangeable pattern knives. I have a profile grinder so can make any pattern I need in a short time. I have a nice balance and try to maintain 1 gram.
Routers and shapers are far different tools, for different applications.
Router tables are great for very small work. I've got a nice one with an Incra lift, in a cast iron top, 3.25hp PC router.
I've got 6 shapers. All industrial level machines that can turn out what ever the customer wants.

If you get a shaper, also get a 4 wheel feed. If you don't get a feed be very careful in your setups to control the work, guards etc. Learn to eyeball grind lock edge steel and buy a few quality inserted heads. My favorite shaper is a Gomad tilt, smooth as silk. In shapers, heavy is good!
For the record I don't agree with everything the original poster claimed about chip limiting heads. Sounded like he was selling them.
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post #17 of 22 Old 01-24-2019, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by brentstanley View Post
Is that what they call the slotted collar head? I've heard that when they're perfectly tuned the produce nice fluffy shavings.

Here's some footage of French collar work....

https://youtu.be/sgHHHqdxFs8

Brent
I've never heard the term slotted collar head. I've always referred to them as smooth edge shaper collar or notched edge shaper collar.

I've never seen a shaper collar with as much smooth surface as the video. I have one with a roller bearing on it but the face is 1 3/4" high. The solid collars on mine are about an inch tall.
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post #18 of 22 Old 01-25-2019, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Just don't run any wood through it.
Home shops just don't need a shaper in my opinion when a good 3 HP+ router in a lift and table will do almost everything a small shop needs. A shaper has a large nut on the top of the spindle to hold the cutters on which prevents any top down router operations. On the other hand, a router will allow you to plunge into the wood at any point to make stopped grooves or dados. It's more versatile and better suited for the profiling operations typically done in the home shop. You can make stiles, rails and raised panels with the proper cutters and a 3 + HP router.

That's why I use my router for everything I could use that shaper for. Routers are one of those tools you can have a bunch of and constantly use each one for a different purpose.

-T

"Dreams are stronger than poison and seize more firmly than disease, once captured one can not escape. It's a real curse, but for adventurers who are dedicated to it, body and soul, people without dreams are more frightening than death" (Made in Abyss). The Twenty Seventeen anime of the year, it definitely deserves that award. It's a show you don't expect to throw you off as much as it does. It may be Moe but it's certainly not lighthearted, just the opposite.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
If you have any type of system that the knives lock in there shouldn't be any risk running them. What I use is loose knives. On those you have to make sure both knives are clean and exactly balanced because all that is holding them in is friction. When you turn on a shaper with a new set of knives that haven't been used before I was taught to place a heavy piece of wood between you and the cutterhead. If anything is going to happen it will happen at startup. The wood should protect you from any thrown knives. Don't know, I've never thrown a knife before. You can also tell a lot by the sound of a shaper. If something is out of balance it will sound terrible and should be turned off. I have had sets of knives that were a little different in weight from each other and I had to take them back to the grinder to even them out. Just 4 or 5 grams difference will cause a lot of vibration.



Small amounts of weight can make a big difference. I may not run shapers often but I do use moulders and that can get fun sometimes if the knife hasn't been sharpened properly. The up side to loose knives though is you can make your own if you do it right.



-T

"Dreams are stronger than poison and seize more firmly than disease, once captured one can not escape. It's a real curse, but for adventurers who are dedicated to it, body and soul, people without dreams are more frightening than death" (Made in Abyss). The Twenty Seventeen anime of the year, it definitely deserves that award. It's a show you don't expect to throw you off as much as it does. It may be Moe but it's certainly not lighthearted, just the opposite.
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post #20 of 22 Old 01-25-2019, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WeebyWoodWorker View Post
That's why I use my router for everything I could use that shaper for. Routers are one of those tools you can have a bunch of and constantly use each one for a different purpose.

-T
I actually have a router bit collet for my shaper that allows me to run router bits. My shaper is good for 9000 RPM and it's surprising how well router bits work!

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