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This Baxter D, Whitney double spindle shaper was built between 1918 and 1926. It was a remarkably modern machine for that time with specially built spindle motors running on high precision machine tool ball bearings. This was made not long after the era of Babbitt bearings and line shafts. These were a workhorse in woodworking plants and were built in different versions into the 1970's.

Table Furniture Wood Tool Workbench


I rebuilt the machine extensively in 1987: disassembled it, had the smaller castings hot tank stripped, had a crack in the main casting welded, repainted it, had the spindles dynamically balanced, new 3/4" spindle tops turned, added pneumatic lubricators for the upper bearings, built up a special switch block to electrically change spindle speeds from 3400rpm off the line frequency to 8500rpm off a GE 5kw 150 cycle 3 phase invertor, built the hold downs needed for curved work.

Here's the machine set up for straight work.

Wood Engineering Gas Machine Metal


The right-hand spindle has a Polish shaper fence. The left-hand spindle has a shop built fence that turns it into a side head sticker for small moldings like divided lite glazing bars. The Italian power feed will pivot to work with either side.

I built custom doors with i for quite a while. Both sides still spin smooth as silk.

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Shapers are set up like a jointer: they machine the same edge that guides them. This works well for larger pieces, but it makes it difficult to machine small moldings to close tolerances since the finish dimension is dependent on a prior operation, not the final cutting. A sticker fence works like a planer with the piece guided off the back edge.

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This fence has a 4:1 slope so moving it 1" changes the cut by 1/4". A dial indicator gives a direct readout of the change in width. There's a spring loaded hold down on the infeed side to accommodate variations in the initial width.
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The outfeed hold down is moved out of the way to show the cutter. This is the second pass on a lozenge shaped molding with the curved first surface running in a cope cut guide. This setup holds +/- 0.003" so joinery corners of the molding are very clean.
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The finished latticework headboard.
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I got the idea from a 2 head molder that made glazing bars for divided lite windows. These were hard to run on older push fed molders because the small tenoned endwork wouldn't stay aligned. Now I use it for any small profile. For pieces under about 1/8", I sometimes put a 3" rubber wheel with sanding sleeve on the shaper spindle.
 

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