Shaper Safety Accessories

machining, accuracy, set-up, milling, cutting, shaping, joints, joinery, cutters, heads, knives, sharpening, June 28, 2006

Purchased a new 3 hp spindle shaper, with the idea of changing over from 3 1/hp router in table to using the shaper. Had the opportunity to purchase an older Rockwell (better machine of the two) shortly thereafter. The second machine came with several sets of Freeborn cutters, so have been milling panel doors, etc on the shaper and love it. However, I'm quite apprehensive about the proximity of my fingers to those large whirling knives. I've read several soft cover shaper manuals, but would really like to find a good reference for jigs and fixtures for the shaper. Would really enhance the learning curve.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor L:
A couple of options for you. You can make a featherboard and use it to hold down your board and have it in front of the cutter, so if you should slip, you would hit the featherboard. The best option would be a power feeder. That way all you have to do is let the feeder do the work for you. Featherboard is about $10 in your time and material. Feeder is 400+ dollars, but in my opinion the way to go.

From contributor G:
I have several shapers and there is not a cut I would do freehand. They are too powerful. Featherboards and jigs are fingersavers. Also, you can't beat the finish you'll get from using a feeder.

From contributor P:
One additional thing I found lately is a guard that mounts on top of the shaper cutter. Delta makes one that slips on the shaft right above the cutter. Not perfect, but any additional safety items are always a good thing.

From contributor L:
Contributor P is correct. Each of the three shapers I bought from Delta gave me a protective device that looked similar to a bearing rub collar. It had a bearing surrounded by a clear orange plastic that was about 4 1/2" in diameter and 3/8" thick. If you need to do freehand shaping of panel or such, I would recommend using this safety device. It makes it hard to get your fingers near the cutter; not impossible, but hard. Worth having it around for those specific times you are free handing. Always use a starting pin.

From contributor J:
I too would be very nervous about using my shapers without either a power feeder or a panel crafter. I very rarely use any of my shapers without one of these tools. I look at it like this: powerfeed - $750, panel crafter - $1200, having the use of your hands - priceless. I think that you will also find that production will more than pay for these tools in a short time.

From contributor R:
Get Eric Stephenson's book on shapers. It's the best one out there. Also Sherlock's book will show you some things on machinery you won't find in any book anywhere.