Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Shaper cutter review - Adjustable Groover

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    552

    Shaper cutter review - Adjustable Groover

    With all the interest in shapers as of late, I thought I would do a review of the Leuco adjustable groover. I have been extremely impressed by the quality and versatility of these cutters. I use this particular cutter primarily to cut spline grooves, slots for drawer bottoms, and for milling stock for dust panels in furniture.

    An adjustable groover is basically a two (sometimes 3) piece stacked dado cutter set with shims to adjust the cutting width. Some larger cutters will also permit arranging the cutterhead to cut a tenon to fit in the same groove with minimal hassle on setup. The advantage of using this cutter on the shaper as opposed to a dado on a saw is that you are not balancing what could be a large piece on a narrow edge which challenges the quality of cutting the groove. This cutterhead design gives me four different cutting edges so I expect it will last me a long time prior to needing to replace cutters.

    I like to use plywood for splines since it has grain going in two directions and offers a stronger joint (at least in my view) than a solid wood spline. Plus, it is relatively inexpensive and readily available. The problem with using plywood as splines is that the fixed width cutters never match the thickness of the ply. This is where the adjustable groover excels. The Leuco cutter I have is 130mm diameter, has a width range of 4 - 7.5mm with a maximum depth of cut of 30mm (just under 1-1/4"). You can get cutters to do deeper cuts but need a larger diameter cutter (also included is the larger price tag).

    Now, don't get turned off by metric on this because it really makes adjusting the cutter much easier than using imperial measurements. Here is my procedure for setting up and cutting spline grooves:
    1. Measure the thickness of the spline using digital calipers in millimeters. For my example, it is 5.27mm.
    2. Since the minimum groove width for this cutter is 4mm, I need to add 1.27mm of shim thickness between the 2 cutterhead pieces. I always add about 0.1mm additional shim thickness which makes it easier to insert the spline with glue in the joint.
    3. I have pre-measured the shim thickness and marked them with a Sharpie but, I don't really use this to do the math. I grab some shims and measure the thickness with the digital caliper. I then add to, take away or replace shims based on the markings to achieve my desired shim thickness. You don't need to achieve the exact thickness to achieve a good joint but it obviously needs to cut a slot of greater thickness than the spline.
    4. Set up the shaper cutter with the shims, adjust the depth of cut and height of the cutter and mill away. I get perfect thickness cuts first time and everytime using the technique above.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwestern Connecticut
    Posts
    7,148
    Nice review Steve. Thanks for posting that. Can you tell me the source and the price? I have one giant Leuco rabbit cutter (180MMX50MM) and the quality is impressive, but I bought it used. I am a firm advocate of adjustable euro groovers. I have one dial adjustable slotter that does roughly 1/2" to 15/16" grooves flawlessly and have been considering getting a smaller setup for panel grooves.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    552
    Peter,
    The cutter was about $300. Just call Leuco at 800-631-0096 and ask for the sales rep for your area. My rep lives about 3-1/2 hours drive from me but is in the area frequently calling on his industrial clients. Good guy that gives good advice on tooling. Garniga makes a nice cutter as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Phoenix AZ Area
    Posts
    2,338
    Looks a lot like the Garniga ones I have and very much like the Felder Dado blades which are really 250mm adjustable groovers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Ouray Colorado
    Posts
    852
    I agree with Steve, adjustable groovers are great. They are used in our shop daily. The scribing spurs enable them to cut splinter free even in difficult material. I have several from Garniga and a couple Felder Stark ones. The Garniga Multiuso cutter is both an adjustable groover and rebate head with inserts for additional slotting and radius tools.
    The groovers used in our house door tooling even have removable 1.5mm radius knives to allow finish penetration where panel meets groove.



    We run these on 2 shapers and sometimes the tenoner. Attached is a setup sheet used for one of the shapers. Like Steve we mark the spacer thickness with markers and lately engrave the size on. All kept in a drawer with the cutters.

    Joe
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    552
    Joe,
    I really like your shaper storage drawers. What are you using for the buttons to keep these puppies from sliding around?
    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Ouray Colorado
    Posts
    852
    Steve,
    They come from Lista.
    http://www.listaxpress.com/c-145-mil...r-holders.aspx

    They are available in many sizes and stack.

    Joe

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    1,854
    Great post. It is really satisfying to use well engineered insert tooling. Especially on a machine to match!
    JR

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •