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Thread: "Drop cutting" on a shaper

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Pennsburg, PA
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    26

    "Drop cutting" on a shaper

    Hey guys,
    I am working on a project that requires three mahogany stop-fluted half columns. The columns are 6 3/4 wide and I already got a knife ground that will do two flutes at a time (There are 4 total flutes on the face, 1/2" radius).
    My question is: how does one safely and efficiently "drop cut" on a shaper while the material is on edge, and then terminate the cut before the end? I ran a couple of trials just by using the end of my fence as a pivot but the shaper really wants to grab ahold of the material. Anyone have a jig for this? I know the best way to do this would be a W&H style molder but I don't have one.
    Thanks
    Jack

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    352
    I would like to do something similar to match some existing house trim. I have a shaper and also have a ShopFox Moulder, just curious how you would do it on a W&M Moulder with a continuous power feed.

    Just thinking about this, if I was to do it on my shaper, I would make multiple, very shallow cuts that would allow me to pivot in the left end and pivot out the right end.

    Another thought, using a power feeder and a complete sacrificial fence, first would be to mark where the cut should start and end on the left and right side of the fence. Then with the cutter head completely behind the fence, clamp the work piece, centered to the fence and slowly move the fence back to bring the cutter through the fence and into the work piece to the desired depth . Power off the shaper and place the power feeder against the back of the work piece. Remove the clamps, power up the shaper and use the power feeder to climb cut back to the left fence mark and then reverse the power feeder and cut to the right fence mark, then power off the shaper. I have a new power feeder that has speed control as well as forward and reverse, but I haven't used it yet. Is this feasible?

  3. #3
    For that application I prefer to use a molding cutter on a table saw however as long as you slowly set the board on the cutter on a shaper you shouldn't have any problems. Try it with a piece of scrap wood and I think you laugh at being apprehensive with it. The worst that can happen is if you sit it down too fast it might kick back. Just keep your hands down wind just in case. As far as a jig all you would need is a straight fence. Just mark a start and stop place on the fence so you can make both flutes the same.

  4. #4
    It's a slightly advanced procedure, and tough to explain without diagrams or pictures and I never think to take pictures of these things. I'm also the last person I know without a smart phone so it's harder without a camera in your pocket all the time.

    At the very least you need a stop at each end of the travel. One for it to rest against as you pivot in and one for when you pivot out. This gives you a lot more control than free handing. If the piece is longer than your fence, then you need to rig something up to achieve that. I like to have my pivot at the front and slide in and out from the back when it works. This requires a long stop that you can slide in on. Joe has lots of pictures of this. Depending on the size of the piece, sometimes you want a holding fixture with integral handles.

    This is a great reference if you don't have it already.

    https://amzn.to/34URLfe

    B
    https://www.youtube.com/c/DovetailTimberworks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Pennsburg, PA
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    26
    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Dyas View Post
    For that application I prefer to use a molding cutter on a table saw however as long as you slowly set the board on the cutter on a shaper you shouldn't have any problems. Try it with a piece of scrap wood and I think you laugh at being apprehensive with it.
    I have used my table saw to do some beading work. It worked but the quality of cut wasn't there due to the comparatively low rotation speed. I'll be running my shaper at 10k rpm, I believe my table saw is only 4500. I already tried a few pieces and this thing really wants to grab ahold of it. Doesn't really seem safe persay, not to mention the quality of cut isn't great when it grabs it like that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    543
    Stop block on the fence. I think Joe Calhoun has a video of it somewhere on here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Pennsburg, PA
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    Brent,
    These are good suggestions. The stop would definitely be helpful, but these columns are a little over 6 feet long. I am thinking that I will need to build an extension like you mentioned. I like the idea of have that stop to prevent the cutter from pushing the material back towards me. I did this in some trials and the result was sub-par at best (lots of bumps and ridges on the profile).

  8. #8
    If it's grabbing you might set the fence shallow and start the cuts and then put the fence in the right position to make the part. That way it's not hogging all the wood at the initial cut. I don't understand it grabbing. My shaper turns at 8000 rpm and it only has two cutters.

  9. #9
    It doesn't have to be pretty, but should probably be locked/clamped to the table so nothing can move relative to one another.
    https://www.youtube.com/c/DovetailTimberworks

  10. #10
    I have also done this on a table saw with a moulding head - fairly easy and not scary. Hone the cutters first, sand after.

    I have a W&H machine - no idea how that could work.

    Shaper sounds scary.

  11. #11
    I'd use a hand held router and some guides. No chance of a kick back with a router. Dropping a board down on a moving cutter or blade is extremely dangerous.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
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    6,427
    Go to the 19 minute mark of this video. Don't let the title put you off. I've been using a shaper for a long time, and still find this video valuable.
    I've used the same concept to do much larger pieces.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n6yTHMBX54
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Ouray Colorado
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    853
    Iíve watched that video and think it is pretty lame. The safe way to do this on the shaper is to have a wide stop at the tail and drop the front in with the tail supported. This way you can ease into the cut without any grabbing or burning.
    57B35107-E734-4978-BA2F-A10A887F4881.jpg
    Several years ago we did the interior of a Victorian house that had hundreds of stop chamfers and flutes on the casings and doors. Here is the pattern for the casings, they were all 8 to 10í long. The chamfers all got squared with a chisel. I bought the Aigner jig for that job but very simple to shop make stops and tables for this
    6279EE3B-E62B-4C9A-B43E-FF28F5C8B71A.jpg
    Here is a example of a drop cut on a double hung sash.
    0A1DFEE0-4F30-4A3E-B849-DC0F85A610F7.jpg
    If it only stops at the tail you can just use a stop at the end.
    57C6DAB0-D0CE-44A6-853F-53F9DEDCF0FC.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Joe Calhoon; 09-18-2019 at 9:27 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Pennsburg, PA
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    26
    For those with a variable speed feed, they can drop cut into a work piece, start the feed and then slow it down until it stops wherever you want it to.
    I may look into the shop fox version.

  15. #15
    Thanks Joe, I knew you'd show up with pictures of what I was talking about. He has fancy kit for it that makes it easier and more repeatable etc, but you can do it with shop scraps. I think dropping in like he does in the double hung sash picture is very very controllable. Left hand on the top left corner, right hand easing it in and it feels very confidence inspiring. I just did this on some replacement wooden storms the other day. You don't ever want to try this without stop blocks at least...
    https://www.youtube.com/c/DovetailTimberworks

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