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Thread: Small Shaper tooling

  1. #1
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    Small Shaper tooling

    I need help.

    I've read and posted about this subject a ton and thought I knew what I needed or at least my limitations with my machine.
    I have a 3/4" and 1-1/4" spindles.

    I want to rabbet, T&G and make doors with this machine (both cabinetry and entry). I would like to do other tasks eventually but trying to keep it simple.
    My machine is a Powermatic 27S.

    I recently bought an Amana adjustable tongue and groove set that was absolute garbage and I sent it back. https://www.toolstoday.com/shaper-cu...oormaking.html I was going to use it for mission style doors I have coming up but the setup and accuracy was just way, way too cumbersome IMO. Also the adjustable dials damaged themselves on the insert blades when trying to make finite adjustments as advertised.

    Without starting a huge debate, I would like some help on specific heads or tooling you use with a similar size machine. Would matched sets be my best choice for the tasks I mentioned?
    Ease of setup and accuracy are huge. I have another T&G set that cuts a joint that is too loose IMO. So its a paper weight. Matched sets on my router table I have not had similar problems with.
    Also, with adjustments for sets is there anything I should consider adding/upgrading to the machine to assist i.e. fence, DRO etc?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
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    Ok so two different things, T&G sets are not the same as cabinet door sets. If you buy a quality door set by a company like Freeborn, and have a decent quality shaper in good condition, your parts will fit just fine with no adjustment.

    T&G sets are made to be adjustable as they're used for all different uses. One you bring in adjustability, your making life more difficult.

    Your pushing things trying to make entry doors on that machine, but with good tooling you can probably get by for a little while. Also FWIW I wouldn't bother buying anything with a 3/4" bore. If you do upgrade in the future it may end up being useless.

    So in my opinion if you want to make doors and keep your life simple buy a good quality door set. Run your sticking with an outboard fence, you don't really need any gadgets to get that setup.... at least I never have. When you want to start entry doors.... buy tooling for that. With the right tooling things are pretty simple.

    good luck,
    JeffD

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Duncan View Post
    Ok so two different things, T&G sets are not the same as cabinet door sets. If you buy a quality door set by a company like Freeborn, and have a decent quality shaper in good condition, your parts will fit just fine with no adjustment.

    T&G sets are made to be adjustable as they're used for all different uses. One you bring in adjustability, your making life more difficult.

    Your pushing things trying to make entry doors on that machine, but with good tooling you can probably get by for a little while. Also FWIW I wouldn't bother buying anything with a 3/4" bore. If you do upgrade in the future it may end up being useless.

    So in my opinion if you want to make doors and keep your life simple buy a good quality door set. Run your sticking with an outboard fence, you don't really need any gadgets to get that setup.... at least I never have. When you want to start entry doors.... buy tooling for that. With the right tooling things are pretty simple.

    good luck,
    JeffD
    It seems this shaper is essentially worthless and not really an upgrade from a router table. I've seen this narrative enough, I think I will sell it and move on. What would be a good machine to look for with what I want to do? Let's say under $5k as a starting point...

  4. #4
    That machine has speeds of 7000 and 10,000 rpm. 7000 is too slow for the small diameter door sets, but with the
    10,000 it's certainly usable for making doors.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Lazz View Post
    It seems this shaper is essentially worthless and not really an upgrade from a router table. I've seen this narrative enough, I think I will sell it and move on. What would be a good machine to look for with what I want to do? Let's say under $5k as a starting point...
    For 5k you can find a nice heavy shaper with a large quill, multiple speeds and probably a feeder already on it.

  6. #6
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    Once you hit $5K you can buy something new like a Hammer F3, or shop for a used machine.

    I have a Hammer B3 which is the F3 in a saw...........It's a reasonable shaper, 4 speeds plus a sliding table...............Rod.

    https://www.felder-group.com/us-us/p...x-content-8841

  7. #7
    Like Darcey says, 5k ought to get you into very good territory for a used shaper! They are very simple machines and easy to assess on site when you go look at them, with the exception of the bearings. If you don't know what to look or listen for it's not always straightforward. I have two shapers, in one the bearings cost more than I paid for the machine, in the other they're very reasonable.
    https://www.youtube.com/c/DovetailTimberworks

  8. #8
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    It's not that the pm27s were horrible machines, it's that they made them to try to be more than what they really are.
    Great shapers for edge work, not great for big cuts (mostly due to speeds and the miserably small quill and cheap bearings)

  9. #9
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    Nick

    Something is wrong. Your machine should be able to do what you want it to do. You won't be able to do production runs, but if this is for your own use, such as house projects, it should do it. Do you know that the spindle is running true to the table top?

    Don't invest in any 3/4" bore shaper cutters. Invest in 1-1/4" bore and use 3/4" to 1-1/4", T bushing adapters, or exclusively use the 1-1/4" spindle.
    I have no idea what you have for a T&G set, but I have three Amana, brazed, groovers, and with shims, I can make a perfect T&G joint. These same groovers can make a very acceptable rabbett, but an insert cutter with nickers would do a better job long term.
    Your "paperweight" may not be a paperweight. It just might need a set of quality shims and spacers/bearings.
    As for a mission style cabinet door sets. Infinity and Freeborn should do exactly what you want to do.

    As for adjustments, yes, there is some tooling needed. Specifically a high quality vernier caliper, dial indicator with magnetic base, and a height gauge standard. I use an iGage ,digital height indicator.
    The shaper is a machine that requires you to be within thousandth's, or you're making a lot of extra work for yourself. You need to be able to accurately measure and set those cutters, or you'll just chase your tail, regardless of the machine.
    In absence of a power feeder, you need some very good feather board type devices to hold the material flat against the table. Any deviation from dead flat while it passes the cutter head, will yield a crappy joint no matter how much you spend on tooling.
    Your shaper is more than accurate enough to demonstrate how much a planer, sander, or jointer, may not be setup properly.

    I have a Delta 43-375, and I can definitely make a door with it.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 12-05-2019 at 6:06 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  10. #10
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    Those amana heads are used by more than one cabinet shop I know of. Something seems off?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Lazz View Post
    It seems this shaper is essentially worthless and not really an upgrade from a router table. I've seen this narrative enough, I think I will sell it and move on. What would be a good machine to look for with what I want to do? Let's say under $5k as a starting point...
    OK first off that machine is not useless.... it's just not a heavy duty machine you'd want to use for any volume of what I'll call 'real work'. I made a lot of doors on a PM 27 and it can absolutely get you started out. Much more capable than the best of router tables.

    2nd... I disagree with Mel that 7k rpm's is too slow for door profile cutters. Not sure what he means by "small profile" but a Freeborn or similar sized set for a 1-1/4" spindle runs ideally at around that speed. I built quite a few kitchens worth of doors before I upgrade to larger machines. And those big machines I generally run at.... 6500 rpm's

    Lastly if you do want to upgrade, any industrial machine will be an upgrade from any mid weight machine. However they are usually much bigger, heavier, and require 3 phase power. If your OK with those issues then by all means you should be able to grab a used shaper for under $4k. I wouldn't really look into new as a similar quality would run well over $5k. There are many brands worth looking at SCM, SAC, Martin if your lucky enough to find one, Griggio, Invicta and on and on. Most important things are to make sure bearings are good, and that it has a 1-1/4" spindle that runs true.

    Having said that I recommend buying a good quality set of door cutters and seeing how it goes. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the difference.

    good luck,
    JeffD

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