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Thread: Byrd head for shaper

  1. #1
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    Byrd head for shaper

    I'm thinking of trying my hand at making a rocking chair. I figure the first few will be out of red maple (throw away wood around here) and could end up in the fireplace until I get a design I like and all the angles correct. One thing I keep coming back to is making a pattern jig/ sled for my shaper and using a byrd head (or similar) with a rub collar to make the runners. I've only used my shaper with the fence installed so I figured I would ask for advice before launching wood in a dangerous direction. I have read some here about it but I was hoping someone might have a link to a video as well.

    My shaper is a 3hp (the motor has to be the strongest 3hp I've ever seen, a US Motors brand made in the US) that turns at just under 8000 rpm no load. I'm thinking that the best thing to do would be to draw a line on the wood and trim it on the band saw within a 1/16th of an inch to reduce how much I would need to remove. So my first question would be which diameter cutter? I read that a 3" diameter head may be too slow and be more likely to cause a kickback. I can easily put a 4" long head with a rub collar on my shaper so I figured there was little reason not to buy one that long. My 8" jointer only has a 1 1/2 hp motor so I think I'll be fine power wise as long as I don't take too much off in one bite. The next question is how to secure the wood to the pattern securely. Would toggle clamps be the best way (this is how I was thinking)? Double sided wood tape? Something else?

    I'm hoping to start making some parts later this summer so I can get a feel for the process and then next winter actually try to come up with a design I like.

  2. #2
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    I use toggle clamps on most all my shaper jigs. I’d probably put three on a rocker jig. Make your jig long enough to engage the bearing before and after it starts cutting.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  3. #3
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    Alex what is the spindle size on your shaper ? What type of machine is it ?The reason I ask is power is only half of the equation in deciding how big of a shaper cutter you can run. The spindle size and even more important the bearings size and the length of the spindle cartridge greatly affect the machines ability to spin larger cutters safely. All this said there is probably a Byrd cutter that will do what you need. Make your sled longer than the part you want to machine,6-7 inches longer on both ends. This allows you to place the edge against the rub bearing first and then move the work into the cutter safely as well as exit the cutting portion safely. Yes you want hold downs,toggle clamps for sure. Forget all about tape on a shaper. If you have a tenoning hood it would be a good idea to use it ,if not you could easily make one. The diameter of the head determines more how tight of a radius you can cut than anything else. Height of the cutter determines how thick of stock can be cut. I have two different of these type of cutters and have used both in the manner you are looking at. You could also use any straight cutter with a rub collar the same diameter,it will do the same thing quite a bit cheaper.

  4. #4
    Like Steve says, give yourself a LOT of lead in room. I see people with barely enough space to get started and wonder if they're template material is solid gold, leading them to skimp on it or something.

    8000 RPM is very fast, do you have other options? Like Mike is asking, template work asks a lot of a machine but not just horsepower, it can be hard on bearings if they're not up to it. Smaller diameter permits higher RPM and tighter radius, whereas larger diameter permits better cutter geometry. If you're not used to this, I would suggest chip limiting tooling which is safer without compromising cut quality. Byrd is not chip limiting. What machine do you have? Like Mike says, you want at least a couple of toggle clamps and even rigid stops on the back side that will forbid movement at least in their direction. This book offers a lot of great advice on the subject: https://amzn.to/2R7mqkU

    B
    Last edited by brent stanley; 05-16-2020 at 6:20 PM.

  5. #5
    Amana makes a reasonably priced flush trim cutter plus bearing 62mm diameter x 80mm tall https://www.toolstoday.com/insert-sp...ng-cutter.html. 8k is on the low end for that diameter.

    Bandsaw close to the line to limit the stock removal and design the jig to hold the workpiece securely and keep your hands well away from the action. Keep in mind that freehand shaping is one of the more dangerous operations in the woodshop.

  6. #6
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    A less-scary approach is to lose the shaper. You can bandsaw close to the line on those rocker blanks - maybe a sixteenth. Use a belt sander to remove that sixteenth. A stationary belt sander with a table is a good tool for this. If you don't have one, you can quickly build one up from a portable belt sander and some scrap wood. You can get really close to the line with the sander. If you're going into mass production on these rockers, the shaper jig is faster, and may be more precise. But if you're going to make just one or two rockers, the belt sander is worth considering.

  7. #7
    The problem with sawing close to line on a curved narrow piece is the wood will often move while you are sawing,
    posibly making part of the work too narrow to cover the template. I would leave an 1/8th ,but first round off the work piece edges just
    a little with sand paper ,or a router "climb cutting" .That will usually prevent a "power grab"

  8. #8
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    The shaper is made by Poitras. It's a 3/4" shaft but the previous owner, a cabinet shop, used it exclusively with 1 1/4" tooling. It's a more basic design with only one speed. The whole spindle, bearings, and pulley move up and down and on the motor side is a flat belt pulley (like what a flat leather belt would use) so changing speed isn't really an option. The easiest way to pick a speed would be with the diameter of the cutter. I can't tell what size the bearings are but it's rated for up to a 5" cutter.

    Update: I found a copy of the manual on-line. The bearings are 6204 (20mmx47mmx14mm). So almost 2" in diameter.
    Last edited by Alex Zeller; 05-16-2020 at 8:02 PM.

  9. #9
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    I have a 80mm diameter head similar to what Kevin linked. As he mentioned 8K rpm is on the low side for these type cutters. I run mine at 9 to 12K depending on what shaper it’s on. Those cutters like rpm and you have to be careful not to over feed. I only use mine for tight radius and thicker work. I find my 140 mm 4Z insert rebate head does just as good or better than the spiral head. It’s only 50mm high though. If your work is less than 2” thick a 120 or so diameter insert rebate head might be better at that speed. Not familiar with your shaper and it’s capabilities though.
    I would add to never use double side tape for a shaper jig. Toggle clamps are ok but can slip on certain shapes. A chisel point screw in a section not visible helps with these.

    All my door and window work is one off so the jigs tend to be simple and made for power feeding. This one is screwed to the workpiece in non show locations.
    6BBF4802-61F7-4437-A512-02A1D8A51DBA.jpg
    First time shaper curves take your time and build good jigs with handholds and guards!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    The shaper is made by Poitras. It's a 3/4" shaft but the previous owner, a cabinet shop, used it exclusively with 1 1/4" tooling. It's a more basic design with only one speed. The whole spindle, bearings, and pulley move up and down and on the motor side is a flat belt pulley (like what a flat leather belt would use) so changing speed isn't really an option. The easiest way to pick a speed would be with the diameter of the cutter. I can't tell what size the bearings are but it's rated for up to a 5" cutter.

    Update: I found a copy of the manual on-line. The bearings are 6204 (20mmx47mmx14mm). So almost 2" in diameter.
    They're a fairly well respected but still relatively light machine. Certainly beefier than the Delta HD and similar, but for that grade of machine and at 8000rpm you'll want smaller diameter blocks. You can find charts that give you general guidelines around RPM and diameter, but most cutter blocks will give you the acceptable RPM range stamped right on the top. Make sure you don't exceed that. I have a Byrd head for template milling but also a few chip limiting rebate blocks that I prefer and usually give a better finish like Joe says.
    Last edited by brent stanley; 05-16-2020 at 9:36 PM.

  11. #11
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    Upper right hand corner is a good example of a safe shaper jig with toggle clamps. Notice at the tailing end of the workpiece it is blocked. This is where a toggle can fail if not blocked or stopped somehow.

    FE5A2ACE-A793-44F8-9A1D-05283A86F84C.jpg

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Calhoon View Post
    Upper right hand corner is a good example of a safe shaper jig with toggle clamps. Notice at the tailing end of the workpiece it is blocked. This is where a toggle can fail if not blocked or stopped somehow.

    FE5A2ACE-A793-44F8-9A1D-05283A86F84C.jpg
    Yes, that's a good picture of the blocks I was talking about! I'm doing a cedar exterior door this week with arched rails I'll have to try and get a picture of the jig for holding them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    BF3778B2-291F-43B5-B3AF-15C6E593AB77.jpg237000E3-ABD4-4DC6-ABD2-D18F008C8F62.jpgFB94BCC1-C355-44F0-9CE4-C1675C05CFC7.jpgFA010FEF-BF01-437C-9B79-9EC0D379E5D1.jpgJoe indicated that a tenon hood is required, thatís a great choice, I use the curve guard, I find that the brush helps with dust collection.

    As others have said, donít buy a Byrd head if it isnít a chip limitation type.

    Iíve included photographs of my rebate head used for pattern copying and the guide ring.

    Regards, Rod.

  14. #14
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    I make a lot of curved chair parts on the bandsaw using a template and a follower. Its super fast, drama free, doesn't require special tooling, and produces very good and repeatable results (with a little practice).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott lipscomb View Post
    I make a lot of curved chair parts on the bandsaw using a template and a follower. Its super fast, drama free, doesn't require special tooling, and produces very good and repeatable results (with a little practice).
    I use a router with a template and template guides all the time, but I've never heard of a bandsaw with a template and a follower. Sounds interesting. Care to publish a photo or two?

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