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Thread: Anyone have a router duplicator?

  1. #1
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    Anyone have a router duplicator?

    I have a friend who makes beautiful Hal Taylor chairs. The time it takes to make one of those beauties is mind bending, and a lot of that time is with a grinder and profile disk to shape the pieces. Noisy, dusty beyond belief, and fairly high stress work. Looking at the parts it seems to me a router duplicator would be just about the perfect machine for rough shaping most of the parts, eliminating most of the grinder work.

    Long winded way to ask if anyone here has a router duplicator. If so, what do you use it for and are you satisfied with the ease of use and quality of the parts it produced? And, lastly, do you think it could be used for rough shaping the parts of a Hal Taylor rocker?

    Thanks very much.

    John

  2. #2
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    Interesting idea John. I have plans to make a set of lowback dining chairs in the Maloof style. As you describe, a daunting task given all the shaping. I have a CNC router and am currently building a Maloof rocker using Vcarve files created by Russell Crawford. The files were $$$$$, but there was a huge amount of development and prototyping done by Russell to produce them. Unfortunately, he hasn't produced any files for a lowback dining chair, a chair often made in multiples for which some machine duplication makes a lot of sense. To use a router duplicator, you would need to build one chair to take apart so you have a master pattern for each part as well as jigs to hold each part. I am anxious to hear what others say.

  3. #3
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    A lot of this kind of work has moved to CNC, even for small productions shops. (I've produced seats for someone a number of times) There are a few folks out there who build guitars that still use router duplicators for contoured bodies, but most of that has also moved to CNC.
    -------

    Bob, Russell is amazingly skilled at producing furniture parts via CNC including the fixturing. I'm glad you're working with his stuff. One thing I'll suggest is that you study what you have from him carefully and thoroughly and you may find that you can get to a low-back dining chair on your own. That's the path I took with the guitar stuff. I bought some quality files to work with in the beginning and used them to learn what I needed to produce my own designs from there.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    If you're asking of the type where you mount a pattern and something to be cut - yes I have one. Do I use it - no. I intended it for some fine carving type work and even with the smallest bits it did a poor job. Might be OK for roughing out something but you'd have to rotate both parts evenly if making something like a leg.

  5. #5
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    Jim,
    Yes, Russell's files are great, but there is definitely a learning curve. I have also built his Maloof inspired kitchen stool, which was fun. I had exactly the same thought about trying to utilize/modify the existing files for a low back chair. While I haven't invested a lot of time diving into the details, I wonder how much I will be able to do with just the Vcarve files provided. Source CAD files may be needed to develop/modify and execute some of the 3D shaping required (especially the sweeping arms), which are understandably not provided.
    On that note, Russell operates on the honor system with his Vcarve files. While he does not limit to the number of pieces of furniture made, he does ask customers to not share the purchased files, a very reasonable request. I recently bought paper plans for a low back chair from Charles Brock. I talked to him last week about any plans to digitize his plans. He is apparently working on it, but is concerned about file sharing and the resulting loss of business. Easier with paper plans as Copyrighted is clearly printed and generally honored by copy shops. It's trickier with digital files. Lots of pirates out there, so not so easy to modify files will likely result.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    I have a friend who makes beautiful Hal Taylor chairs. The time it takes to make one of those beauties is mind bending, and a lot of that time is with a grinder and profile disk to shape the pieces. Noisy, dusty beyond belief, and fairly high stress work. Looking at the parts it seems to me a router duplicator would be just about the perfect machine for rough shaping most of the parts, eliminating most of the grinder work.

    Long winded way to ask if anyone here has a router duplicator. If so, what do you use it for and are you satisfied with the ease of use and quality of the parts it produced? And, lastly, do you think it could be used for rough shaping the parts of a Hal Taylor rocker?

    Thanks very much.

    John
    Friend John Lucas made one as a pantograph and uses it with lathe pieces and for making reduced-size things. I don't think he checks here often but I could call him and see if he want's to chime in. He's listed here as JohnC Lucas. Crazy-creative woodturner/woodworker/toolmaker!

    This is not router-based, but I don't think he would mind if I shared the latest wood creativity from his brain - birthday gift for his wife:

    Lucas_Flowers.jpg Lucas_flower-closeup.jpg

    He says: "Took a lot longer than I thought to build it. There are 147 pieces in this. The burl that is the base is not a burl. I carved it. The flower basket is a segmented turning with tapered rings. Some of the flowers were inside out turnings. Some were miniature hollow forms that were carved and some were turned from green limb pieces."

    EDIT: fixed typo, I had types "Fried John..." instead of "Friend John..." Probably should have typed "Good" or "Excellent" or "Amazing" friend.
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 06-14-2021 at 12:28 PM.

  7. #7
    deckel pantograph, friend had two the big one was just plain stunning, human CNC machine, floated like a hoverraft precision made super high quality. I should have bought that even not really needing it. Likely rare and he was original owner since new, German and well cared for. He used the small one to do engraving work

  8. #8
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    Re pantographs, that's how they used to profile molds and dies before cnc, using hand carved wood patterns.

    What you might look at are gunstock duplicators. They're set up to rotate both the pattern and work.

  9. #9
    Terrco makes nice duplicators of all sizes. The Marlin is a smaller model that uses a router. The bigger ones have their own motors, so certainly not cheap, but an industry standard for decades.

  10. #10
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    I contacted Russel Crawford about his Aspire files and plans and he was very gracious to respond within just a few minutes. I also shared his website link with my friend, who then proceeded to tell me in minute detail the differences between his chair and those by Hal Taylor. So we won't be going down that route. My local CNC friend mentioned using a 3D scanner to create a model of a seat, but doesn't have one. But he has some ideas, so we'll see.

    As some have mentioned there are many kinds of router duplicators. I was unaware of Terrco, so thanks for that lead Chris. Gunstock type duplicators seem like a fit for the legs of these chairs while the even simpler models should work well for the seat. A CNC approach would be faster as Jim mentioned, no question, but without a file or some way to scan the parts it's of no value. With Hal Taylor's chairs there are at least two sizes as well and my friend makes both, so that adds to the endeavor, too, if using a CNC, but is of no concern with a router duplicator.

    Thanks for your input everyone. Much appreciated.

    John

  11. #11
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    John, let us know how you proceed. I would be interested to know if a duplicator works for you.

  12. #12
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    John, about the best resource for getting the 3D scan for the shair seat is http://www.ibild.com/. (Brady Watson) I and a client have used this service specifically for this purpose and it made setting up to cut the seats a "piece of cake" (sorta... ) Brady is in S Jersey not all that far from me. You can ship the sample for scanning, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Thanks very much Jim. That may be a perfect fit for my CNC guy.

    John

  14. #14
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    sent as a PM
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Engelhardt View Post
    sent as a PM
    If sent a PM to me, Rich, I didn't get it.

    John

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