Frequently Asked Questions
Shopsmith's Shaping Accessories are used primarily to shape the
edges of project workpieces… unlike the Molder, which is used primarily
to shape the surfaces of workpieces. You'll use the shaper to make
easy work of turning your ordinary-looking, square-edged projects
into heirloom-quality masterpieces with decorative edges that shout
"professionalism" to all that see them. But that's just the beginning.
In addition to adding those project enhancing decorative touches,
you'll also use your shaper to create a variety of strong, practical
joints such as tongue-and-groove joints, glue joints, rabbets and
more -- and to form other highly specialized edges such as those
used with cabinet door lips, drop leaf tables and the rails and
stiles of cabinet doors.
Before using the shaping accessory read, understand and follow the
safety all instructions.
are the differences between Shaping, Molding & Routing?
is most often used for adding decorative edges to architectural
moldings, tabletops, built-ins and virtually any project where appearance
is important. But that's not all. The shaper is also a great tool
for creating a variety of strong, easy-to-make joints. Unlike molding,
shaping can be performed with equal ease and results on projects
with either straight or curved edges.
is a process used primarily for shaping the surfaces of project
components. Since molding is really a table sawing operation, it
is used almost exclusively for straight-line work such as creating
decorative architectural moldings and accent moldings for furniture,
cabinet projects and picture frames.
operations can be performed on either the straight or curved edges…
or even (with certain limitations) the surfaces of project
components. Routing is most often used on parts where you're creating
smaller edge profiles. Routing does, however, offer a wider range
of joinery applications than either shaping or molding. With a few
exceptions (such as some of the new panel-raising router bits),
router bits are typically smaller than shaper cutters and routers
usually operate in the 20,000 rpm range and higher. You can enhance
the performance and versatility of routing operations performed
on the Mark V by purchasing a Speed Increaser. It will increase
the speed of your Mark V to around 10,000-rpm's for much smoother
cuts. For more information on making the right choice, see…"The
Molder or Shaper? Choosing the best tool for you!"
should I own the Shopsmith Shaping Package?
The shaper is a versatile accessory that does its work with the
Shopsmith Mark V set up in vertical drill press mode. With the Shopsmith
Shaping Package, you'll enjoy a wide range of professional woodworking
capabilities, including, but not limited to the following:
decorative edges to architectural moldings, tables, cabinets
& similar projects.
cabinet door lips, drop leaf joints, cabinet door rail & stile
joinery and other functional edge treatments for projects of
strong, professional-looking joinery such as glue joints, rabbets,
tongue & groove joints and more.
will I use my Shaping Package?
Whenever you need to decorate the straight or curved edges of projects
-- or to form certain types of tight-fitting, professional-looking
joinery. Take a quick look at the variety of shaper cutter profiles
available to get a better idea of all the differen applications
you'll find for this versatile tool. Click here to see profiles.
Shaping accessories do I need to get started?
The Shopsmith Shaping Package is your perfect starting point. Our
years of experience with introducing folks to the joys of woodworking
have taught us which profiles are the most often ordered… and which
are the most practical. We've used that knowledge to build a fantastic
all-around Shaping Package for you.
Shaping Package includes:
Shaper/Drum Sander Fence
Mounted Feather Board Guard
Mounted Feather Board
of Four Shaper Collars
Shaper Cutters, including:
1/4" and 1/2" Combination Quarter-Round
3/16" Bead & Cove
Flute & Quarter-Round
Panel Cupboard Door Cutter
Panel Door Rail Coper Cutter
- (For Mark V, Model 510)
555170 - (For Mark V, Model 500)
what ways are the Shopsmith Shaping Package superior to typical
you already own a Shopsmith Mark V, the complete Shopsmith Shaping
Package (with five cutters and a complete set of safety accessories)
will cost you less than half of what you'd have to pay for a typical
shaper with no cutters or safety accessories.
in vertical drill press mode (the mode used with the Shopsmith Shaper),
the worktable of the Mark V is adjustable up and down for optimum
operator convenience and safety. Typical shapers do not offer this
In shaping mode, the worktable of the Mark V can be tilted to provide
a much wider variety of cut profiles from a single cutter. Only
the most expensive commercial duty shapers can do this.
Mark V is the perfect power plant for your Shaping Package. It offers
an infinitely variable speed range of up to 5,200 rpm at the turn
of a dial (up to 10,000 rpm with the optional Shopsmith Speed Increaser
Accessory … so you can get the exact speed you need to achieve the
best possible results. Most standard shapers only offer two or three
speed choices, and you usually have to make belt changes to switch
worktable on the Shopsmith Mark V provides a larger working surface
than ordinary shapers.
fence boards on the Mark V 510 Shaper Fence are micro adjustable
so you can "fine-tune" your set-ups to achieve super-precise results.
With most shapers, only one fence board is adjustable.
the Shopsmith Mark V, the shaper attaches to a spindle offering
a micro adjusting quill feed with a built-in depth stop that you
can set when making repetitive cuts.
Shopsmith Shaping Package comes complete with both vertical (quill-mounted)
and a horizontal (table-mounted) Feather Boards, a see-through Safety
Shield and a Vacuum Attachment (optional with most shapers) for
a good project to build to get acquainted with the shaper?
Try a simple, square or rectangular wall plaque. Cut your plaque
to size on the table saw and use your Shopsmith Shaping Package
to form decorative edges around its perimeter. Use the 3/16" Bead
& Cove Cutter that comes with your package. Start with a scrap piece
of stock that's large enough to control safely. We suggest that
your first shaping project be at least " x 10" in size, so you have
plenty of stock to get a good grip on while you're "getting the
feel of it". Practice adjusting the cutter and fence to achieve
the profile you desire. When completed, you could decoupage a photo
onto your plaque. You could tole paint a scene onto it. You could
rout a recess into the top of it to hold a decorative tile. You
could use it as a trivet. The use is not important. What is important
is the fact that it's a simple enough project that even a beginner
can get started -- and finish -- in about an hour or so… making
it a great introduction to shaping operations.
if I'd like to tackle something a little fancier than a wall plaque?
We suggest that you take a look at the two special project plans
below, reprinted from past issues of Hands-On!, Shopsmith's popular
woodworking magazine which had a circulation of over 1,000,000 in
the 1980's. The first is a small, traditional drop-leaf table that's
the ideal complement for an entry hall or family room. The second
is a handsome 8' tall bookcase that could do double duty as an entertainment
do I do when my Shaper Cutters stop cutting smoothly and/or burn
There are four primary factors that can affect the smoothness of
the cut and whether or not you burn your stock. The first and most
important of these factors… as with all cutting tools… is a dull
edge. If your cutter is dull, you'll get uneven cuts and perhaps
even ridges in your workpieces. You'll also have a difficult time
moving your workpiece through the cutter -- and will undoubtedly
experience workpiece burning. But this doesn't have to be the case.
Shopsmith offers a special Sharpening Guide that works with the
Disc Sander and your Mark V's quill feed capability to make sharpening
these cutters a real snap. It comes with detailed instructions for
sharpening your Shaper Cutters. To finish up the sharpening process
Shopsmith also offers a wide variety of natural, ceramic, diamond
and fast-cutting water Sharpening Stones to hone the edges of your
cutters for maximum performance. Another factor that can affect
cutter efficiency is a build-up of resin or "pitch" on the cutter.
If your cutter is discolored or feels "gummy" to the touch, workpiece
burning is close behind! We suggest that you use a spray-on pitch
remover to dissolve these resins or pitch and prevent burning. The
second factor is the workpiece feed rate. Feed the stock through
the cutter too fast and you'll get a rough cut -- feed it too slow
and your workpiece will burn. The right feed rate comes from practice.
The secret is to keep moving without dwelling. The third factor
is depth-of-cut. It is recommended that you always take at least
two passes with the cutter to complete each cut… removing 80% of
the stock in the first pass and the remainder in the second. If
you're working with a particularly hard wood or the profile you're
trying to achieve requires that a lot of stock be removed, you'll
have to take more than two passes to get the safest, most professional-looking
results. Again… practice! The final factor affecting cut smoothness
is the speed of the cutter. The faster the cutter moves, the more
cuts-per-inch you'll achieve and potentially, the smoother the surface.
Shopsmith's special Speed Increaser Accessory will allow you to
run your cutters at up to 10,000 rpm -- effectively doubling your
cutter speed. Be careful, however. Increases in speed also require
that you increase your feed rate accordingly to prevent brning and
that you take lighter passes to get a smoother finish. It's important
to remember that it's always a good idea to cut a few extra pieces
of scrap stock that are the same thickness and widths as your actual
project pieces to use for test cuts when setting up the shaper (or
any machine operation). These test cuts will help you zero-in on
the ideal cutter speeds, feed rates and depths-of-cut.
there other accessories that can help me improve my Shaping versatility
Yes, there are. Besides the obvious suggestion that you add more
cutters, there are four highly universal accessories that will improve
your working convenience when shaping, as well as during many other
Mark V operations. Two of the accessories that we recommend most
highly for shaping are a Utility Light and some form of Dust Collector.
Visibility is the key word in both instances… and as you know, with
added visibility, comes improved safety and precision. The ability
to maintain a consistent, clear view of the cutter and cutting process
(in any woodworking operation) is key to achieving precise, accident-free
results. Both of these accessories deliver on all counts. When shaping
larger projects, consider the added support and stability provided
by Roller Stands or for Mark V 510 owners utilize your Floating
Extension Tables and Telescoping Legs. They're a welcome helping
hand whenever you're cutting decorative edges on long stock.