‘Over the Top’ Panel Shaping
I recently acquired a 5-hp, 1-1/4-in. spindle shaper. I intend to make a set of raised panels on it using a very large cutting head, and I am concerned about safety. Is it acceptable to mount the cutter so that the head is above the work and lowered down to make the cut?
Steve Glazier, Winston-Salem, NC
It is much safer in general to run the cutter below the table because of the reduced exposure. However, if the finished stock must be a critical thickness, such as a panel edge to fit snugly into the groove in a frame, mounting the cutter above the table is more efficient. By setting the correct distance between the cutter and the table, you guarantee that the thickness of all the panels will be uniform. Unlike router bits, shaper cutters can be installed face up or face down and the rotation…