Making Stair Rail on a Shaper

      A shaper owner asks for advice on making handrail stock. February 8, 2008

Question
I am a cabinetmaker, but once in awhile I get a request for wood handrails. In the past, I ordered them from the local moulding shop, but it takes three weeks plus the time to go order and pick up. We have shapers and a moulding machine and I am thinking I could build the price of cutters into the price. Where is the best place to get cutters? Should I do it on the shaper or moulding machine?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor H:
If it's only once in awhile, why don't you just order it from a stair supply company? Most can ship within 1-2 days on stock items. The box stores carry a fair supply of basic stuff also.



From the original questioner:
I have just discovered I have a shaper cutter that came with the Powermatic that I bought from a factory closing sale. It is 2" tall and about 2 1/4" deep in a mushroom shape. It is an intimidating looking cutter and I would appreciate any advice on setting it up. The shaper has a large 2 speed power feed but feel slow is probably too fast for removing that much material. I imagine multiple passes are necessary.


From contributor G:
I do mine with a corrugated back knife for the straight rails and then a custom 3 piece router set for the turns if required. I also have a VFD on my 3ph power feeder so I can turn the speed way down if required.


From contributor L:
Since the handrail may be a repeat item: Make an auxiliary table for the shaper with a strip that fits into the miter groove and blocks to locate it end to end. The edge of the aux table locates the shaper fence for the final pass. Add-on fence spacers provide the ability to make the cut in 2 or 3 passes and still keep the final cut location. Set your feed to the lowest speed and buzz away. You will want to make a gage block to locate the height of the shaper cutter/spindle so no fiddling around is required next time you need to run. Since we have a profile grinder we run the handrails on the molder. You always get a better cut on the molder than a shaper, but by keeping the final cut small on the shaper, it will do fine, just takes more time (passes).

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: Stairs


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2017 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article