Shop-Built Adjustable Shaper Fence

      Here's an example of a sliding-gib shaper fence capable of fine adjustments for close-tolerance woodworking. October 3, 2009

Here are some pictures of a shaper fence I made yesterday that is modeled after the Felder design. I liked the idea of having sliding gibs flush with the main fence that could act as a close tolerance fence. The gibs move anywhere along both main fences and can be secured with small drawer slide screws. The bolts which fasten the wood fence to the cast fence are recessed below the dovetailed ways.

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Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor A:
Very nice fence. Looks like a bit of work. We have always used sub fences made from mahogany. We cut a steep bevel on the business end. There's plenty of motion in the stock fence to keep driving it into the cutter head numerous times. Every once in awhile we replace it. In the event we need plenty of support everywhere, we tack a piece of 1/2" ply to the mahogany and bury the cutter into it.

That is a beautiful fence.

From the original questioner:
Thank you. Not having enough motion in the original fence was part of my issue previously. I was constantly having to overlay 1/4" or 3/8" pieces onto the fence to create a closer tolerance to the cutterhead. I am hoping this new fence will reduce that constant sub-fence overlay situation.

From contributor J:
Nice fence. The Felder design fence is really an Aigner Integral fence. There are quite a few accessories that go with it. There are lots of setup pictures in the Aigner catalog and they can be quite helpful. The Aigner Integral fence plates can be used as a zero clearance fence by pulling the finger cartridge out and adding a solid piece of wood with beveled ends in place of the cartridge. It only takes a few seconds to do. Aigner accessories are expensive but you really get your money's worth, as they cut setup time significantly and speed up production.

From contributor R:
Donít get me wrong, but Iím all for making your own stuff when easy and in wood. Complex, not complicated - therefore I see it as easy, but yep, time involvement indeed. Nice going, and thanks for sharing.

From contributor L:
Beautiful work. A lot of beautiful work.

I typically add auxiliary fences to my shapers, the same as I do for router tables. They allow me to bury the cutter into the fence for zero clearance. I use a t-slot cutter to mill a slot into the back of the fence to allow it to slide back and forth.

From contributor B:
I am interested to hear how you like it after using it for a while. It seems the trick would be to oversize the dovetails just a bit so the bars slide relatively easy, but not go too far so the bars flex. Interesting idea. I too would like an integral but have not been able to justify the cost.

Should be pretty easy to add the post mounts for the Aigner thickness stop if you ever need to. Some of the small parts from Aigner are reasonably priced if you look at the prices on Simantechinc. The Martin site lists suggested retail prices.

From contributor O:
Weíve used the Aigner fence in our shop daily for years. It is one tool I would hate to be without. I can understand the price justification if you donít do much shaper work.

Felder and the Panhans safety catalogue offer a DIY fence bar kit for about 140 dollars that works on wooden fences. They also offer aluminum fence plates that will capture a wood zero clearance fence in a similar fashion but not as quick as the Aigner. The DIY bars adjust up and down, which is a desired feature of this type fence. These fences work best with the larger diameter Euro tooling.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for your comments. I have not seen the Aigner fences in person and did not realize the versatility, which is good to know, but at $1400 a pop, I think I came out ahead.

As to sizing the bars, yes, I undersized the bars ever so slightly to allow movement but not rattle. Having the infeed and outfeed fences perfectly aligned also allows the bars to span across the full opening and be secured to both in and out fences (should the profile allow for this). To lessen the movement of the wood itself, I put two coats sealcoat on the fences as well as the bars, then waxed all.

I have a couple jobs coming up which will test the metal of this system.

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