Sliding-Table Shapers for End Tenoning

      Cabinetmakers talk equipment for machining tenons. May 11, 2011

When I first started in cabinetmaking, I worked for a guy who had what appeared to be a shaper with a sliding table. It had a pneumatic bar clamp on it. He had it set up for specifically machining the end groove of a rail for shaker doors. You put your rail in, lock the pneumatic clamp on the piece, and then slide the table and cut the end groove. It was really slick, and since I have my own shop now, I would love to incorporate it into my business. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor B:
I have a Weaver setup that sounds just like that. Take a look at their website.

From contributor J:
Or look at Unique machines. I'm shopping for a 1-1/4" shaper with sliding table to do the same thing and more, but I don't want a dedicated door machine. I don't have a clue what I'm going to go with, but some I've considered are:
Laguna 3000 Series
Hammer F3
Grizzly (tilting model, $3400+/-!)
used big European machines

Anyone have experience with cast sliding tables vs aluminum? I'm tired of the poor results I get from my 3HP Delta with .25HP feeder/coping sled... just not cutting it anymore - not clean enough.

From contributor C:
I'm also in the market for a sliding table shaper. I want something with at least 5 hp, interchangeable spindles, prefer for it to accommodate 3/4, 1, and 1.25 spindles, and have at least a 40" stroke. I have dedicated shapers for each door making task, but I think a heavy 5hp + with sliding table would be perfect for single pass panel raising. My primary choice is the Laguna 3000 series as well. It fits the bill, but I'm not a Laguna fan. I have also toyed with coughing up some serious money for a high end SCMI T130 series that seems to do it all, but I'm having a hard time justifying the expense for one operation. Any recommendations?

From contributor M:
I have a Griggio 7.5 HP. It is a nice machine, not as heavy as a SCMI but does the job just as well. All shaper makers have a sliding table version. But beware of the lightweight models. That sliding table needs to be very heavy and have a darn good guide/rail system. The marble-type bearing system is not good. Linear bearings or the kind of system used on panel saws is good. The steel round bar/linear bearing system is also great.

Girggio is like the Delta or Powermatic of Italy. They make medium weight machines with industrial controls and fittings for small and medium sized professional shops. Laguna also falls into the category. In fact, I believe some of their machines are made by Griggio.

SCM is like the... Well, there are no high end industrial woodworking machine manufacturers in the USA. I guess you could say Stiles Group. If ever my Griggio shaper becomes inadequate, I will buy a Martin.

From the original questioner:
Contributor B, you nailed it! Thanks man, and thanks to all the other contributors.

From contributor D:
I've been using a Felder FZ in my shop for tenoning operations like you're describing. Austrian made, 5 hp, 1-1/4" tilting spindle, very nice sliding table and fence, a good range of accessories for the sliding table. I bought it used a few years ago for 5K, and it's been a solid performer for us.

From contributor T:
I think the Weaver system is excellent. I had multiple shapers myself, but wanted something with a smaller footprint to free up space for other pieces of equipment. I ended up buying the RBI Panelmaster II which has cope, pattern, and panel raiser on one shaft, with a 5 hp motor. It's a solid and very safe machine to operate, does a great job, and takes up very little space.

From contributor K:
We have a couple T130 shapers and they are very solid and smooth. There is no sliding table, but they use a tenoning jig which is great for coping entry door rails. We also use panel crafters for small stuff.

Last May I injured my right hand and lost feeling in half of it. Since then it has been difficult to run small parts on the shaper because I lost the feel of what I was doing, so after doing some research, I bought a door machine made by Lobo.

I considered Unique GT250 but decided on the Lobo CS55PAAU. The semi automatic hydraulic powered travel and the cast iron table have proven to be a great combination. The machine has a 55" travel and can handle 2" thick stock with ease, it has a stacked spindle which is easy to adjust and the travel speed is easily adjusted and the finish off the machine is great.

I was worried about an imported machine but the Lobo has proven itself again and again. It's great for large or small panels and is very safe to operate. They also offer a manual machine which is built well.

From contributor R:
It sounds to me like you are looking for the same machine I use from Unique. The machine is a 265 cope machine. I have 2 cutters for my cope cuts stacked, and I believe there is plenty of room for 3. It has 2 separate clamps for holding the parts and I am able to do multiple parts. Usually 3 to 4 at a time. I have a couple other machines from them and all run very well.

From contributor O:
I have built a couple of these coping sleds myself, and a few others in my area. Very simple design. All you need is some aluminum plate and angle from a scrap metal place and some pneumatic cylinders. You can cut the aluminum on a table saw with a wood blade.

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