Jointing with a Shaper

Thoughts on setting up a shaper to joint (or edge-dress) lumber. November 14, 2009

I am wondering if anyone has used a shaper with a power feed to joint one side of a piece of timber instead of using the jointer?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor G:
It can be done, but it will not work right all the time. You need to have some feel on the outfeed table to get a jointer to do the job properly. By trial and error you should be able to get a setup that works good most of the time.

From contributor R:
I'm assuming you mean the edge. I once made a fixture that worked fairly well. I made a long narrow plywood table, laid out a straight line on the bottom and attached a guide strip to match the miter slot in the shaper table. I glued a length of coarse sandpaper (40 grit I think) to the top. Position the power feeder parallel to the slot and centered on the cutter. Overhang the board on the jig to take the cut you want and start it under the feeder. The table will run dead straight and the sandpaper will keep the stock from shifting. This is for stock that is too long to manage easily on the jointer. I don't know why you would want to do this on short parts instead of the jointer unless you don't own one. In that case I would make a shorter version using clamps and hand feed instead of the sandpaper and feeder. The same principle would work on a tablesaw as well.

From contributor N:
A shaper is basically a vertical jointer. The difference is the split fence on most shapers is not nearly as accurate as the tables on a jointer. You can get good results by making a straight fence out of MDF and adding a strip of plastic laminate to the outfeed side of the fence for your offset. This fence can also be much longer than your standard shaper fence which will also help with accuracy. Of course you will need to start with fairly straight lumber.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for your responses. What I want is a faster way of preparing timber to be laminated into tabletops.

From contributor K:
I do this every day on a dedicated shaper I have setup to only edge joint lumber. I use an outboard fence, meaning that the workpiece runs between the fence and cutter head. The fence is 66" long and attached to the table using aluminum extrusions I'll call "tracks" from the company 80/20 Inc. These extrusions have a bearing on them also from 80/20 which are attached to the fence at each end and slide on the tracks into or away from the spindle. I fitted each bearing with Pnumatic cylinders to clamp the fence at the distance from the spindle I want. The fence is also fitted with a digital ruler from Accurate Technologies. This system is fast to set-up and accurate to about .002".

From contributor J:
I think contributor K means edge dressing. Jointing can only be done on a jointer.

From contributor K:
Yes, call it dressing if you want. When milling small parts like cabinet door frames and even face frames, this method does an excellent job of straightening and cutting the sticking in one operation then I parallel the second edge with a straight knife head. You will have no snipe at the end of any work piece by milling this way and you can even climb cut short pieces safely although I prefer to use a beltdrive in place of wheels on my feeders for that.