Shaper Jigs for Small Door Panels

Cabinetmakers describe ways to hold and guide small panels through the shaper. October 13, 2008

I am seeking ideas on how to build a form to run small door panels on our shaper. I built a shaper to allow the cutter to be placed over the drive belt. I have hold down rollers that are placed 3/4" away from the cutter. I still have issues running panels under 5 inches x 5 inches. My idea would be to place it in some type of holding device. Any ideas on how to build this would be welcome.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
I have been experimenting with various jigs for small parts on the shaper, and the best I have come up with is a sub-base with self adhesive sandpaper and toggle clamps.

From contributor B:
For very small parts we use a secondary table with fence placed on the shaper table. A 1/4" aluminum plate with a cut opening for the shaper cutter has a 1/4" of this plate below the cutter so there is no break or opening between fences as usual. Using a push-through type wood holder with a handle, the parts are moved by hand. Depending on profile, it might take two passes to be smooth.

From contributor C:
Delta makes a sliding shaper jig - 1/4" heavy steel plate and hold-downs that run in a miter slot. I'm not sure the minimum size on this, I think I've done down to about 4" x 4". The heavier the jig, the smoother the cut.

From contributor D:
First, do you have a 1-piece fence running continuously past the cutter? I use a strip of aluminum with a small cutout for the spindle attached to the bottom of some plywood. It attaches to the stock shaper fence and prevents narrow parts from diving into the gap.
Second, I have a few little jigs that are nothing more than a small (maybe 4 x 4") piece the same thickness as the panel with the profile shaped on one end. A strip of 1/4 ply on top runs along the end of the profile, on the raised field. It hangs over one edge by a couple of inches (profile width plus 1-2"). To use it, just put your small panel to be shaped under the strip of 1/4" ply and butted up to the jig base. Feed the whole thing through the feeder. The feeder wheels ride over the plywood and hold the small panel securely while the jig base keeps it from twisting. We do our drawer panel ends like this. Five minutes and some super glue and you are good to go.

From contributor E:
Build a vacuum sled. You will suck down your panel to the sled and send the whole thing through the shaper. It saves fingers and time. I have run two at a time.