Shaper Setups for Raised Panels

Tips on knife and fence setups for making raised panels on a shaper. April 24, 2006

I have a job making raised panel doors with a 2 inch bevel. I purchased the 6 inch Schmidt innovator cutter head with the corrugated profile cutter. Is there any special setup procedure I should follow? Should I slow down speed on power feeder and shaper, maybe make a sled to feed the ends of the panels through (6"wide ends), or a zero clearance fence because the power feeder will be out somewhat from the fence?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor J:
I bought one of the innovators for a job about a month ago. It seems to work just like a standard cutterhead. If you are going to run narrow panels, I would run a bearing under the head to catch the panel once it leaves the fence. Depending on how much of the profile you want you can get different diameter bearings to offset the cutter.

From contributor F:
If you raise your panels face up, the tongue portion of the 6" panel can ride against a fence below the knife.

From contributor R:
First, be sure your spindle speed is correct for the largest diameter you are cutting including the knife. I like face up. I have a 5 hp Powermatic. I run this head on and at a feed rate of 13ft/min. on end grain and 26 ft./min. long grain. I get excellent results. For your 6" ends I would use a sled, but I use one that goes over the top of the work piece and manually feed it. If you have an interest in spending a couple hundred dollars, you could get a belt drive system to replace the wheels on your feeder so you have continuous hold down pressure. This works really nice.

From contributor A:
I also use the Schmidt Innovator. To keep the panels from diving into the fence opening, I screwed a 1/4" x 1" aluminum strip to the edge of a 13/16" thick board, and use that as a table to run the panels on. This table is stationary. It is screwed to the regular fence from the back. The 3/16" lip acts as a fence, and fits under the cutter, because the panel has a 1/4" tongue. The three wheel stock feeder holds the whole thing down for consistent thickness.

I find this cutter leaves less chatter if I stone the knives a lot, and rough the panels out on the table saw before I run them on the shaper. I still have trouble with the spray of sawdust off the top of the cutter.

From contributor R:
If you find it necessary to do multiple cuts on panel raising, I think you don't have enough horsepower on the shaper or are feeding too fast. This just shouldn't need to be done and is not very time efficient. Also, you may not be using enough down pressure with the feeder. I have never had any kind of chatter marks in 18 years of making doors. As for the shavings coming up, yeah, that's an issue. I have a cardboard box just the right size that I set down over the spindle that covers the entire top opening of the fence housing and hangs out over the tips of the cutterhead. I get good results with this, although over time the box gets beat up from the shavings and needs to be replaced. Also, make sure you have good dust collection on the shaper. That will help control the shavings from coming up out the top.

From the original questioner:
Thanks to all for the great advice from my post! This is such a great forum because you can get advice from experienced pros. I made the sled from 13/16 wood with a 3/16 lip and kept the speed low for this size bit. Everything worked out great and most importantly, it was done safely.