Weaver Door Shaper System
A small cabinetmaker shops for a door production setup. June 17, 2013
I am looking at a used Weaver 3 shaper door system and am trying to decide if I want to go that route for making raised panel doors. What are your experiences with these shapers? They look rather crude but seem to do a reasonable job. What other costs need to be considered - tooling, sanding, etc.? Iím trying to figure out approximately what to offer for the three shapers as I am unfamiliar with them.
From contributor D:
I don't have any hands-on experience with them I think you'd be way better off with a single heavy duty shaper (SCMI or similar) with digital readouts on spindle height and fence position. I have heard this opinion from other more experienced people in the business as well. Looking at it another way, I have never seen these systems in industrial cabinet shops doing high volume high quality work.
From contributor S:
The Weaver stuff is really good for the money, but it isn't for volume production. You ask "What other costs need to be considered?" Now I am really concerned about your financial future.
You make no mention of how prepared you are for the rest of the production process: ripping lumber, getting good edges for gluing panels, gluing process, sanding panel profiles, assembly clamps, wide-belt, forklift, and tooling. If you are trying to save money, you are probably better off buying doors. If you are trying to make money, you are probably better off buying doors. If you are trying to make a small fortune in the door business, you will need to start with a large fortune.
From contributor H:
I have a couple of Weaver shapers on the floor. While not possessing an award winning modernistic design, the machine have been very capable, easy to adjust, and well thought out. I also make use of their sticker guide, coping sled, and a couple other odd and end pieces on other brand equipment. I don't have one of their door systems but a friend does, and changeover is fast with no fiddling.
You'll need to find yourself a RF gluer, door clamp, a real cutoff saw, and a widebelt with platen to have any hopes of making it worthwhile. We're a two man operation, but build every door that goes out of here. Charge what you need to make money on them though. I don't try to compete with national door producers on price and honestly can't compete with the on quality with the equipment I have, but produce a marketable product. The biggest advantage I have is turn time. I can knock out a few doors same day if need be.
From contributor R:
You don't mention how many doors you will be making. If you don't make many, and have the space for all that, they will work. If you are short on space, and used Unique Door Machine will be much nicer, and I think better quality door. Can't help you on price a lot, but they can't be bringing much on the market these days.
From contributor J:
We have a two man shop and build our own doors. I've seen the Weaver system and think their shapers and fixtures are very well thought out. We have a somewhat similar system with several shapers set up for dedicated operations. I have made similar fixtures as the Weaver, but I would guess that the Weaver fixtures would be more convenient than the ones that we have made.
We have made thousands of doors, only for the cabinets that we make. The real advantage is the ability make bar panels, furniture ends and the like. My customers appreciate the fact that we make everything right down to the moulding. Could I make more money if I outsourced? Maybe. Would that impress my customers? Nope.
From contributor K:
I bought the Weaver three door system with power feeders 14 years ago. I have made thousands doors. All of which are just as beautiful as ones made on more expensive, prettier machines. These machines are tough as can be, very simple to change cutters, simple to maintain. Yes they are ugly, but why pay extra for pretty fluff? Customer service is top notch, at least it was the one time I had to call. Even then, it was just to see what the process was to switch to insert cutter heads since mine came with stacked cutters. There's always a more sophisticated machine out there, but you can make a couple of hundred doors a week on these very fine machines without any headache. Reliable, sturdy, and accurate.
From contributor U:
I outsource my doors to a local door shop that run Weavers. They have four or five guys working there and every time I stop there are several carts full of parts waiting to be run. The guys are fast and they make those Weaver shapers hum all day long and put out a lot of doors and panel ends. So I have no problem saying these are good machines. I outsource my doors because I can build another set of cabinets in the time I could build a set of doors. Plus I don't have the floor space to dedicate to the equipment that it does take to do it successfully.
From contributor G:
Don't be fooled by the looks. Weaver shapers are very capable. We too have made thousands of doors with ours and we have six of them. Their power feeders are the best by far. We have machined rails shorter than three inches long with them. They are single purpose machines and are not meant to be changed much from the original setup. Because of this they don't have many bells and whistles. I highly recommend their cope and panel sleds also. One thing I like better about Weavers compared to a Unique type machine is that there is no limit to the length of rail they can machine. They are far, far from hobby level. Not even close. I say invest in them and make your own doors. Yes, you will need more equipment to build them profitably, but the equipment can also be used for other things also.