1 Making the jig
Shaping circular work freehand on the shaper is a risky job. One way to make the task safer and more precise is to use a V – block jig like the one shown at left. Build it from a piece of %-inch plywood about 14 inches wide and 24 inches long. To customize the jig for your shaper, hold it above the table flush with the back edge and mark the location of the spindle on the surface. Cut a right-angle wedge out of the jig, locating the apex of the angle at your marked point. Then cut a circle out of the jig centered on the apex; the hole should be large enough to accommodate the largest cutter you plan to use with the jig. Rout two adjustment slots into the back edge of the jig on either side of the hole—about / inch wide and 5 inches long. They must line up with the shaper’s fence locking handles, as on the model shown. The jig can also be secured to the shaper by making it as long as the table and clamping it in place at either end.
Shaping circular work
Position the jig on the table, centering the bit in the hole. Seat the workpiece in the jig, butting it against both sides of the V, and adjust the jig and workpiece until the width of cut is set correctly. Secure the jig in place. You may want to make a test cut on a scrap piece the same thickness and diameter as your workpiece to be certain that the depth and width of cut are correct. Turn on the shaper and butt the workpiece against the outfeed side of the V. Slowly pivot the stock into the cutter until it rests firmly in the jig’s V, moving it against the direction of cutter rotation to prevent kickback (left)- Continue rotating the workpiece until the entire circumference has been shaped, keeping the edge in contact with both sides of the jig throughout the cut.
2 Raising the panel
Clamp the featherboard to the fence, centering the fingers over the bit, and turn on the shaper. For each pass, use your right hand to slowly feed the workpiece into the cutter; use your left hand to keep the panel against the fence (right).
Making the featherboard
For wide cuts, such as shaping the edges of a panel, use an extra-wide featherboard like the one shown on this page. It will both press the panel against the table and shield your fingers from the cutter. Cut a 2-by-4 at least as long as your shaper’s fence, set the board against the fence, and outline the location of the cutter on it. Curve the bottom edge of the featherboard slightly so that only the fingers will contact the panel during the shaping operation. Bandsaw a series of ^-inch – wide slots at a shallow angle within the outline, creating a row of sturdy but pliable fingers. Screw two spacers to the back face of the featherboard so the jig will clear the cutter; countersink all fasteners (left).
The shaper guard shown at right is ideal for fence-guided operations. Cut the pieces from %-inch plywood, making the guard in the shape of an arc large enough to extend from the fence and shield the cutter completely. The support board should be wide enough to be clamped to the fence when the guard is almost touching the spindle. Screw the guard flush with the bottom edge of the support board; countersink the fasteners. Next clamp the jig in position and mark a point on the guard above the cutter. Remove the jig and bore a 1 ^-inch-diameter hole through the guard at the mark; the hole will allow you to view the cutter during shaping operations.
For freehand shaping, make a guard like the one shown at left. Sawn from 3/-inch plywood, it covers the cutter from the shaper’s top, back, and sides. Cut the top about 16 inches long and wide enough to extend from the back of the table to about 1/ inches in front of the cutter. Bevel the front ends of the sides so they can be positioned as close as possible to the cutter. Rip the sides so the top will sit above the bit with just enough clearance for you to see the cutter. Hold the top on the table and mark a point on it directly over the spindle. Cut an oval-shaped hole through the top at the mark, large enough to clear the spindle and allow you to move the guard across the table slightly to accommodate different cutters. Fasten the top to the sides with countersunk screws. To use the guard, position it on the table with the spindle projecting through the top, and with the sides as close as possible to the cutting edges. Clamp the guard in place.