Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Shaper in Paradise...

Shaper in Paradise...  My shaper is the last big piece of woodworking equipment that I'm planning to buy, at least until I learn what else I need (a standalone sander of some type is a distinct possibility).  I received the shaper last week, but other project have kept me from finishing the assembly of it until today.

The photos below give you an idea what it's like to unpack and assemble a piece of equipment like this.  The first photo shows what it looked like when I took the top of the crate off: a nicely milled cast iron surface, covered with a thick layer of grease.  The second photo shows it with the crate completely removed.  All the parts that had to be assembled (dozens of them) were packed inside the green cabinet, as you can glimpse in the third photo.  The fourth photo shows all those parts after I extracted them.  The fifth and sixth photos show a couple of stages during the assembly process, which is nearly all on the top of the machine.

The last two photos should have a title: “Really, Grizzly?”  The next-to-last photo shows the angle meter (for the tilting spindle).  Looks great.  Except – in the last photo, you see the handle for raising and lowering the spindle installed.  It completely covers the angle meter.  Really, Grizzly?  That's the best you can do? Fortunately, I suppose, I don't expect to be changing the spindle angle all that frequently.  But ... when I do, I'll be partially disassembling my shaper just so I can read the angle!  Jeez.  I certainly expected better for a machine in this price range. 

Aside from that one awesomely stupid design element (really, Grizzly?), I like what I see here.  The cast iron table is heavy and very nicely made, the sliding part slide true and smoothly, the tilting spindle works great, and everything on the machine looks like it was built to withstand a nuclear assault.  I haven't wired it up yet, so I haven't been able to actually run some wood through it. 

While I've got the shaper itself completely assembled, I haven't yet assembled the rolling base I bought for it.  That's a project for another day, along with wiring it up and lighting it off...

Really, Grizzly?  Really?


  1. If it is any consolation, you probably won't ever look at the angle indicator in practice. I think I have something similar on my table saw and I don't remember ever using it. You'll set the angle to a protractor or combination square or something else (like the workpiece you are matching).

    Some marketing droid looked at the blank slot on the prototype, and said "This won't do - people will complain that they don't know the angle. Put a scale on this." :)

  2. For most of my tools, I'd agree. The table saw example you cited would be particularly easy. The shaper is just a bit different, though - there isn't actually a good surface to measure against. The spindle (with the bit removed) is the closest thing there is, but I'd have to have a weird and specialized protractor to measure that...