1/2" spindles and thier limitations

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Forum topic by indyj posted 01-14-2018 01:35 AM 530 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 986 days

01-14-2018 01:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shaper cutter heads 12spindle shaper cutter heads shaper cutter size limitations

I’m not aware of the “major” limitations w/1/2” spindle shapers. What is the maximum Dia. cutter that I should consider using on a vintage Craftsman 1model #113.239192 w/ 1/2” spindle? I know there are obvious limitations because of the height of the spindle? Would it be fair to say that the diameter will be dictated by the opening or the spread of the “manufacturers fences’ ” machined cast opening? The spindle is short and I understand that it’s unchangeable but would I be better off to change out the motor thus getting a larger spindle, say, from 3/4” to 1” to an 1-1/4”?
My first experience with 2 shapers is a partner and myself bought new shapers for our shop where we purchased Grizzly 1-1/4”, 3 HP spindle shapers…. I’m afraid I may have went to small with a 1/2” Shaper though!?
Chime in and set me headed in the right direction! I need some more experienced people to direct me in this area!

-- .... I'd rather do this than work for a living!

3 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3617 days

#1 posted 01-14-2018 11:29 AM

The split fence does not neccesarily dictate the diameter capacity of you r machine , but it is something to pay attention to.

What you will find more critical is the table opening which sorta tells you, hey don’t put anything larger than this on this spindle,,,,,but i have in the past exceeded this by resorting to running face up.

Also the table opening is somewhat commensurate with spindle diameter and under nut capacity

On your spindle question…...3/4 inch is an ideal size on the 3 hp shapers…..and grizzly 3hp will allow up to a one inch,,,,,but not a 1 1/4.

Back to your first question…..on your craftsman shaper you will have several limitations…..mainly power to achieve proper performance with anything larger than the orig 1/2 inch spindle, table size, poor fence arrangement and a few other things. On the plus side you probably won’t be able to stack up anything on it that will get you into trouble.

If you are new to shaper operation, .......instead of worrying much about the concerns you posted i would be looking at putting power feeders on those machines. Although there will be more safety issues without feeders i think it is beneficial to have experience running these machines for a while without feeders to gain a good understanding of all the forces at work. With featherboards of coarse,,,,,,,and not the rinky dink plastic magnetic ones ! If you give me a pm will send you pics of what i would recommend.


View runswithscissors's profile


3107 posts in 2833 days

#2 posted 01-15-2018 12:38 AM

Those little shapers also have a very limited vertical adjustment range—less than an inch, on the ones I’m familiar with.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1303 days

#3 posted 01-15-2018 01:14 AM

I had one of those 1/2” spindle Craftsman shapers for many years. It’s fine for light duty shaping up to raised panel doors. I used 3/4” bore cutters bushed down to 1/2” and it worked fine. Mine had the waffle grid open top which I really disliked. It’s underpowered so you will need to feed slowly.

I eventually got rid of mine and picked up a used Powermatic, primarily so I could add a power feeder. As cabmaker pointed out, the feeder really makes a big difference both for safety as well as cut quality.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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