Published by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., New York USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 37
Some years ago, a study conducted by one of Europe's leading manufacturers of Combination Machines found that the least used function on their machines was the Spindle Moulder. Since this function was no harder to set up than the Circular Saw, they tried to find out what it was that was limiting the use of the machine. They discovered that owners regarded the Spindle Moulder as dangerous and were wary of hurting themselves.
Anyone who has used a Spindle Moulder (or Shaper, as it is called in the USA), would agree that it is not a machine to be trifled with - and this applies as much to the inverted router as it does to the larger, purpose-built industrial units. Also, in the years since the study was done, there has been a huge increase in the number of Spindle Moulders purchased by recreational woodworkers. One would think, therefore, that there might be a fair amount of literature available to help the owner of these machines understand their function, get the best out of them and operate them safely.
The Shaper Handbook by Roger Cliffe and Michael Holtz is, however, only the second book we have seen on this subject during the past five years. Written at a level which will appeal to the recreational woodworker, the material contained by the book would also be of interest to the professional. Indeed, much of the equipment shown is clearly professional.
The authors begin with several chapters - roughly the first half of the book, which present an overview of the Shaper. Beginning with how a Shaper works, this section of the book deals with topics such as Controls, Accessories, Cutters and Attachments before ending with a chapter on Safety and another on Maintenance, Troubleshooting and Buying Guidelines.
The second half of the book is divided into three chapters: Basic Shaper Operations, Intermediate and Advanced Shaper Operations and Specialised Operations. Operations include Shaping Away an Entire Edge, Cutting Rabbets, Cutting Rabbet, V, U, T&G and Finger Joints, Making Wall Panelling, Freehand Shaping and Shaping with Jigs and Fixtures.
The book is well-illustrated, often using a set of several photographs to support the detailed description of an operation. These photos show not only how the job is done, but also the position of the hold-downs and other accessories which are essential to the safety of the specific operation - information which is as relevant to those whose Shaper is no more than an inverted router, as it is to those who can afford a purpose-built machine.
Photos: Black & White
Introduction to the Shaper
Troubleshooting, and Buying Guidelines
and Advanced Shaper Operations