Shape Shifting

It is a curiosity that while wood in its natural form is round in section, by the time most of us get our hands on it, the lumber is all sticked up in right angles. Then we woodworkers get busy adding curved segments back into many of the pieces we manufacture.

Back when I had to dodge velociraptors in my dad’s shop, we did a good deal of the bullnose shaping and other types of edging on a shaper — a relatively low RPM stationary machine that was really versatile when it came to machining complex shapes, grooves, rabbets and other types of cuts. You could stack cutters and even grind your own shapes. But it was a relatively expensive machine and the cutters were not chump change either.

Now, with robust routers, router tables and some amazing router bits (not cheap but amazing!), most home shops do not have a shaper and do not miss it. And even if your router table is not up to that level, you can always go with a spokeshave! Long live curved wood!

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

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