Upgrading Wood Door Production

By Jared Patchin | Posted: 03/12/2013 9:16AM


J Alexander Fine Woodworking Jared Patchin In the last entry, we left off with the purchase of the Gannomat Format 42 drilling machine and the Davis & Wells table saw. At that point we were sitting pretty in terms of shop machinery. We had the basic machinery needed to build custom cabinetry and furniture in an efficient and profitable manner. But, we still had three areas of production that I wanted to slowly work on upgrading; clamping, door production and edgebanding.

About half of the projects we build are furniture pieces, meaning we mill and glue a lot of solid lumber. Up to this point we were gluing up solid lumber on work tables using Bessey parallel bar clamps, which is a perfectly acceptable method, except when we started running out of usable work space and clamps thanks to these numerous glue ups. This was happening often enough that we needed to find a long-term solution.

The next area that needed to be upgraded was our door production system. We build all of our own doors, and over the past few years I had been slowly refining our collection shapers and cutterheads and our production methods. The main issue before me was the need to purchase more shapers in order to set up a dedicated shaker doors station; one for cope cuts and one for stick cuts, allowing us to never have to switch out or adjust cutterheads.

Edgebanding, which up to this point we had been outsourcing to a local shop, would be the most expensive process to bring in-house, and the one that I would spend the most time deciding exactly how to proceed.

Delta Shaper Jared Patchin Delta Shaper
One of the benefits of having a close working relationship with a used machinery dealer is that every once in a while he sends you a real gem of a machine at an incredible price. I am always letting Coby, at Advanced Machinery, know what machines I want him to keep an eye out for, and a good used shaper was one of those machines. I was specifically in the market for two 3-5 HP shapers so that we could set up dedicated shaker cope and stick station. About 80% of the doors we build are shaker, and, at our current level of production, it was getting incredibly frustrating to have to be constantly switching between different cope and stick profiles.

Coby called one day to see if I would be interested in a used Delta 7.5HP shaper he had available. It was larger than I needed, but I said that if the price was right, absolutely. He responded with a price of $1,250, which included the powerfeeder and delivery. My jaw dropped! A 7.5HP Delta shaper for $0.25 on the dollar! What was wrong with it? ‘Nothing,’ he said, just that it was a repo machine and the new owner only wanted to sell it for what he was owed. I jumped at the chance and within a week we added a new shaper to our collection.

This new 7.5HP Delta became our dedicated raised panel shaper. Our previous raised panel shaper, a 5HP Powermatic, became a varying profile stick cutting shaper. A 3HP Grizzly, previously used for all stick cuts, became a dedicated shaker stick cut shaper, and a 1.5 HP Grizzly shaper, previously used for all cope cuts, became the dedicated shaker cope cutting shaper. We still needed a shaper capable of cutting varying cope profiles, and I was able to poach another 1.5HP Grizzly shaper from our sister company, Shutter Crafts, that would fit the bill just fine.

Read Jared Patchin's previous blogs.


About the Author

Jared Patchin J Alexander Fine Woodworking Network

Jared Patchin

Jared Patchin started woodworking professionally in 2008 when he set-up J.Alexander Fine Woodworking in Boise, ID, where he builds custom crafted furniture and cabinetry. He started building furniture at the age of seven when his father bought Shutter Crafts. He has developed his craft since then, moving from making wooden swords for himself and his friends to building some of the finest furniture and cabinetry available. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two young sons, who have taken over the sword making side of things.

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