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    Default Make your own corrugated knife shaper cutterhead?

    Wondering if any of you have made/modified a cutterhead to take corrugated knives?

    I make a cut across endgrain for the heels of my banjo necks. Been using loose knives in 3" diam lock-edge collars, works great. Need to take my show on the road, I'm teaching a banjo making class. Their shaper has a much shorter spindle, can't fit the knife/collar assembly on it. So I'm thinking to grind knives for a corrugated head, needs much less spindle length.

    The problem is that the 4" diam corrugated head would have an effective rake angle of about 18 degrees (nominal 20*) while the lock-edge knives have a 26* rake angle. I'm thinking a high rake angle is very advantageous, for cut quality, minimizing blowout, and edge life.

    So the plan is to modify a head to get 26* rake angle. Thinking I could use a double angle milling cutter to re-cut the corrugations on the B'port at a steeper angle .Double Angle Chamfer Cutter 3/4 dia X 6 degree MariTool

    Would have to modify/remake the gibs to keep the grub screws perpendicular to their bearing face.

    Anyone done this sort of thing, or have an opinion?

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    Yes, & made the corrugated (lug)bits, too.... over 30 years ago.... on a mill-drill. Probably made the 60° cutter from a broken center drill, but can't recall (1-1/8" bore for scale)



    I have made a number of gibbed cutterheads, but don't use corrugated moulder steel because it is limiting and expensive, lol.

    If i were doing what you propose, I'd start from scratch rather than modify a head that would then have less steel behind the knife, and a larger slug of gib in front, than the original head design considered. OTOH, if you calculate the loads at the intended rpm it could be safe. When i used to figure it, it seems steel was hard to exceed for "typical" blades and gibs and "normal" cutterhead speeds. For me "normal" tends to be under 8,000 rpm. Preferably under 7,000 most of the time. Among the cutterheads made here, an another early one is a 3 knife straight head with 5/32" thin knife steel blades, since the blades require very little projection.

    I usually use (make) pocket gibs as opposed to wedge gibs. It complicates the cutterhead but simplifies the gib. It also allows thinner (less weighty) gibs though it does not preclude using larger gibs if you need a large pocket to get the cutter in for the corrugations. Though if the pocket must be large, then using wedge gibs might reduce some weight for the open area where the screws are.

    If I were to make a cutterhead like you describe, i'd consider making it with skew pockets to get some shear (helical) cutting effect; with the down force toward the table. This of course will complicate sharpening.

    If the mill does not have a DRO, add a decent quality digital caliper to the down-feed. It makes so many things easier including setting or re-setting zero for convenience as different operations are completed.

    It's too bad inserts don't have a clearance angle within the range you need. They really are easy to make cutterheads for.

    Whats the diameter of the rim? Is there a disadvantage to a coving sled on the TS across a blade sharpened to the exact diameter? (Or a little smaller for a tight fit?) Or is a 16" capacity TS not available at the school?

    How did the old guys do it, chisel, round bottom plane,+ chalk fit?

    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    Wondering if any of you have made/modified a cutterhead to take corrugated knives?

    I make a cut across endgrain for the heels of my banjo necks. Been using loose knives in 3" diam lock-edge collars, works great. Need to take my show on the road, I'm teaching a banjo making class. Their shaper has a much shorter spindle, can't fit the knife/collar assembly on it. So I'm thinking to grind knives for a corrugated head, needs much less spindle length.

    The problem is that the 4" diam corrugated head would have an effective rake angle of about 18 degrees (nominal 20*) while the lock-edge knives have a 26* rake angle. I'm thinking a high rake angle is very advantageous, for cut quality, minimizing blowout, and edge life.

    So the plan is to modify a head to get 26* rake angle. Thinking I could use a double angle milling cutter to re-cut the corrugations on the B'port at a steeper angle .Double Angle Chamfer Cutter 3/4 dia X 6 degree MariTool

    Would have to modify/remake the gibs to keep the grub screws perpendicular to their bearing face.

    Anyone done this sort of thing, or have an opinion?
    By corrugated knifes, you mean the horrible device SMT shows in his photos? or a serrated back knife?

    Good safer tooling is so cheap now that it's often not worthwhile IMHO to make a cutter head, and most of the better makers offer a custom service for heads.
    If your cut is in endgrain or knarly stuff you could be better off with the lower rake angle- more of a scraping action, easier to control but blunts quicker.

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    By corrugated knifes, you mean the horrible device SMT shows in his photos? or a serrated back knife?
    Hee, hee! Lug bits and MTP bits were common as side heads. When i made those above, Yates America wanted something like $2,500 (30 years ago) for similar capability.

    Richard means heads that take corrugated back moulder steel.
    But he asked if anyone had made corrugated heads, presumably from the "how hard is it to machine them" aspect.

    My primary advice - with a vertical spindle, you can use knee up & the mic collar for spacing; You can use gage blocks and a solid reference. You can even use a long travel dial indicator ( I have done each of those). Better is to put a DRO or decent quality digital caliper on the knee or quill for reference. The rest is more or less straight forward.

    The remaining question is, with a "big" pocket to clear the cutter, what kind of gibs to use, wedge or pocket.

    I would (I do) some back of the envelop calculations on load; am not qualified to specify that.

    I also think that for the application it is sort or a waste of time - the students will not have access to such tooling once they go home.

    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Hee, hee! Lug bits and MTP bits were common as side heads. When i made those above, Yates America wanted something like $2,500 (30 years ago) for similar capability.

    Richard means heads that take corrugated back moulder steel.
    But he asked if anyone had made corrugated heads, presumably from the "how hard is it to machine them" aspect.

    My primary advice - with a vertical spindle, you can use knee up & the mic collar for spacing; You can use gage blocks and a solid reference. You can even use a long travel dial indicator ( I have done each of those). Better is to put a DRO or decent quality digital caliper on the knee or quill for reference. The rest is more or less straight forward.

    The remaining question is, with a "big" pocket to clear the cutter, what kind of gibs to use, wedge or pocket.

    I would (I do) some back of the envelop calculations on load; am not qualified to specify that.

    I also think that for the application it is sort or a waste of time - the students will not have access to such tooling once they go home.

    smt
    Thankyou Stephen, I'm capable of reading the original post.
    I don't recall anyone anyone asking about lug bits for a moulder but I'm glad to have clarified. I guess it's the irrelevant FIG photos that don't add much that lead to this requirement.

    Yes, you can mill the serration in the head but they are often broached on a production basis. I'm a fan of pinned dovetail gibs, simply because they are easier to clean and can be used with a limiter.
    Euro pinned heads are much simpler to machine and safer in use, but I'd seriously question the use of a homemade or modified head in a teaching class.

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    Thankyou Stephen, I'm capable of reading the original post.
    I don't recall anyone anyone asking about lug bits for a moulder but I'm glad to have clarified. I guess it's the irrelevant FIG photos that don't add much that lead to this requirement.
    Maybe we are beating it to death - the point was (machining) 60° corrugations to match mating corrugations in a cutter for location and indexing. This was the example i had with photos to answer the question
    Wondering if any of you have made/modified a cutterhead to take corrugated knives?
    What is FIG?

    smt

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    Richard, could the "cut" be done with a spindle sander, then scraped to a chalk fit?

    smt

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    Thanks for the input guys. From the photo of the heel cut, you can see the shaper is the only way to go, other than chisel and gouge. This class is only 9 days, and were are building from scratch, have to do everything efficiently or no one will complete a banjo.

    Greenwud makes a good point about safety with students, and I don't have time to re-machine a head before the class, so I'm just going to live with the 18* angle.

    If I decide to try to modify it, I'll ask my friend with a Haas mill to do it, should more precise than my manual mill.

    I also have a Euro style cutterhead, and it is much easier to grind knives for it. But my knives need to be 2-3/4" high, and the head is only 1-1/2" high. Not sure it would be safe having those 5/32" knives sticking out 5/8" top and bottom. The Corrugated head is 2" high, and the knives 5/16", that seems ok. On the other hand the cut is very light, the heel is bandsawn within 1/16" of final.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img_1581.jpg   img_1583.jpg   img_1584.jpg  

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    Richard - if you go with a safe practice of up to 3x knife thickness for projection, and there is a fair width down in the gib, then the knives can project below, as well, especially since they will never actually be used to cut the full depth of the projection as would be true with the face projection. This should be qualified to understand that if the knife in that area already projects face-wards and cuts near full depth 3x thickness, then little should project below. But if the face projection is negligible as for a planer, then maybe 2 x prjection below would not be a problem.

    How to Determine Cut Steel Sizes for Moulding Knife Blanks

    I sometimes hang deep cutting knives below a cutter head just to reduce the face projection. Say if the bottom of the cut might be a bead, cove, or other profile that naturally clears the bottom "corner" of the gib pocket, sometimes hanging it below allows me to make the knife with up to 3/4" (or more) less, of face projection. For Greenwud's benefit, the method of cut has no bearing on your project, but is an example of extending a knife below or above a cutter head, and in the example given, it is also a safer method.

    I do wish other people who actually make tooling would chime in. I'm superannuated. I started when the only serious sources for this stuff was enormously expensive, and all the old shops were still grinding huge cutters by hand, with 5 x projections, sometimes one knife and slug in a split collar, etc, etc. Split collars always scared me, that is why i started building cutterheads. As in your project, "ideal" geometry for a given head was often either not available, or eye-wateringly expensive. I don't recommend many of the methods in some of the old shops; but most were far safer than people think when the guys doing it knew what they were doing. Now tooling is more readily available, and rapid to source.

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    "most were far safer than people think when the guys doing it knew what they were doing"

    That says it all Stephen! Altho a lot of those guys were missing one or more digits. And accidents were considered just a risk of woodworking in those days. These days have to wear goggles, ear muffs, dust mask, helmet, tin cup, etc...

    After I grind the knives & try them, I'll probably get a 3" high cutterhead, be really safe for sure!

    Now I'm wondering if there's a way to use thicker knives in the Euro head. Maybe use a thinner cut limiter?

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    I sometimes forget the knives have to be ground for the projection geometry of the head they will run in.
    Knives that make a perfect profile in 26° head will make a much deeper/ accentuated profile when run in a 18° head. & vice versa of course.

    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    I also have a Euro style cutterhead, and it is much easier to grind knives for it. But my knives need to be 2-3/4" high, and the head is only 1-1/2" high. Not sure it would be safe having those 5/32" knives sticking out 5/8" top and bottom. The Corrugated head is 2" high, and the knives 5/16", that seems ok. On the other hand the cut is very light, the heel is bandsawn within 1/16" of final.
    50mm and higher euro cutterheads are readily available and I'd go there in the first instance. One of the criticisms of the euro heads is the thin knives and this allows less projection; I'd be surprised if the CE regulations allow much projection at all.
    Leitz makes heads that use the euro pin setup but thicker knives- I think the system is proprietary; it's certainly expensive.

    A spindle moulder (shaper) is incredibly versatile, but often that versatility has come with a safety penalty, simply because the tooling and setups have been unforgiving. Too casual, too quick, too much gambler? Especially in a teaching situation, the attitudes and tooling need to stress the real risk that comes with the machine.

    Redux: cost/benefit and personal safety

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    Richard asked about making or modifying a corrugated cutterhead.
    Greenwud took the discussion in the direction of buying pre-made heads of other types & said:

    Euro pinned heads are much simpler to machine and safer in use.
    Based on your initiative to discuss a wider range of shaper tooling -

    Can you quantify that?

    Compared to what?

    Have you made a Euro style cutterhead and another style to compare the machining aspects?
    The primary reason i have not explored Euro heads is the specialty (& thin, as mentioned) steel. Need holes in most of the blades?
    I've never needed a chip limiter, but can see it as a slight saftety enhancer for situations where safe practice in the rest of the set up was not fully observed..

    smt
    Last edited by stephen thomas; 09-14-2018 at 02:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Richard asked about making or modifying a corrugated cutterhead.
    Greenwud took the discussion in the direction of buying pre-made heads of other types & said:



    Based on your initiative to discuss a wider range of shaper tooling -

    Can you quantify that?

    Compared to what?

    Have you made a Euro style cutterhead and another style to compare the machining aspects?
    The primary reason i have not explored Euro heads is the specialty (& thin, as mentioned) steel. Need holes in most of the blades?
    I've never needed a chip limiter, but can see it as a slight saftety enhancer for situations where safe practice in the rest of the set up was not fully observed..

    smt
    Pre-made tooling simply because it doesn't seem to pay to make tooling. I haven't made a euro head simply because I don't need to; there is a really good range of stuff available, most of it out of Italy and Germany and some incorporating indexable carbide knifes.

    Simpler to make as in the knives are held in pockets in which the reference surfaces may be cut with a simple and durable side and face cutter, instead of multiple passes with a 60 degree cutter or broaching operation required to reference a serrated/corrugated knife.
    In terms of the steel, blanks, knives and limiters are available in a wide range of profiles from the likes of Whitehill and a dozen others. The holes seem to be laser cut in many of the commercial knives.
    I won't attempt to quantify other than to say that it's poor business economics IMHO to spent time making a head if one could buy a commercial item made by a specialist, and be making sawdust on other jobs in the interim. Yes, I see value in making a head where a commercial item won't do the job.

    I hear your comment about "having never needed a chip limiter"; understand that in EU countries a head without limiters cannot be used on a manual feed machine (and this includes a power feeder). I guess its like most safety gear- you never need it until you need it.

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    The difference between EU and American safety regulations is a lot like the the social safety net differences. I bet if it wasn't for liability lawsuits and unions there wouldn't be many safety regulations here. What's the regulatory climate in NZ?

    I like the Euro style head because its so easy to grind a quick knife, especially for a light cut - beading, reeding, or light fluting for example. I made a bunch of blanks using M-42 laminated planer knife stock from Bimex (what ever happened to them?). Just enuf mild steel backer to drill the holes for the pins, very economical.

    One reason I started grinding my own knives was to have the ability to tweak them if the profile turned out to be not exactly to my taste. Plus the fast turnaround. Then I picked up a pile of bevel edge shaper knife stock at auction for peanuts, had the lock-edge ground in, set for life.

    I also have to admit that I enjoy making my own cutterheads - I like the challenge, and it was a welcome relief from constantly making sawdust.

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    Richard,
    I assume the cut is made prior to profiling the heel of the neck- that is to say, this cut is made when the neck is a rectangular piece of stock? Would that not solve the blowout problem, if a backer board is used?

    Your statement about a shaper being the only way to cut it- can't the heel be left long, a hole drilled through, and then a bandsaw used to bisect the hole to form the semi circular recess and form the "shelf"? For a low tech/tooling approach?

    Regarding euro style shaper tooling- I sent a head back to Gladu to ask if they could modify it for me, as it was an old profile I do not use anymore. It was a clever fix- they took the tool body, cut corrugations in it, and made a corrugated knife backer with pins, to hold the new thin carbide knife. The whole thing is held in with a gib.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    The difference between EU and American safety regulations is a lot like the the social safety net differences. I bet if it wasn't for liability lawsuits and unions there wouldn't be many safety regulations here. What's the regulatory climate in NZ?

    I like the Euro style head because its so easy to grind a quick knife, especially for a light cut - beading, reeding, or light fluting for example. I made a bunch of blanks using M-42 laminated planer knife stock from Bimex (what ever happened to them?). Just enuf mild steel backer to drill the holes for the pins, very economical.

    One reason I started grinding my own knives was to have the ability to tweak them if the profile turned out to be not exactly to my taste. Plus the fast turnaround. Then I picked up a pile of bevel edge shaper knife stock at auction for peanuts, had the lock-edge ground in, set for life.

    I also have to admit that I enjoy making my own cutterheads - I like the challenge, and it was a welcome relief from constantly making sawdust.
    NZ has personal injury laws whereby an individual cannot sue for personal injury and the gumnut picks up the tab for accident related medical and rehab costs, through a corporate body (Accident Compensation Corporation). Businesses pay for this according to their risk profile and a certain amount is collected from things like vehicle registration. Introduced by a reformist Labour government about 30 years ago, the system seems to work fairly well for real need and actually makes money, to the point where some levies are scaled back. Successive government have left it intact because it works better than squabbling in court, makes money and is easy to administrate.

    Worksafe (like OSH) has charge of managing workplace risks and the basic requirement of the law is to require anyone "to take all reasonably practical steps to prevent injury"; as it is a fairly new law there are few test cases.

    Square heads at least were banned under the old law IIRC and it would be hard to argue with that. I'm not aware of a specific requirement for particular tooling but the EU safety tooling and information is second to none, and readily accessible (for NZ).
    Yes, I like the ability to tweak a profile and be able to reset it after removing the knives from the head, and the steel is cheap compared to serrated back steel.

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    I've ground hundreds of knives over the years, and made dozens of cutterbodies if including things like drilling tools, as well as shaping and planer types. The reason is as stated earlier, when i started the stuff just was not available, certainly not at anything like economical costs. I often did research before building - makes perfect business sense. Then figured how long and how much better i could build compared to a custom from someone like Yates-American, and made the decision.

    I doubt 15% (just picking a wild number, but certainly less than 1 in 5 (20%) of the tooling or profiles was ever available off the shelf. I do buy conventional shapes when the cutting angles and geometry match what i need. Also modify off the shelf tools when faster/easier. But most tooling for most of my projects is just faster, cheaper, and more effective to build here.

    The corrugated cutter MTP vise grip style heads shown above are an example of the process, ca 1985 or so. We were somewhat routinely making short runs of wide board flooring in various species, though mostly w. oak. You have to go back to the late 70's/early 80's for this to make sense - there were not commercial regular options for stuff like this, or more accurately, a whole bunch of us small shops throughout the US were just starting to meet a design driven demand for a "new" old look. During this period, there was very little choice in wood flooring, w. oak, r. oak, some maple for bowling alleys and rare residential, that was about it that was not custom from a small shop. your choices in the above were 2-1/4" strip, and 3-1/4" strip. There were several grades in each, and you could get QS in W.oak. "Clear" grade w.oak was about 50cents sf; "clear QS" was a couple cents more. (This was an era of quite a range of prefinished floors, though). This is too explain why we (& many others) were making flooring at the time. Sometimes we would re-machine factory strip for things like square parquet, or herringbone - sometimes it was just faster to make it all from scratch to reduce the waste of throwing out a lot of not-so-short ends from factory random bundles.

    Getting back to the cutterheads - the only profiles available were for conventional strip, which had a very short, round tongue. When used on wider boards in the mid-Atlantic states climate, the tongues would pop over a seasons's cycle and begin to push the floor apart. My solution was a parallel sides tongue, a bit longer and narrower. YA priced them at several $1,000 dollars. I built my own in a few days. Thjey work fine, though the parallel feature does not really have adequate clearance angle. This was acceptable given the few hundred ft at a time we briefly made. It can be seen the heads are adjustable for fit (offset bits). If we had continued to make the product, i would have added a feature (re-machine parts of the heads to include stellite spurs). But shortly after, larger companies became more prevalent in the market and it became rarer that it made sense for us to run the product. I also always, even from the first requests, had a philosophical problem with the concept of T & G (or spline) wide board flooring. Except in museums with back-up systems for never fail controlled humidity, very wide stuff is going to have wide cracks at some times of the year, and be tight at others. T & G weakens the edge over the groove, and makes the life of the floor dependent on that thin-ness. IMO, if you want the look of wide voard floors, better to square edge on a very sound subfloor system, adhere with modern urethane flooring adhesive, and screw & plug. The cracks will be no more or less, but the durability of the edges will be better. If the screws and plugs are uniformly set low enough, this will promote a longer life, and the floor won't fail when the edges over grooves have reduced a mere 1/8" or 3/16".

    Anyway, the cutterheads made perfect practical and economic sense at the time, but times change, often suddenly and rapidly.

    Many other cutterheads and tooling sytstems here have had much longer runs, and making them was usually very economically viable.

    One defect that the "Euro" heads share with a range of simple planer style cutterheads for any sort of complex cut or production runs, is that the cut is all on one face of one bit. There are 2 problems. The primary problem is generally poor cutting geometry in some parts, no or impractical adjustability, and all the cut taking place on one face. The second problem is little option to sharpen the profiles without a complete re-grind. Systems such as the one below are available at the industrial level, but often it is economical to "Just build it". They work so much better. Insert cutterheads are failry fast and easy, especially if cutters are made in multiples while the machinery is set up.

    Besides the much better cutting geometry, stacks like this will do a range of thicknesses with proportional T & G features, and the easy option to change overall proportions of a profile such as vertical location of T & G independent of depth of face, depth of bevel, etc.

    smt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dscn0008.jpg   dscn0009.jpg   dscn0011.jpg   dscn0002.jpg  

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    ^^^
    I believe OP asked about modifying a head for a teaching class, and a corrugated/serrated one at that...
    No photos of the corrugated/serrated back head you made then, you know, like OP asked advice about? Not some other tooling that that you have made that has serrations- seriously, how does that help?
    In all honesty, would you consider using that tooling in a class on a manual feed machine?


    I'll ask the same questions, since straw man argument is so productive...
    Can you quantify how many euro heads you have made and how much more difficult they are to make compared to a serrated back head?
    Can you quantify the issues you perceive with euro tooling given your difficulty in sourcing supplies and making holes in knives?

    Yes, you can piss higher- my point is it's not essential, and pissing demonstrates the irrelevance of said pissing.
    Any we wonder why few ask questions here?

    Make something useful (sawdust) please.

    In Europe, a huge variety of work is done on spindle moulder machines, including work that even here would be done on a more specialist machine- for example, cutting tenons. I was surprised by this but it seems that versatility matters more than outright production volume and this can be seen and experienced in the machines and tooling.

    WRT to the comment that only one knife does the cutting; yes, that's often the case with any style of head to some degree unless the knives are ground in the head. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's bad sometimes it's essential. Remember that old school is the new school.
    Last edited by Greenwud; 09-17-2018 at 05:18 AM.

  21. #20
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    Green - I posted a corrugated head with corrugated knives as my first answer to the Q, how hard is it to do in the shop?
    This is the wood forum on the world's largest machining site. Many who post here, including Richard and I make tooling as a matter of course.

    You failed to answer the question, you hi-jacked the thread to discust other tooling including Euro cutterheads, to further state &/or infer that making cutterheads was improvident, and you keep trying to start a pi$$ing match. Have you yet added anything useful to the consideration of building tooling?

    (Above) in recognizing your hi-jack, i agreed it was worthwhile to go forward and consider "_building_ tooling in general that might do the job and why"

    So, until Richard objects, i am addressing your deep concern that there is no reason to make tooling. Manifestly, several of us on this site do so. If that scares you or does not fit your interests, quit reading. You have not added anything but bile to the discussion.

    If you have projects to post please do so.
    I post projects and get grief. I post tooling and get grief. Please add something substantive including whatever it is you are making these days except discord.

    WRT to the comment that only one knife does the cutting;
    That was not my point - i said that the cut is all on one face. This usually creates less-than-favorable geometry for a "complex" cut compared to one where each segment of the cut has its own rake/hook/shear angles optimized. Additionally, a cutter; perhaps especially one that includes slotting sections, that is built with those features usually runs more freely, cuts longer between maintenance events, and is easier to maintain.

    I'm genuinely curious - do you do woodwork professionally? What do you make? Since a concern of yours is "why people don't post" why don't you post your projects with pictures? Richard and I have.

    smt


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