the Carpentry Way: Aigner                                                          


I have always found shapers a little bit breath taking, if not a bit on the scary side. When wind comes off a spinning cutter and hits you in the face, you tend to respect the potential inherent in that, recognizing what 11 horsepower and a mass of knives whirling at 4000 rpm might do to your arm or finger if things went awry. Or, the simple fact that if things did go off track, even if there is no bodily injury it takes but a blink to annihilate your carefully crafted piece of wood.

I've been gradually acquiring over the past several months pieces of equipment which make the shaper safer to operate. The equipment in question is made by the German company Aigner, and thanks to a friend i have in Germany, I've been able to purchase several Aigner pieces without having to suffer the insanely high prices charged in North America for the same items.

I wanted to show some of that today, as I suspect many out there are unfamiliar with Aigner and what they do. Here's my basic set up to template shape some reclaimed Burmese teak:

Mounted to the grey BowMould master is an Aigner spanning bar which allows an Aigner pressure module to be fitted, in this case with a single sprung roller wheel. Everything mounts together seamlessly and is made of quality materials. The bar doesn't flex. When the BowMould Master is fastened down, it isn't going anywhere.

The fence is unbolted from the table and cranked up to clear using a hand wheel, then swung out to the rear - a nice feature on Martin shapers:

From the other side the cranking mechanism is clearer to view:

It's much nicer to do things this way than to try and lift the heavy fence off the machine and put in on the floor.

The cutter head is a Byrd Shelix® with a rub bearing below, and it is enclosed within the Aigner BowMould Master:

The polycarbonate shield and 4" dust port makes the cutting very clean and safe.

Another view:

There are numerous types of wheels which can be fitted, single, double, quadruple, paired, pressure bar ski, etc. The pressure module can also be mounted on the front table edge to push the roller horizontally instead of vertically. It's a very versatile set up.

Working my way through the cut - chip collection is excellent:

On to the other side now:

The finish produced by the cutter is quite good, and will require only minimal clean up afterward:

The shaper runs so smoothly and quietly and with the Aigner stuff in place, the whole operation was so much more comfortable and confidence inspiring than my experiences with previous machines and cobbled together set ups.

If anyone is interested I can do more posts like these as I put other pieces of Aigner gear (i.e.,  not shown above) into use.

All for today -thanks for swinging on by. Hope things shape up well for you too!