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Pierre Benite Shaper

I found this shaper through a craigslist advert in Belaire, Texas last summer. I purchased the machine sight-unseen as part of a package deal with a Wadkin PK sliding table saw. I had both machines shipped via common carrier from Texas to New Jersey. The total freight bill for both machines was $402 (inclusive of insurance). I couldn’t work out a delivery schedule with the carrier so I decided to pick both machines up at the terminal in Edison, NJ. I noticed that the forklift operator was having a difficult time moving the skid with the shaper off the dock. When he finally got it on the forks and brought it over to load, the reason for his trouble was apparent. The skid had been reduced to matchsticks and was only being held in place by the remaining slats and the strapping over the top of the shaper. Upon close inspection, it appeared that the only damage to the machine was to the fan-cover of the motor.  We removed the shaper from the skid and strapped it to the trailer. The Wadkin saw had also had a rough trip, but the skid was still intact and there was no visible damage to the saw. The shaper is a substantial machine with an extremely heavy cast iron base and very heavy table. The spindle cartridge is also extremely heavy with substantial bearings at both ends of the spindle. The bearings run in an oil bath. The spindle is 2″ in diameter and 7″ capacity under the cap nut. The spindle is a slotted “french” type arrangement with a retaining cap, screw and nut. The machine is three speed, adjusted by moving the flat belt on a stepped pulley on the motor. The tension on the belt is relieved by moving a handle on the side of the machine. This slides the motor up an incline to loosen the belt and allow speed changes. The shaper is also equipped with a foot brake and spindle lock. The original fence is missing, although the mounting bolts and dovetail blocks/nuts are still mounted on the table. The original fence would have been the european style split type fence. This is the same type of fence used on the early Wadkin spindle moulders. The shaper was manufactured in France and exported to Quebec. How it ended up in Texas is a bit of a mystery. The shaper came with an indexable carbide planing/jointing head. The spindle is 2″ in diameter. The spindle is raised and lowered via a handwheel. The handwheel is geared to a jack screw that moves the spindle cartridge in in dovetailed machine ways. The hub of the handwheel is fitted with an incremented scale and associated pointer to provide accurate measurement of movement. This is the first French made machine I’ve ever come across. Everything about it is impressive. The French spindle is a bit of a concern, but at 2″ diameter, I wouldn’t have much of an issue turning it down to 1-1/4″ and threading it for a regular nut. For now, I’ve got the shaper stashed in the carriage house. I’ll get it out and mess around with it after the weather breaks. Looks like it’ll be an interesting machine.

The owwm


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