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Power Feeding Hardwood Floor Panels through a Shaper with a DC70 Power Feeder

The DC70 Power Feeder has 7 small rollers and is commonly known for it's capacity to feed smaller and narrower parts that are difficult to feed with standard 3 and 4 wheel power feeders.  Because of the 7 small rollers on the feeder that are close together, it also feeds larger panels very well due to the added hold-down.  

A wood manufacturer in Pennsylvania manufacturers portable dance floors and had issues running plywood panels through their shaper with a standard 4 wheel power feeder so they upgraded to the Co-Matic DC70 Power Feeder. A rep with the company stated the following, "That feed roller you sold us with the 7 wheels is working wonderfully! The supervisor said it has cut his time in half! Glad I saw you guys at the IWF show!  The roller (DC70) provides constant and steady pressure. Previously, we would get down to the last 12” and the operator would have to push really hard to get the plywood through the cutter. With this machine that is not the case."

Check out the video of this shop running their DC70 Power Feeder:

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Angle Feeding Moldings through a Non-Tilting Shaper with a Power Feeder

A woodworker in Virginia doesn't have a tilting spindle shaper, so he added a bed to his shaper table, adjusted his DS400 Smart Feeder and ran his large moldings through this setup.  Check it out:


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Using the DC40 Power Feeder on a Bandsaw

This woodworker typically uses our Co-Matic DC40 Power Feeder on his Felder Hammer combo machine, but decided to try it out on his bandsaw by using the instant 90° adjustment to get the feeder angled perfectly against his bandsaw fence.

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Which Power Feeders for Shapers?

With a wide variety of power feeders to choose from, how can you decide which option is best to run on your shaper?  We answer this question and dissect how to determine which feeder is ideal for shapers in your woodworking shop.  We break this down by examining (1) 3 wheel vs 4 wheel feeders, (2) feeding shorter parts, and (3) speed capabilities.  In doing so, we focus on the mid to heavy-duty power feeders and not the light-duty small feeders

1. 3 Wheel vs 4 Wheel Feeders

Perhaps one of the most common questions is, "Should I get a three or four wheel feeder?" Here are the arguments for each type of feeder according to feedback from many users of 3 and 4 wheel feeders:

Arguments for 4 Wheel Feeders

4 wheel power feeder

1.  Less Positioning: The cutter head is placed between the two center rollers of a 4 wheel feeder so you only have to pivot the feeder to adjust the toe in when changing the feed direction. (The outfeed roller should be 3 to 4mm closer to the fence than the infeed roller).  3 wheel feeders also require changing the feeder's position in relation to the cutter when changing feed directions (typically two on the infeed and one on the outfeed side)

2.  Added hold-down: 4 wheel feeders offer more hold-down with the extra wheel, leading to a more secure feed especially when feeding larger and longer parts.  An owner of a 3 and 4 wheel feeder stated that he experienced "less sniping" with the 4 wheel feeder.  Another 4 wheel feeder user didn't see any downside to 4 rollers and he especially likes the extra roller when feeding passage door parts or longer moldings.

3.  Safety: Great Lakes Custom Tool, a shaper tooling manufacturer in Wisconsin strongly advises to use a 4 wheel feeder when climb cutting as the extra 2 rollers on the outfeed side help prevent the workpiece from shooting out.

Arguments for 3 Wheel Feeders

3 wheel power feeder

1.  Smaller Footprint / Less Weight: 3 Wheel Feeders are roughly 5" shorter and 6 lbs lighter.  Some users have stated that the smaller weight and footprint make it easier to maneuver.

2.  Less Price:  The typical price difference from a 3 to 4 wheel feeder of the same model is $100-$150, and it is one less roller that needs replaced when switching the rollers out.


4 Wheel Feeders are most often preferred over 3 wheel feeders as the benefits usually outweigh the higher price.  Aside from the price, there isn't a significant downside to 4 wheels as the footprint/weight difference is minimal.  For those running cabinet doors and small trims on a small shaper where climb cutting isn't common, a 3 wheel feeder may meet your needs. If you aren't sure, you can't go wrong with a 4 wheel feeder.

2. Feeding Shorter Parts

Standard 3 and 4 wheel feeders have a distance of around 6" from center to center of the rollers.  The common suggestion is to feed parts that are atleast double the distance between two rollers from center to center, which would be about 12" on 3 or 4 rollers.  Depending on the profile and weight of material, you may be able to get away with feeding parts close to 6", but parts that short tend to wobble.  If you want a stock feeder that has the capability of feeding parts shorter than around 12", you will want to consider a track feeder or the DC70 feeder:

1.  Track Feeders

Most track feeders have 3 to 5 pulleys with 3 belts so you have continuous contact (a little flex in between the pulleys).  Pulleys are typically about 6" center to center, but the belts ensure consistent feeding for shorter parts as long as the belts are in good condition and not stretched, maintaining tightness throughout the feed.

2. DC70 Power Feeder

The DC70 Power Feeder has 7 small rollers to accommodate short stock with the largest distance (center to center) being about 2-1/2" and the overall length of the feeder is similar to a 4 wheel feeder.  The recommended minimum length of stock is 5" but shorter parts can be fed depending on the profile and material. A shop that manufactures little wood boxes (Pet Urns) successfully feeds 3" long parts without any wobbling or sniping.  The DC70 also has a variable speed adjustment so you can dial in the exact speed you want from 7 to 86 FPM.

power feeder for short parts

 3. Speed Capabilities

One woodworker stated on an online forum that you can never have too many speeds and that you want to run parts as fast as possible without compromising the quality of cut.  This is the general feeling among feeder users, although there are exceptions depending on the application.  Make sure the power feeder you choose will be able to run at the proper speed for you application.  If you will be running different applications that require different speeds, consider what feed rates are optimal and the process your feeder will require in achieving the different speed requirements when changing speeds.  Power feeders generally come in three speed types: 4 Speed, 8 Speed, and Variable Speed.  Let's break each option down:

4 Speed:  You can achieve two speeds per each gear setting, which is adjusted (rabbit and turtle) on the motor switch.  To achieve the other two speeds, you switch the gears in the feeder around.  The four speeds typically range between 13 - 66 FPM

8 Speed: You can achieve four speeds per each gear setting, which is adjusted on the motor switch and an extra speed adjustment handle that the 4 speed models don't have.  To achieve the other 4 speeds, you switch the gears in the feeder around.  The eight speeds typically range between 6 to 108 FPM.

An optional gear set (to replace the standard gear set) is typically available to achieve different speeds for both 4 speed and 8 speed models.

Variable Speed:  You can achieve any speed you want within a certain range, which is typically from 5 to 84 FPM depending on the model.  You don't have to switch any gears around with variable speed models.  Some variable speed models are adjusted by a dial with a surrounding label that indicates the speed.  Co-Matic DC power feeders are adjusted by a dial with the speed showing on a digital readout.  


There are some more points that can be covered, such as positing the feeder for angled feeding or horizontal feeding directly against the fence.  For shaper feeding that requires a lot of 90° swiveling between the fence and against the table, the DC Series Feeders are highly recommended due to the locking pin that allows for a quick 90° adjustment back and forth.  The above points are generally the main things to consider when deciding on a power feeder for your shaper.  For those considering a power feeder for a table saw or jointer, most of the above topics can also be applied. 

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The Ideal Edge Banding Machine for Schools?

A school district that was edgebanding "The Old Fashioned Way"

Straddling the line between balancing a budget and acquiring ideal woodworking equipment, especially edge banding machines, can be a very difficult task for schools.  RUSD (Redlands Unified School District in California) was edge banding the old fashioned way with spray adhesive when they discovered a low-cost glue pot edgebander that could improve their shop.  

Making the jump up to a glue-pot edge banding machine

Wanting to upgrade while staying under budget, they decided to purchase the Le-Matic Edge Banding Machine with a kit that included all the accessories necessary to completely finish an edgebanding project.   Below is a video of RUSD comparing their previous edgebanding operations (contact adhesive) with their current operations (Le-Matic Edgebander), which shows the Edgeband Trimmer and Edgebander being used in both the Table Station and Hand-Held: 

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Contour edgebanding in the hand held setup with a portable edgebander - Wilding Wallbeds

Wilding Wallbeds has been running a Brandt KDF-520 Edgebander for the past 5 years; however, projects requiring the production of contoured parts were very difficult to complete, as the KDF-520 only edgebands straight parts.  The edgebander operators found themselves having to edgeband contoured parts by hand, which was a long and tedious process.  In 2014, Wilding purchased the AR500 Portable Edgbander for the sole purpose of edgebanding parts that couldn't be ran through the KDF-520.  Below is a video of Wilding Wallbeds applying thin wood veneer strips to a contoured bedboard using the AR500 Portable Edgebander in the hand held setup:

"We used to do the curved edges by hand and it took a long time. This little edgebander has made this process a whole lot quicker. "

- Wilding Wallbeds


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Portable Edgebander - Table vs Hand-Held Setup


hand-held edgebander








The Portable Edgebanders offered by Shop Gear Inc. can be used in the hand-held setup by running the edgebander by hand around your work piece or in the stationary setup by placing it in a compatible table and running your work piece through the edgebander.  Used by both small and large shops, this handy machine is used in a variety of ways and for many different applications.  Despite the uniqueness of each woodworker’s edgebanding needs, a few basic guidelines will help you determine whether you should use this edgebander in the hand-held or table setup.  

If Possible, Use in the Table Setup

Edgebanding in the table setup eliminates the following 2 steps in the edgebanding process:

  1. Clamping your work piece
  2. Pre-measuring and cutting the edgebanding to proper length

If the wood you are edgebanding can be edgebanded in the table setup, DO IT.  The clamping system works fine and produces the same quality, so it is important to note that this recommendation is based completely on time and simplifying the edgebanding process.   

The rest of this article will provide basic guidelines for identifying whether or not the wood you are edgebanding can be ran in the table setup or needs to be ran in the portable (clamp) setup. 

Contour vs. Straight Edgebanding

Straight Edgebanding

Most of the woodworkers who use the Portable Edgebander for straight edgebanding run it in the table setup with the ST97 Fence Attachment (if running straight edgebanding in the table setup, make sure you have the ST97 Fence Attachment).  The clamping system works fine, (on smooth, non-porous material) but all straight work pieces can be compatible with the ST95A Table.  Some edgebanding projects call for edgebanding larger pieces of wood that can be too large to run through the ST95A Table by itself.  The solution is manufactured tables, which can be placed on the in-feed and out-feed side of the ST95A Table which make virtually all straight pieces compatible in this setup. 

Contour Edgebanding

A good portion of portable edgebander users already have a straightline feed-through edgebander and run the portable edgebander solely for projects that require contour edgebanding.  When contour edgebanding, the decision depends on the 1)shape and 2)size of the pieces being edgebanded.  Larger contoured pieces can be very difficult to maneuver around the edgebander in the table setup; to the contrary, the edgebander can be easily maneuvered around larger, contoured pieces in the hand-held setup (minimum inner radius of 1 inch).  In general, the more contours, the bigger the piece, and the tighter the inner radius, the more likely you'll have to edgeband in the hend-held setup with clamps.  The pictures below illustrate some of the shapes that are ideal for each setup (size is not taken into account):


Ideal for Table Setup Ideal for Hand-held Setup
radius shelf.jpg shelf for portable setup.jpg
round table.jpg


In Summary…..

Almost any piece that can be edgebanded in the table setup can be edgebanded in the hand-held setup, but if compatible, edgeband in the table setup.  If the wood you are edgebanding comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, having both the clamps and table is preferable by providing you the flexibility to edgeband in both setups. 


Posted by Kyle Johnson of Shop Gear Inc.

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Shop Gear Inc. Participates in Annual School Conference by the UACTE

 "It's important for educators to become aware of what products are out there in the woodworking industry so they can identify solutions that not only meet their budgets, but align with the goals they have in training their students."

The Annual UACTE Winter Conference held at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, Utah provided an opportunity for industrial science teachers from Junior Highs, High Schools, and Colleges to gather together and learn about new products and technologies, and be trained further in their respective fields.  

Shop Gear Inc. accompanied Advanced Machinery Systems and TigerStop in supporting this event by educating those in the woodworking field on products in the woodworking industry.  Wood shop instructors play a key role in the preparation of those who will become cabinet makers, shelving manufacturers, and furniture makers, among others.  However, instructors are often in a difficult spot as they strive to train students using quality machinery and equipment while having to maintain a very tight budget. Ron Johnson of Advanced Machinery stated, "It's important for educators to become aware of what products are out there in the woodworking industry so they can identify solutions that not only meet their budgets, but align with the goals they have in training their students."  

The products that generated the most interest from the attendees were the SawGear Stop & Pusher system by TigerStop, the Hoffman dovetail machine, and the Portable Edgebander by Shop Gear. One wood shop teacher from Utah stated, "I thought I was going to have to pay around $8,000 for an edgebander.  Now I can get what I need for a lot cheaper that doesn't take up much space."

This conference proved to be very beneficial to those involved and Shop Gear looks forward to participating in these events down the road.




Posted by Kyle Johnson of Shop Gear Inc.



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Woodworking - How to Justify a Machinery Purchase?

To Buy or Not to Buy?


Unless you purchase woodworking machinery in order to better enjoy woodworking as a hobby, investing in machinery can be quite stressful and create great uncertainty.  For every woodworker (excluding most hobbyists), machinery investment decisions hinge upon whether or not the machine being decided upon will produce higher profits than the current processes that are being performed--which can be accomplished by reducing costs and/or increasing revenue.  

Maybe you are considering upgrading your edgebanding processes.  Should you pony up and purchase a larger feed-through edgebander, invest in a smaller portable edgebander, or continue outsourcing or doing edgebanding by hand?  Regardless of the type of machine you are looking to invest in, the procedure of assessing what justifies a machinery purchase is universal.  So rather than just making decisions off of your "gut feeling," run some simple calculations, which calculations have been outlined in the following Cabinet Maker article by Gero Sassenberg:

Click to Read: Justifying a Machinery Purchase


Posted by Kyle Johnson of Shop Gear Inc.



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2013 AWFS Fair Las Vegas

Thanks for visiting with us at our booth during the 2013 AWFS Fair in Vegas!  Hopefully you were able to see our products up close and maybe even see a live demonstration of the Le-matic Portable Edgebander.  We appreciate your business and strive to provide the right edgebanding and power feeder solutions for you to achieve success in your woodworking arena.

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