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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 02-26-2018 01:21 PM 1952 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SweetTea

369 posts in 832 days


02-26-2018 01:21 PM

I am considering making the plunge into insert tooling for our shapers that we use to make cabinet doors. I can not afford the nice $1,500.00 Freeborn insert cutters at this time. (maybe in the future). So with that being said, I would like to get some opinions on some of the various options that are more in my price range. Any opinions or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Here are the ones that I am looking at:

1. Infinity Insert Pro 00-930. These look to be well made, and while not likely Freeborn quality, they seem to have good reviews. I like that with these, I can do my cope and stick cuts on one shaper without having to adjust the fence, as these are a one piece stacked style but not stacked, just one piece.

2. Amana 61273. These seem well made but don’t have many reviews. I would have to buy two of the cutter heads so that I could run two shapers at the same time and not have to fool with setting up and tearing down the cutters every time I want to go from cope cuts to stick cuts. This also makes them twice the price of the Infinity setup.

3. CMT series 694.014. I have heard great things about their saw blades, but almost nothing about their shaper cutters, insert tooling, specifically. They look to be a similar style to the Infinity Insert Pro setup. With the cutter head being one piece (stacked style but one piece) and having the ability to do the cope and stick cut on one machine without having to adjust the fence. I do not know their exact price at this moment.

4. Freud RS 2000. This set comes with two cutter heads, which is nice, but so far this is the most expensive setup of all the ones that I am considering. I know that Freud is generally considered “Quality”, but I am not sure if their insert tooling shaper cutters are in the same league, performance wise, to the above, in particular the CMT or the Amana. There are some bad reviews on this Freud RS2000 set. This set would give me the ability to do 18 different door profiles. Which is not a deal maker for me as I mostly only do ogee and shaker doors.

All opinions are welcome.


23 replies so far

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shipwright

8129 posts in 2970 days


#1 posted 02-26-2018 04:49 PM

I have a CMT head and cutters and I’m very happy with them for what ever that is worth.
Not the rail and stile cutters though. I have this set.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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SweetTea

369 posts in 832 days


#2 posted 02-27-2018 11:21 AM



I have a CMT head and cutters and I’m very happy with them for what ever that is worth.
Not the rail and stile cutters though. I have this set.

- shipwright

Thanks for the reply Shipwright. Right now I am leaning towards the CMT 694.014. It seems to be good quality, plus I just noticed that it is a combo head allowing me to use one machine for the cope and stick cuts, while not have to adjust the fence in between cutting the cope or stick cuts. The CMT head and knives are under $300 too, so that will save me some money over the Freud and Amona sets.

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SweetTea

369 posts in 832 days


#3 posted 02-27-2018 11:26 AM

For the past year or so I have been using Grizzly rail and stile cutters, but I have not been happy with the quality of the cut nor the fit of the rails and stiles. I am spending some time this week tuning my shapers. I plan to order the insert cutters tomorrow. Once they come in I will set everything up and finish tuning my shapers. If I am not satisfied with the quality of the CMT setup, I will likely bite the bullet and order a higher end set. I really don’t want to have to do that because I am saving up for a use wide belt sander to replace my SuperMax 25×2 drum sander.

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Tony_S

939 posts in 3255 days


#4 posted 02-27-2018 11:29 AM

I can’t comment on any of the heads you have listed, but you should get a price from these guys as well. Won’t be cheap, but they’re worth every penny(and more).

https://www.vexorcwt.com/multi-pro/

We’ve been using the multi pro heads in our shapers and moulder for about a year now and the muti pro cnc for about 5 years.
These heads/knives are without a doubt…absolutely amazing. I can’t say enough about how happy I am with them. They’ve made a HUGE difference in set up time and sharpening costs. Cut quality is awesome.
Previous to the multi pro heads we were using standard HSS corrugated knives.
Depending on what we were running in the moulder, we used to get 3-5000 ft/set up. Now….15-20,000 ft/set up bare minimum. Softer woods like poplar would approach 30,000 ft.
They also make the best quality custom router bits I’ve ever used.(and I’ve used a bunch).

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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John_H

185 posts in 1878 days


#5 posted 02-28-2018 04:28 AM

I upgraded to a new shaper a couple of years ago and went from a 3/4” spindle to 1 1/4” spindle, so I had to buy all new cutters

I looked at the Freud but ended up biting the bullet and went with Freeborn (buy once, cry once)

BUT – I went with their brazed 6 cutter set ( PC-10-010). Mainly because it seemed to give me more options. The 6 piece set can also be used to cut tongue and grooves, glass panel doors and could handle thicker material (3/4” to 1 1/8” where insert only handles 3/4” to 7/8 if I have this right). As you mentioned with the Infinity set, the Freeborn have ‘common minor diameters’ which means you don’t have to adjust the fence when switching cutters but they also have ‘vertical profile centering’ which means you don’t have to adjust the height either (not sure if Freud or the others have this feature, but it really makes things easy)

Also – I just didn’t see the need to be able to make different cope and pattern cuts and the brazed set is a little cheaper. I did go with insert tooling for the raised panel door cutter and the door edge

I can’t say enough about Freeborn customer service. This was a brand new shaper and I was getting a sloppy fit so I contacted them and they said send them the cutters and they would check them out. I did and they returned them with a test sample and said the cutters were on the money and the problem was with the shaper.

That is when I found out about the Betterly Unagauge which I bought and sure enough, the spindle was not perpendicular to the table which was causing the loose fit

So the three sets, (brazed cope & pattern, insert door edge and insert raised panel) was around $900 and I got the best price from Router Bit World. (either directly from them or sometimes they sell them on Amazon at a little better price)

SweetTea – you may be surprised to find that it is your shaper. Freeborn shows this simple test with a straight edge and some feeler gauges. I ended up buying the Betterly Unaguage which really comes in handy – it has a piece you can clamp to your shaper spindle and you can configure it a number of different ways to work with your table saw, router, etc
https://www.amazon.com/Betterley-UNA-GAUGE-Universal-Alignment-Adjustment/dp/B004AJWSVQ

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SweetTea

369 posts in 832 days


#6 posted 02-28-2018 10:35 AM



I upgraded to a new shaper a couple of years ago and went from a 3/4” spindle to 1 1/4” spindle, so I had to buy all new cutters

I looked at the Freud but ended up biting the bullet and went with Freeborn (buy once, cry once)

BUT – I went with their brazed 6 cutter set ( PC-10-010). Mainly because it seemed to give me more options. The 6 piece set can also be used to cut tongue and grooves, glass panel doors and could handle thicker material (3/4” to 1 1/8” where insert only handles 3/4” to 7/8 if I have this right). As you mentioned with the Infinity set, the Freeborn have common minor diameters which means you don t have to adjust the fence when switching cutters but they also have vertical profile centering which means you don t have to adjust the height either (not sure if Freud or the others have this feature, but it really makes things easy)

Also – I just didn t see the need to be able to make different cope and pattern cuts and the brazed set is a little cheaper. I did go with insert tooling for the raised panel door cutter and the door edge

I can t say enough about Freeborn customer service. This was a brand new shaper and I was getting a sloppy fit so I contacted them and they said send them the cutters and they would check them out. I did and they returned them with a test sample and said the cutters were on the money and the problem was with the shaper.

That is when I found out about the Betterly Unagauge which I bought and sure enough, the spindle was not perpendicular to the table which was causing the loose fit

So the three sets, (brazed cope & pattern, insert door edge and insert raised panel) was around $900 and I got the best price from Router Bit World. (either directly from them or sometimes they sell them on Amazon at a little better price)

SweetTea – you may be surprised to find that it is your shaper. Freeborn shows this simple test with a straight edge and some feeler gauges. I ended up buying the Betterly Unaguage which really comes in handy – it has a piece you can clamp to your shaper spindle and you can configure it a number of different ways to work with your table saw, router, etc
https://www.amazon.com/Betterley-UNA-GAUGE-Universal-Alignment-Adjustment/dp/B004AJWSVQ

- John_H

Hey John, thank you for the detailed reply. If you don’t mind me asking, how much did you pay for just the brazed cope and stick cutters? I thought there were much more expensive than that. I might actually look into those. I vistited a custom door shop yesterday and they run all Freeborn brazed cutters. The manager gave me a demo of the cut quality from the Freeborn cope and stick cutters, and to say the least, I was blown away. They have the same shapers that I have. I couldn’t believe the difference between their Freeborn set and my el cheapo Grizzly.

I am actually planning to order the Unaguage to really dial in my shapers. I was planning to get some thin metal shims that I will use for aligning the spindle perfectly 90 degrees to the table top. On my shapers the top is bolted directly to the cabinet. So all I have to do is loosen the mounting bolts for the cast iron top and place the shims accordingly. Any further advice on that topic (aligning the cast iron top perfectly 90 degrees to the spindle) would also be greatly appreciated.

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John_H

185 posts in 1878 days


#7 posted 02-28-2018 05:27 PM

The Freeborn PC-10-010 was $403 from Amazon – the Seller was Routerbitworld. (At the time, the insert set was $544) I just checked and Amazon still has the brazed set listed but it looks like Freeborn is now the seller, and they are asking $461

https://smile.amazon.com/Freeborn-PC-10-010/dp/B000H6DU5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519837578&sr=8-1&keywords=freeborn+PC-10-010

But – you can get it directly from RouterBitWorld for $442, free shipping and probably no tax
https://www.routerbitworld.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=PC-10-010

Tuning up a shaper is not really that hard. You just have to be methodical. Write down every change, because a lot of times it is just a matter of trial and error – the results are not always what you expect, at least it was for me.

My shaper had 4 bolts to deal with. It was frustrating at times and it is very easy to get caught up in how far to the right of the decimal point you want to get. I will say that after I was done, I could run a cope and stick and the two pieces had a nice friction fit that would stay together.

Like I mentioned – the Unagauge is a great tool. I wish I would have known about it sooner, because I bought a bunch of other type of devices before and they are now replaced by the Unaguage.

I just drew lines on my shaper table to ensure I was taking measurements from the same spot each time, and I wrote the results right on the table with a sharpie. Keep in mind, there may be low spots in the table surface. For example, if you look at the pic, just about everywhere is right on the money, except the two readings at 9:00 and 10:30. You would expect the area directly opposite to be off in the opposite direction, but that was not the case.

I bought a pack of shim stock from Amazon. Although it was a little expensive, they really come in handy (It was $30 when I bought it – now it’s $40)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BYTCL6/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You should also check for runout at the base of the spindle and near the tip

The factory shims were circular, but the ones I cut from the shim stock – I left a little tail on them so it would be easier to place and remove

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TDHofstetter

4 posts in 34 days


#8 posted 10-11-2018 10:45 PM

I realize I’m a bit late to the show here… I just wanted to pass on a little information for future reference. I own a (fixed-carbide) Infinity panel raiser shaper cutter, the ogee one, and in no way does it earn their claims of “glass-smooth cuts that require little or no sanding”; the surface it leaves behind is very similar to a cat’s tongue. Their customer service had me send it back to them for testing, then reported that the surface they get from it is “as expected with a cutter of this age and condition”.

Worse, I posted a negative (one star) review of the cutter on their Website and they deleted it – they apparently only permit glowing reviews there.

-- -- Tim --

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AHuxley

818 posts in 3494 days


#9 posted 10-11-2018 11:40 PM

Despite being a necro thread I thought I would add what I consider to be the best insert head on the market. The Whitehall Combi Head is great, it had nickers to use as a rebate head and also takes cutter sets with limiters if you want/need MAN feed. You don’t even have to take the rebate knives/nickers out to run insert cutters. Over the years I have used a bunch of both Al and steel heads (Amana, CMT etc) and the Whitehall is by far the best I only use any of the others if I am stacking, I have yet to buy another Combi Head.

Whitehall

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Jared_S

65 posts in 132 days


#10 posted 10-12-2018 01:45 AM



Despite being a necro thread I thought I would add what I consider to be the best insert head on the market. The Whitehall Combi Head is great, it had nickers to use as a rebate head and also takes cutter sets with limiters if you want/need MAN feed. You don t even have to take the rebate knives/nickers out to run insert cutters. Over the years I have used a bunch of both Al and steel heads (Amana, CMT etc) and the Whitehall is by far the best I only use any of the others if I am stacking, I have yet to buy another Combi Head.

Whitehall

- AHuxley

Whitehill (not hall).

I’ve been looking at the Whitehill catalog a lot lately. The 95mm combi head will stack with the 125mm rebate block for cutting sash profiles. It unfortunately doesn’t work with the 125mm combi head. Only really relevant if you plan on making windows and doors.

Their tenon heads and raised panel heads seem like a good value as well, considering the significant number of stock profiles available for each (at reasonable cost)

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AHuxley

818 posts in 3494 days


#11 posted 10-12-2018 04:11 AM


Whitehill (not hall).

- Jared_S

Thanks for the correction, while I am usually a stickler for company and product names Whitehill is one of my mental blocks just like Nordfab which I invariably type as Norfab even though I “know” better.

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timberframe

8 posts in 134 days


#12 posted 10-12-2018 01:44 PM


Whitehill (not hall).

- Jared_S

Thanks for the correction, while I am usually a stickler for company and product names Whitehill is one of my mental blocks just like Nordfab which I invariably type as Norfab even though I “know” better.

- AHuxley

One really cool thing about the Whitehill head is the ability to use it as a one-sided tenoner with fully scribed shoulders if you have a stub spindle. I have a bearing for my smaller block to use as a template/pattern cutter.

B

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SweetTea

369 posts in 832 days


#13 posted 10-13-2018 11:42 AM

Does anyone know what the cost of the Whitehill cope and stick heads are? I would like to be able to use a shaker or ogee profile on my doors.

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timberframe

8 posts in 134 days


#14 posted 10-13-2018 12:46 PM



Does anyone know what the cost of the Whitehill cope and stick heads are? I would like to be able to use a shaker or ogee profile on my doors.

- SweetTea

They have dedicated carbide tipped (insert style) heads for cabinet doors on page 24 of their 2015 catalogue that were 650GBP (855usd) when I checked, but I would seriously consider HSS for more flexibility. Those cabinet door sets are all kinda one trick ponies. Great if you have a ton of doors, but It’s a lot of money to have on the shelf if you’re not spitting them out regularly. You could get the large combi head and a crap load of knives for that money and have a shear cut rebate block to boot. Their 2019 catalogue is coming out soon, should be cool.

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Jared_S

65 posts in 132 days


#15 posted 10-13-2018 06:17 PM



Does anyone know what the cost of the Whitehill cope and stick heads are? I would like to be able to use a shaker or ogee profile on my doors.

- SweetTea

The combi head is 146 (gbp) and the tongue and groove knives are 28 (gbp) per pair (you would need 2 pair depending on the tongue thickness.

If you are just looking for a dedicated shaker / tongue and groove heads get the amana 61218 adjustable set.

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