View Full Version : Atlas 7b shaper stand - photos

04-08-2009, 11:55 PM
So here’s what I’ve been up to….

I put up a sneak preview of the shaper a few weeks ago, it’s now finished and running and making chips….but its sitting on an old photocopy stand ….on casters. The dance it does with the ram’s change in momemtum is comical but not a keeper.

I really like Doc’s retro fabricated base, but I started doing the numbers and figured I could probably set the shaper on a orginal base for about the same dough. There’s something almost sculpted about the Atlas shaper that will be a prefect with an original set of legs.

After a lot of pleasant correspondence, my new bud Peter in CT, this 100lb box and arrived via UPS. I hate UPS, but the post wouldn’t take something that heavy. Item marked with a $20 value. $100 in shipping charges, ZERO duty (on machine parts) and $22 in UPS additional extortion fees standing on the stoop GRRRRRR – let the UPS boycott continue!


packing 100lbs of cast iron shaper legs is as a task. Anyway, I cleaned the legs up with a wire brush and primed and painted the same colour as the shaper.


I had some rough sawn hard (very bloody hard) maple strips that would be perfect for the top.


04-08-2009, 11:57 PM
The real effort comes in the woodworking. Now we all know metalworking is the higher calling and cerebral craft, but man, those hand tool woodworkers sure do earn their keep! It’s hard work.


Its flat when the rule will stand up on edge. Lol


After gluing


More rough planning.


04-08-2009, 11:58 PM

Onto the edges – end planning hard maple makes the rest of it look easy


Quick treatment with a scraper and its stain time


All cutting, dimensioning and finishing of the wood work is done by hand tools. Good exercise and I have a lot of ideas on how wood planes, particularly the blade adjustment can be improved, the existing mechanism on my Record (is it a bailey?) mechanism are just plane (haha) crude.

For the bottom shelf, I had an old piece of built up maple that had held taper drills once in a high school machine shop. Knocked the worst of it off with a chisel and planed it flat and square.


04-08-2009, 11:58 PM
Thatís pretty much it, bolted together and ready to lift the shaper on when my sonís home from school this weekend


04-09-2009, 12:05 AM
Very nice work. :)

04-09-2009, 12:07 AM
Absolutely fantastic work, Mcgyver. That's a beautiful stand and doing all the wood working by hand is really a tremendous feat. My Dad's hobby is wood working, but he's got the full blown wood working shop. Power tools for wood are too loud, dusty and irritating for my taste. When I do woodworking, I try to do it by hand - there is something more personal (that's not really the right word but I can't describe it appropriately) about it when you make it literally "by hand". Most of my "by hand projects" end up as kindling, but my success rate is slowly improving :D

edit: I guess what I mean is that the stand has a special quality because you made it by hand. Maybe that special quality it gains is because it truly is a labor of love when you choose to do it the slow way.

04-09-2009, 12:20 AM
It's a beautiful table for that mill. Your project reminded me why I love my cabinet saw, my planer, my joiner, my radial arm saws, my power hand planer, my power sanders, my band saw, my wood lathe.... :) Many of them are now a necessity since my bursitis kicked in. Swinging a hammer is a serious effort now.

And what a great score on the legs! I may have to try to make some like that from wood for my Atlas as I imagine they're pretty rare. If I can find the matching mill I'll need to make matching bases.

04-09-2009, 12:27 AM
thanks guys, Dennis you're so right.... I mean all it was was a simple rectangular piece of wood, not like i built an french armoire or something, but it was really hard work and took a few days....kind of puts me in awe of the craftsmen of early days who did everything my hand.

as I imagine they're pretty rare the come up on ebay occaisonally, no super rare. I found this set by getting in contact with all the guys you see selling and parting Atlas stuff on ebay and one came up with a pair.

I think its going to look great with the shaper on it though.


04-09-2009, 05:40 AM
Well Done Mcgyver
Absolutely super wood work, so nice to see good hand tools at work

Your Old Dog
04-09-2009, 06:26 AM
...........I mean all it was was a simple rectangular piece of wood, not like i built an french armoire or something, but it was really hard work and took a few days....kind of puts me in awe of the craftsmen of early days who did everything my hand..........

Keep in mind Mac that a lot of the really high end guys had apprentis's doing the bull work for them. It was all part of the learning process. Those fantastic brass/bronze elevator door carvings we see were largely done by rookies and then the Master moved in near the end and took over. They could never have been so prolific were it not for a lot of bullwork from guys learning the trades.

Great looking project. BTW, don't think I've seen anything come out of your shop I wouldn't be proud to say was my work.

BTW, is that low angle block plain the best kept secret in woodworking or what? :D

Before you mount the shaper, you might want to cutor route a small grove around the perimiter on the bottom to act as a drip ledge to keep oil from getting to the underside. It might wreck havoc on your glued joints if it makes it all the way across.

04-09-2009, 07:03 AM
Beautiful work.

Too purty for use in my shop. I noticed the green southbend paint is coming off my factory drawer stand. Must have been when I was spraying that epoxy onto the old truck in the next room, or shooting the gun clear with laquer thinner? or?

I ground on a frame with a 7" grinder for four hours, it has a nice 1/16th thick coating of grit on everything in that "side" of the shop now. Including the 2005 Honda civic truck. (Ahh can't have nuttin pretty over thar)

04-09-2009, 09:03 AM
That is just great work Mcgyver! BUT, just so we all know, you have some SERIOUS woodworking kit there and you evidently have spent more than a little time "learning the craft." I dont think you would pick up that bench OR the twin screw vise at Princess Auto--they have the the look of Veritas!
On a parallel note, my shaper lacked a stand and I built one in pyramidal form, using sheet goods, for stability. It has three drawers and a bunch of pidgeon holes for bar stock and is very stable at all but silly speed/stroke settings. However, it is too ugly to photograph. Duffy

04-09-2009, 09:38 AM
Looks fantastic! I love my woodworking as well as the metal working. I flip flop from one to the other. Doing just one I get frustrated and then go into the other mode for a visit and then back to the previous project. Keeps me happy and my projects varied. Great job Fred

04-09-2009, 10:05 AM
thanks guys!

, just so we all know, you have some SERIOUS woodworking kit there and you evidently have spent more than a little time "learning the craft." I dont think you would pick up that bench OR the twin screw vise at Princess Auto

haha, you're mostly right, true confessions, 15-20 years ago before i had a garage, I tried woodworking in a small basement room; too small for machines. A few hand tools were collected , most are seen in the pics.....with lots of enthusiasm i read a lot but didn't have a decent bench and never built anything to speak of. mostly armchair woodworking.

Finally with a garage and a small economic success, i bought the Veritas bench with visions of becoming a great woodworker. Then the metal lathe/mill gloat came along and pretty much eclipsed woodworking That Veritas bench is second most expensive shop thing I've bought and the only large new thing but confess it is very under utilized, most of the time it has a sheet of plywood over it covered in machine parts or one type or another. So I haven't made anything to speak of from wood....even the hard maple strips were originally intended for a bench bought decades ago until is said #$%$# it and bought the bench :D

I hope to do more though, its nice working with wood and with hand tools its good exercise....I think a decent blade adjustment for the planes though would make it less frustrating.

04-09-2009, 10:53 AM
Well that's nice looking and a fair amount mf work.

My own shaper story is similar but different, as I bought an Atlas in the mid-1980's, from down here in the village. Carly Smith, the old millwright, a WW I veteran, had died, and his family was selling a few of his things. His grandson, George Shepard, my age, but even then (and before) well on his way to being a crusty old Vermonter (among other details he arrived at work when he was ready, never tied his boot laces, and kept his money in cash in his wallet, a lot for those times) was the salesman.

I knew Carly a bit, liked him a lot (at the millwork shop in the 1970's once asked for and was given the opportunity to rehab a medium sized old step pulley engine lathe with him--a great learning experience), and had both visited at his house and worked on his house. So George sold me the shaper for $75; this was probably about all that it was valued at back then. George called it a 'whip shaper,' had heard his grandfather say that--I never knew what this meant until a few years ago I learned that the Whipp company of Sidney (I think) Ohio made shapers: perhaps George had the story wrong or perhaps Carly did, but I think they referred to all shapers as 'whip shapers.' I knew they weren't used for making whips.

I think the little Atlas had come from the repair department of the local furniture mill; we'd all worked there, another of Carly's grandsons, George's brother, Tom, had been in the repair/maintenance department when I was there, about 1978 or so.

The shaper came with its original legs--including the maple shelves that McGyer has so carefully workled on--and vise. The diecast table forward/reverse housing was cracked but has worked with a homemade repair since.

When I bought the machine we two young strong men loaded it into the back of my little pickup (might have been a Datsun, I think) and I driove it up the road to where I lived, about five miles, in the next town. Ten or twelve years later I moved down here, and eventually brought the Atlas down and moved it into the cellar (in the back of a black Toyota). I don't know if I'll leave it there since I've built a metal shop extension off the back of the barn. The funny thing is I now live within sight of Carly's old house, it's only a block away.

What's not as funny is that poor old tough, crusty, George S, developed a brain tumor in the late 1980's, died in September of 1989. I went to his funeral (with my wife, who even then had the leukemia that was going to kill her in 1993; I can date George's funeral in the Catholic church because we were leaving the next day for my wife's 20th high school reunion, in Austin, Texas. I was town manager of the little town then, and wrote George's widow a nice long letter, I was sorry he was gone.

oil mac
04-09-2009, 05:36 PM
Excellent work, good to see something done with hand tools only,Your shaper is going to look a million dollars sitting on the nice maple,
We are waiting with anticipation for you posting a photo of the shaper tid down and in its work-place

Al Messer
04-09-2009, 11:51 PM
That looks first rate!!!

J Tiers
04-10-2009, 08:53 AM
Hmmmm.......... very nice, way too pretty for work....... :D

One thing I never can "get"........ I can make a piece of metal flat to any arbitrary limit...... But to get a bunch of wood glued together and made flat on top, that seems to be really hard!