Frequently Asked Questions


Simply put, they are the best on the market. We do not have a production line for tools other than shaper cutters, so we are able to devote our total attention to just that. Our cope and pattern sets fit from the start - no need to supply shims to adjust the fit. Because we put hubs on all of our cutters, after several sharpenings we can machine the hubs to bring the fit back to original specifications. Our cutters are made totally in the USA. If you break a tip, we can fix it. If you have questions, we have an 800 number so you can talk to someone now. This is not the case with imported shaper cutters.
Freeborn Tool Co. offers you a choice of tipping materials to maximize your cutting efficiency. Which one you use will depend on your application. Carbide cuts by abrasion, while T-Alloy cuts by severing the wood fibers, resulting in a smoother finish. Carbide: The choice for all around cutting, carbide is unsurpassed while working with man-made materials such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard. Carbide also works well on all natural woods. Our choice of C2 grade carbide offers the ideal combination of shock and wear resistance. Other carbide grades are available in custom cutters, but there is an extended lead-time. Choose carbide when a variety of materials are to be cut, for very abrasive woods, and for most hand fed jobs. T-Alloy: T-Alloy is a cast alloy comprised of cobalt, chromium, tungsten, columbium, and carbon. It is melted in electric furnaces and cast in chill molds. Ideal for natural woods, T-Alloy is not to be used on man made materials (plywood, MDF, etc). While not able to withstand as much heat as carbide, T-Alloy cutters can be made sharper and are highly resistant to shock and impact. Choose T-Alloy for use on natural woods where the feed rate can be kept high enough to allow the cutter to cut rather than rub the wood.
We will exchange any of our optional groover sets (see pg. 10 of our catalog) at no charge at the time the order is placed. We will exchange the groovers and send the set back to our quality control department to make sure everything fits properly and ship the set the following working day. If an optional groover set is requested, you will be unable to do the tongue and groove cut shown in the catalog, unless you order an additional groover. We also offer eased edges on our sets for a 20% surcharge. This will take one day to complete.
Most problems with fit are due to a misaligned shaper spindle. There are easy ways to determine if you need to make some adjustments on their shaper, or if a new cutter set is needed. Please visit our tutorial page on our website to help diagnose possible spindle alignment issues. The problems we hear most frequently are as follows: "The fit is too loose." "The tongue is longer than the groove so the sides don’t meet." The Fit Is Too Loose: This is most often caused by a spindle that is out of alignment. There are two easy ways to check. 1) Follow the spindle alignment steps that come with the cutters. (catalog pg. 7) 2) Take the center groover from the pattern side and run a test cut in a piece of wood. Take a pair of calipers and measure both the kerf of the groover, and the cut in the piece of wood. Our standard groovers have a kerf of .252”. If the kerf measures .252”, and the cut is greater than .252” there is spindle run out, since a groover can’t cut a groove greater than its kerf unless it is not cutting perpendicular to the wood. You need to go back and align your spindle, or you can shim your cope side to compensate. Note: if your set has eased edges, you must nest the pattern center groover in the gullet of the cutters above and below. Failure to do so will cause the carbide of the center groover to hit the body of the other cutters. This will cause the fit to be poor, and may result in the center groover bending when the set is tightened on the spindle. The Tongue Is Too Long: Usually caused by not getting a full depth of cut on the cope side when an optional center groover set with other than a 3/8”depth of cut is used. Our stock 3/8” deep center groovers do not require a fence adjustment when switching from the pattern to cope cut. Sets that substitute a 1/2” or 5/8” depth require the fence to be adjusted. Take a felt marker and blacken the cope side of the wood. Do a test cut. If there is still black visible, you are not getting the full depth of cut, and will need to adjust the fence. When the problem cannot be determined by these methods, give us a call. It is best to send the set back to us, along with a wood sample, so we can find out where the problem lies.
The profiles for the 5/8” material are designed to look the same, but they have 1/8” less rise which allows them to run on the smaller material, as well to be used with a back cutter on 3/4” material.
Yes. Our flooring set comes with a gap of .030”. At the time of purchase we can reduce that gap to whatever specifications you want. There is no charge for this.
The proper spindle speed and feed rate will vary depending on the size of the cutter you are using, the type of wood you are cutting, and if you are hand feeding or power feeding. The preferred method of determining the most efficient spindle speed and feed rate is to determine the number of knife cuts per inch you need, and set your RPM and feed rate off of that. A good starting point for knife cuts per inch is 17-19. To figure your cuts per inch, take your spindle RPM and divide by your feed rate in inches per minute. If you are running at 7000 RPM, and feeding at 25 feet per minute (300 inches), your knife cuts per inch would be 23 (7000/300). This may, or may not be too many cuts per inch. Take a look at the quality of the cut, and adjust accordingly. Remember, as cuts per inch increase, you run the risk of burning the wood and decreasing your cutter life.
Climb cutting is feeding material through the cutterhead in the same direction as the rotation. Benefits potentially include a better finish with less chance of tear out. NOTE: Under no circumstance should you try to hand feed as the wood can easily be shot out from the shaper. As long as you are using a power feeder, you can climb cut with our cutters. Climb cutting has the potential to also be safer in that if the wood binds, it will be pulled away from you.
Yes. There is a 20% surcharge to make one of our cutters in opposite rotation. Please call to estimate the number of working days before we can have one ready to ship.
An experienced, qualified sharpener should be able to properly sharpen our sets. (They will need to use a CBN wheel to sharpen our T-Alloy sets.) On Cope and Pattern sets, it is a good idea after several sharpenings to have the set sent back to us so we can sharpen and match the outer diameters of the cutters to ensure a good fit. We can retip any of our cutters, providing there is no damage to the body or bore.
When we make stock cutters, the cost of setting up the equipment at each stage of production is shared between all of the cutters. On a custom cutter, this expense is applied to only one cutter. Since labor is the most expensive part of the production process, this contributes to a major cost increase for the custom cutter.
To start with, send your dealer or us a drawing or a wood sample and we will provide a quote on the price along with an estimated date of completion. Next, we will send you an approval form to look over and sign. Once we receive the signed approval, we will start production of your cutter. Please contact us for current production times.
Freeborn Tool Co. relies on our dealer network to help sell and service our products. It would not be fair to them (or beneficial to you) for us to compete with our dealers. We are, however, available during regular business hours to help our customers with any questions or problems. Our toll free number is 1.800.523.8988.
We ship same day on all stock orders that we receive by 2:30 PST. If an item is on backorder, we ship within 7-10 working days. On service work, we ship in 3 working days on sharpening and 5 working days on retipping. Custom cutters will take 12 working days. We use both FedEx and UPS and will ship however you request.
We do on occasion offer savings on our cutters. These sales will be advertised through trade magazines as well as through our dealers.
Freeborn Tool Co. has a complete line of insert tooling. Our insert cutters are three wing, and like our brazed tooling come with either carbide or T-Alloy tips. Call us for a catalog and more information.