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Hendey Shapers


In their early days, from 1870 to 1890, the Hendey Company were better known for their range of powerful and well-designed shapers, rather than lathes. By 1874/5 the factory had started production of a new design of (patented) friction-drive hand and powered shapers and planers - all of which won awards in the popular trade exhibitions of the time - and their success was sealed in 1878 when one of the machines, a powered friction shaper, was adopted by the US Naval Board as the standard machine to be used throughout the service. The "Friction" planer was so named because of its drive system, which incorporated a cast-iron clutch between the two pulleys to provided instantly selectable forward and reverse motions. Like many early machine tools, reverse was obtained very simply by taking both belts from a common countershaft, but "crossing over" that which was to drive the reverse pulley.  As the ram on a shaper - or the table on a planer - reached the end of its set travel, it tripped stops (or "dogs") which acted on the clutch and caused it to pick up the drive from the appropriate pulley.
The shapers on this page all date from a time in the late 1800s and early 1900s when this type of machine, with its cheap tooling (in comparison with a milling machine) and relative ease of setting up, was very popular.

Hendey shaper department in 1921

One of the first Hendey shapers - the 24" Friction of 1874

Friction Shaper 1876. The fast-and-loose countershaft unit (on the floor) would have been mounted on beams above the shaper - the domed cups were to catch oil dripping from the hanger bearings

Friction shaper 1875

Hendey 15-inch stroke friction shaper as shown in the 1889 and 1903 catalogs

Hendey 15-inch stroke friction shaper as shown in the 1903 catalog


The Hendey shaper was fitted with a micrometer adjustment to the ram stroke that could be altered while the machine was in motion. The friction-drive mechanism can just be seen under the rear of the ram with the actuating lever, set between two stops, bracketed to the side of the main column. An essential accessory on any shaper is a robust vise, preferably with a swivelling base, rigidly attached to the table; Hendey shapers were always sold complete with a vise, either plain or swivelling, of their own design and manufacture.

Hendey 24-inch shaper circa 1903

Hendey 24-inch shaper circa 1903

Hendey 28-inch shaper circa 1903

Hendey 28-inch shaper circa 1903

Hendey Hand-operated planer 1870

Hendey planer 1873

Hendey 16-inch planer 1877


email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Hendey Shapers