Metal Shapers

by Kay Fisher

Shaper of the Month

This month’s shaper story is from Mike Majusick in Centerville Ohio. This miniature (working) shaper was made by his grandfather (Walter Majusick) around the depression era.

Shaper on Bridgeport                       Photo by Mike Majusick

The story is that he started a washing machine repair business using the shaper and a miniature lathe (which Mike has never seen) to help make money to get through the depression.

Business Card                                   Photo by Mike Majusick

Mike found the business card pictured above in his old toolbox.

Right Side                                          Photo by Mike Majusick

Mike’s grandfather made the shaper and lathe strictly by hand. He hack-sawed all CRS material by hand. He drilled the holes with a hand drill. He didn't even have a drill press until he made one. He had a grinder that Mike’s uncle (a retired tool maker) used to crank so he could sharpen his drills. He displayed these objects at a hobby show at a nearby high school.

Front View                                         Photo by Mike Majusick

The shaper is fully functional, has 6 speeds and is powered by a Victrola spring winding motor (motorized record playing turn tables weren't yet invented). Mike ran shapers in high school and in his apprenticeship in the tool trade. He says this little shaper has every feature of the big ones. The table actually raises and automatically feeds from side to side in both directions. The stroke is also adjustable.

This little machine has a table cross-feed travel of 4", a table height adjustment of 2", and an adjustable ram stroke of up to 3". It uses a 90-degree gear reduction from its 0.7 amp motor to drive a three-step pulley on the RH side.

Right Side Details                             Photo by Mike Majusick

In the photo above, the lever near the rear is a two-speed gear change lever that increases the range to 6 speeds. The same photo shows a knob over the gear cluster on the left that, when rotated to engage gears, determines the direction of the automatic table feed.

Left Side                                             Photo by Mike Majusick

When the cover on the left hand side is removed, you can see the adjustment nut for the ram stroke, as shown in the photo below.

Stroke Adjust Access                       Photo by Mike Majusick

This shaper is small enough to fit inside of a box that is 19" long X 9" wide X 10" high.

Right Side with Oiler                        Photo by Mike Majusick

The two wrenches and sewing machine oiler shown in the photo above are original and stored under the vise.

Front View                                           Photo by Mike Majusick

The toolbit down-feed mechanism is fully adjustable and rotates using radial t-slots similar to the setup on M-head Bridgeport mills. The vise also rotates.

Walter Majusick                               Photo by Mike Majusick

Walter Majusick came to the US from Poland as a young boy. He had no formal education. He is credited with inventing many common items, the most familiar of which is the flaring tool used to flair the ends of tubing. He was in the military at the time and received no patent in accordance with the laws of the time. He was born in Stryj Poland in 1896. He applied to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio for a position of tool, jig, and fixture maker in 1946 for $1.45/hour. He listed patents and patents pending for a scrubbing and polishing machine and a strip of gang lights (later used in bomber aircraft). He listed his hobbies as "developing mechanical machines, steam engines, gas engines, electric generating units, and steam turbines." Mike has some of his engines too. He retired from the Fabrication and Maintenance Division as a master machinist and certified inventor in 1960, making $3.49/hr.

The photo is of him with his coworkers standing in front of their building at Wright Patterson Air Force Base prior to his retirement.

He died in 1975. Mike inherited the shaper and will display it with his other collectible tools.

The photos of the shaper were taken on a bathroom countertop. Mike is willing to bet none of the members of NEMES has had a shaper in their bathroom yet!

Thanks Mike for that great shaper story.

Keep sending me email with questions and interesting shaper stories.

My email address is