Router table or shaper?

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Forum topic by Al Killian posted 06-12-2008 03:54 AM 1459 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Al Killian

273 posts in 4019 days

06-12-2008 03:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question shaping milling router

I am getting ready to pull the trigger and get one or the other. I have read different debates going both ways. In the end they come out costing close to the same after everythiong is bought and or built. I am really leaning towards a shaper, but just not sure. At this point, my router is only 1/4” collet. This means I would have to buy a new router which I need plus all the other stuff. What would you do if you hade the choice? I am starting to get into makeing custom molding on my molding machine and need to get one or the other going soon.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

5 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3914 days

#1 posted 06-12-2008 04:03 AM

A router table is easy to make by yourself.

All the Jessem router lifts and bells and whistles may
give pride of ownership but we got along fine
without them.

My first router table was a piece of melamine. It
worked fine. I built a fence out of MDF and
I still use that same fence. Later I bought a steel
router table by Veritas but still used the same

I would go with the shaper if you have $500 or more
burning a hole in your pocket. You can do
much heavier work on a shaper and they are more
versatile than routers in many ways.

View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3902 days

#2 posted 06-14-2008 03:28 AM

I have similar but different question. I have a shaper that used to belong to my father. It is much older than me and I think was built in the ‘40s and sold by Sears. My dad taught me how to use it when I was just a kid and it has a lot of sentiment attached to it. When I was 10 he used it to build our kitchen cabnets.

The problem is it only has a 1/2” spindle and the throat is narrow so many cutters will actually hit the table unless it is fully lowered. The whole table moves up and down to adjust the height of the cut. I have used some spacers to raise the cutter but there is not a lot of room left on the spindle. There is not a wide assortment of 1/2” bore cutters available. I can use a 3/4” with a bushing but radius of the cutter would be a limiting factor. It is small but solid and weighs a ton. I can’t part with it and don’t have room for it and a router table in my shop although I wish I could have both.

I would like to get more cutters and make it more versitile but as I said there are not a lot out there and shaper cutters are much more expensive than router bits. Any suggestions on this or how I could set up the router table to take less space would be appreciated. Because of the way my table saw is positoned I can’t add a router under one wing as I have seen sometimes, otherwise this would probably work.

Thanks and sorry Al for piggybacking on your question with another question, but I think any comments will benefit us both.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View Billinmich's profile


246 posts in 3997 days

#3 posted 06-14-2008 04:02 AM

If you already have a router,I think I would go with a shaper.I have a router table wityh a 3 1/4 router, the router still bogs down when I make raised panels.I burned up my 1 3/4 router and was told to get a bigger router to do raised panels.Wish I would have gone with a shaper

-- Bill in Mich

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4358 days

#4 posted 06-15-2008 06:35 PM

Buy the shaper if you can. I also agree with what’s been said about having the router table, it’s too versatile and makes life easier. I faced a similar decision a few months back, and I’m very happy with my purchase. This is overkill but I’m blessed in the sense that I could afford the luxury. On the downside, cutters are more expensive, takes up room etc… I bought a 3hp shaper with a sliding table, a few cutters that included a door set and really like the quicker setup and overall better results. My shaper also has the collet for router bits. I also replaced my old Rockler router table with a new one, and bought a 2hp Triton (that is awesome!) It’s used mostly with an Incra universal jig.
Beeguy, look at , they carry a good selection of cutters with 1/2” bore.
Good luck to all and happy fathers day.

-- Nicky

View ItsMike's profile


21 posts in 3922 days

#5 posted 06-15-2008 06:55 PM

I have both and in my opinion if it one or the other go with a router table. I use them both but use my router table alot more, even when i do some small cope and stick projects.. I have the Jessem lift with a PC 7519 on a homemade table and fence.. I would like to get the incra fence system, just havent sat down and ordered it :)

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