Shop Fox - 2hp Shaper (Rating: 5)

After owning these units for a few years now I think it might be a good idea to rewrite this review. Just starting into the cabinet business this machine will satisfy most of your needs. It is easily powerful enough to run shallow profiles, but when it comes to raised panel cuts you either have make sure your cutter is exceptionally sharp or you'll have to run it through a few passes.

The fence is superior to many shapers that I have used in the past, however, getting it parallel to the miter slot requires a few knocks left or right. This only matters when I do cope cuts and hasn't been a huge nuisance just yet. The spindle stays centered nicely, and can be set at 10k or 7k rpm. Both are great for shaper cutters but too slow in my opinion for a clean cut with a router bit. The table is a bit small, so using door arch jigs is kind of hard. The directional switch out front makes it easy as pie to change spindle spin direction.

I upgraded to a 2hp shaper from a under mounted router, so at the time the world of profiling definitely opened up to me. These units are about a grand, and they are worth it, but if you can find a used 3hp unit I would have to say that is a better route to go for the long run. I can sometimes find these units on Craigslist for about 500 bucks, so look around. Wooden fences are also a huge plus. I can drive the fence into the cutter for a gap free surface and just replace the fence as often as I want.

These days my needs are changing. I am going to switch to 1-1/4 inch spindles to reduce chatter in my cuts and to speed up the cutting process with much more powerful machines that don't slow down under load. These little shapers will most likely stick around in my shop because I always have a use for another dedicated shaper.