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Considering swapping my shaper for a router table

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Forum topic by Ben posted 03-31-2019 11:43 AM 783 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ben

482 posts in 3740 days


03-31-2019 11:43 AM

I have a vintage Delta HD shaper that I use almost exclusively as a router table. I do have a a nice shaper head for it and have ground some custom profiles to match casings and baseboard, etc…. But is once in a blue moon.

The machine is barely adequate as a router. It takes forever to make bit changes. The factory fence is horrible so I made a crude plywood fence help down with C clamps. No micro adjust but I’ve made it work.

The shaper also takes up precious floor space. I have it on a rolling cart, but there’s really nowhere to roll it to. I can’t use it as an outfeed table for my table saw because it’s too high.

I’m considering building a tablesaw outfeed table that would double as a router table with a high quality lift/plate. I think this setup would be much more efficient for me and open up my floor space a bit.

Is this a decent plan? I’d need to be able to remove the router fence when doing table saw work. Can you guys recommend a plate and lift combo?

I think for the infrequency that I need shaper cutters on a job, I can just custom order what I need.

Thanks!


16 replies so far

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

401 posts in 842 days


#1 posted 03-31-2019 12:18 PM

I’m not the best person to give advice on swapping a shaper to route table, mostly because i have 3 shapers and one ts mounted router (jessem lift)

Personally I’d never give up a shaper for a router, but I use my shapers every week, and cant remember the last time i used the router table.

I will agree that router bits don’t work well in a shaper and the delta hd fence isn’t great though its actually better than some I’ve used. Our of curiosity do you know of a router fence that offers all the features you are looking for? Most ive seen are about as functional as the delta fence. I just use table saw fence for mine.

I will say that the amana 68mm head and cmt profile knives are cheaper than router bits once you have more than a few.

If it were me i would place the shaper next to the ts and raise one to match the height of the other.

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Ben

482 posts in 3740 days


#2 posted 03-31-2019 12:38 PM

Thanks Jared.

I could theoretically take the shaper off the rolling cart and set it up outfeed to table saw. They are close in height. But my floor is an extremely rough and uneven slab. I’d really have to redo the slab first to make this work.

I understand the value of a shaper, which is why I bought it and have owned it for 10 years. But seriously, to change the bit takes several minutes of hard cranking. Also it’s not variable speed.
In my tiny shop stuffed full of huge machinery, some hard choices and sacrifices have to be made.
I can barely move out there.

I don’t know the router table products out there because I’ve never owned one. My table saw fence is a rack and pinion style (Northfield #4) and would not fly for the router table.

View tynewman's profile

tynewman

186 posts in 595 days


#3 posted 03-31-2019 12:50 PM

I built one onto the end of the table saw. Two actually, the first one on the right side and the one I use now on the left side. It works better for my current set up. My router fence attaches to the table saw fence and is quick to adjust. Outfeed table might give you more surface area, but you don’t want to be too farr away either and have to reach.

-- Ty

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Fred Hargis

6505 posts in 3376 days


#4 posted 03-31-2019 12:58 PM

I can’t recall how many times I’ve been told that a shaper is so superior to a RT that’s it’s not even a close comparison. I believe that (I really do) but so far I’ve not found anything I need (as a hobbyist) to do that my RT can’t do. For a long while I had one on the wing of my TS and really thought that was a good setup. The only probelm I had was I couldn’t figure out a good way to hook up the DC. For the way you described your use(s), your plan is a very good one.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

401 posts in 842 days


#5 posted 03-31-2019 01:50 PM



Thanks Jared.

I could theoretically take the shaper off the rolling cart and set it up outfeed to table saw. They are close in height. But my floor is an extremely rough and uneven slab. I d really have to redo the slab first to make this work.

I understand the value of a shaper, which is why I bought it and have owned it for 10 years. But seriously, to change the bit takes several minutes of hard cranking. Also it s not variable speed.
In my tiny shop stuffed full of huge machinery, some hard choices and sacrifices have to be made.
I can barely move out there.

I don t know the router table products out there because I ve never owned one. My table saw fence is a rack and pinion style (Northfield #4) and would not fly for the router table.

- Ben

I hear you on too much stuff in too little space, i picked up a oliver 91d mortiser a couple months ago and it was the 1200lb straw that broke the camels back. After month or rearranging and “cleaning” excess stuff im back to a usable shop.

Back to the router lifts / tables, the jessem (and similar) all take about as much time to change a bit as the delta as far as raising the router and loosening the collet. You may want to look at the models with rapid quick change functionality, iirc its a 1/4 twist of a handle to raise the router on some of them. Freud used to make a decent looking fence, but it was discontinued.

Truthfully until I got a decent fence (on my most recent shaper) I avoided using the split fence functionality. Back/outboard fence is what I used / still use for most shaping (with a feeder) or a continuous fence from plywood. Finding a factory fence that stays straight across the opening and square to the table after adjusting it for the job is very frustrating.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1383 posts in 1378 days


#6 posted 03-31-2019 03:58 PM

I have both- a shaper, and a router table which is mounted in the right wing of my TS. I see them as two different machines. I only use my router table for light duty work like rounding over corners and such. The shaper is my go to machine for raised panel doors and heavier work.

The biggest issue with having the router table mounted in the TS extension (or outfeed table) is that it gets in the way of using the TS. Having separate machines helps by not having to break down machine setups to make a quick cut on the TS.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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a1Jim

118143 posts in 4460 days


#7 posted 03-31-2019 04:06 PM

I owned a new shaper for 5 years and never used it, it depends what your building whether a shaper makes sense for each person or not, I built a 4-foot long router table many years ago and found I use it all the time.My thoughts are that unless your making heavy moldings or doors a good sized router table is more versatile and most router bits cost less than shaper cutters.

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos

View Ben's profile

Ben

482 posts in 3740 days


#8 posted 03-31-2019 07:05 PM

All I can say is that I’ve used my shaper as an actual shaper maybe four times in the last 10 years. And I use it to run router bits on almost every project I do.

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

401 posts in 842 days


#9 posted 03-31-2019 07:25 PM



All I can say is that I ve used my shaper as an actual shaper maybe four times in the last 10 years. And I use it to run router bits on almost every project I do.

- Ben

Out of curiosity what is your reason for not using it as a shaper, or what types of cuts / jobs are you using router bits for?

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Ben

482 posts in 3740 days


#10 posted 03-31-2019 07:35 PM

The need hardly arises for custom shaper cutters. I made some casings for my house to match my historic originals. And one small for a customer at an antique shop to replicate a missing piece. Aside from that, all my cabinet and passage door work has been with router bits. I don’t do cope and stick, but typically do a mitered sticking with Domino joint. So all I need is a profile bit of choice. I cut the groove with a dado blade or slot bit.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

680 posts in 1631 days


#11 posted 03-31-2019 11:22 PM

I don’t use my shaper much. The router table is faster to set up, makes better cuts, has variable speed, and dust control.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2080 posts in 3676 days


#12 posted 03-31-2019 11:23 PM

I use my true 3 HP shaper alot more than a router, (and I do not own a router table). Cast iron and plenty of power. Freeborn cutters for heavy use, cheaper versions for occasionall use. There was no router arbor offered when I purchased my shaper 25 years ago, but I am hoping to find one now that will fit the machine. And changing cutters is fast, just two allen socket screws in the top of the arbor. No height change needed.

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

401 posts in 842 days


#13 posted 04-03-2019 02:32 AM


The need hardly arises for custom shaper cutters. I made some casings for my house to match my historic originals. And one small for a customer at an antique shop to replicate a missing piece. Aside from that, all my cabinet and passage door work has been with router bits. I don t do cope and stick, but typically do a mitered sticking with Domino joint. So all I need is a profile bit of choice. I cut the groove with a dado blade or slot bit.

- Ben

I would say you wouldn’t miss the shaper if you went with the router table.

I do all of the things you are discussing with my shapers, using stock off the shelf heads / knives. However I powerfeed almost everything.

There are many benefits to a shaper over a router table, but its a different process with different setups.

As an aside, these are all stock off the shelf $14 and under (euroblock/pin/40mm) knives. Cheaper than router bits, and generally leave a finish ready surface. They typically last for about 1000 to 3000 lineal feet before they need sharpened/honed or replaced

View pottz's profile

pottz

11711 posts in 1867 days


#14 posted 04-03-2019 02:02 PM

i have both,the shaper was inherited from my dad that only used it once to make some kitchen cabinets,ive had it for about 5 years and have yet to even turn it on,im probably gonna sell it,it’s taking up to much valuable shop space.unless your gonna be making a lot of raised panel doors or such i dont see the need for one,i use my router table with a lift constantly,so easy to change bits and good dust collection.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View TechTeacher04's profile

TechTeacher04

456 posts in 2415 days


#15 posted 04-03-2019 02:20 PM

The decision comes down to what you are using it for. A shaper does an ok job of running router bits. The speed of the bit is too slow on the router, a slower feed rate and extra sanding can compensate for that. A router in a table saw is great to save space, but when you forget to make a cut or need to adjust a previously made one, that bit you left sticking up above the table can prevent your fence from traveling far enough. If space permits have both, if it does not find a friend that the the one you do not.

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