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Move to a shaper?

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Forum topic by William_D posted 01-08-2020 03:40 AM 1279 views 0 times favorited 60 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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William_D

32 posts in 1106 days


01-08-2020 03:40 AM

Hi all,

It’s been a minute since my last post. My shop is limited in space. I have been able to make it work due to mobile bases.

At this juncture I feel I am out growing my router table, I think. In the past shapers with their power have always intimidated me, but I am to the point where I think it would make sense.

So the question is for those that have made the transition, have you missed your router table?


60 replies so far

View Think0075's profile

Think0075

29 posts in 362 days


#1 posted 01-08-2020 03:52 AM

It’s a big step up. I usually only run them with a power feed. But depending on what r doing it may not be necessary.

There great for production, when u have to run a lot of parts. If only making a few pieces at a time i would probably stick to the router table.

Anything in particular u feel a router table lacks, besides power?

View William_D's profile

William_D

32 posts in 1106 days


#2 posted 01-08-2020 04:06 AM


It s a big step up. I usually only run them with a power feed. But depending on what r doing it may not be necessary.

There great for production, when u have to run a lot of parts. If only making a few pieces at a time i would probably stick to the router table.

Anything in particular u feel a router table lacks, besides power?

- Think0075

In my “mind” I feel the router table is funky. It is a woodpecker setup and for cutting profiles it just seems almost annoying these days. I am always double checking everything on the table and it seems to just waste time. As for a power feeder that is in mind,

Between table and router motor I have about 2K into it. Looking at a 5hp jet at 3K and Wood Craft has a 10% off coming up in a few weeks.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2690 posts in 3581 days


#3 posted 01-08-2020 06:00 AM

Back in the day, I drooled over the idea of a GOOD shaper (I’d already learned the pitfalls of homeowner versions of tools).

About fifty years in, I am totally happy with the biggest router on wheels, a GOOD lift, quality bits, a BIG table and a good fence system. I don’t need to make a few hundred feet of highly custom molding or trim, AND the router table [described] can do things the shaper cannot.

I had an industrial molder, about forty years back and, if I needed a lot of molding, I’d go that route, rather than a shaper.

The summary of it is, for me, for picture frames and so on, in the short runs I do, are well served by about a thousand dollars worth of router equipment.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

629 posts in 416 days


#4 posted 01-08-2020 11:35 AM

Most of what a router table can do and what a shaper can do are unique to them. A shaper lacks the RPM to use (IMHO) anything less than a 2” radius cutter. Even if you purchased a shaper for the large dedicated items you need it for (doors mostly in the trade and moldings) you would still need the router table for the other basic things you do with it (standard slots, groves, dados, rabbits, edges etc).

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5981 posts in 3130 days


#5 posted 01-08-2020 12:46 PM

I’ve long heard that a shaper is so superior to a RT it’s an unfair comparison. I truly believe that, but even so, I haven’t found anything I need to do (as a hobbyist) that the RT I have couldn’t handle…..and I also looked at the cost of shaper tooling. Those 2 points have kept me from adding a shaper to the shop.

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

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

767 posts in 1596 days


#6 posted 01-08-2020 01:12 PM

Sounds you already decided you want one. So did I when I had a small cabinet shop. Couldnt aford three shapers so i dId the bset thing, i made a tool close to what I needed…. if your not running countless parts or large molding a router table is all you need…

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

296 posts in 596 days


#7 posted 01-08-2020 01:54 PM

I had 3 shapers, back down to 2. Power feeders on all.

I have a pc7518 in a jessem mast-r-lift II that just sits in the corner collecting dust.

Cut quality is so much better that alone is a reason to move away from a router.

https://youtu.be/RaGf7ZVpacQ

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1240 posts in 3430 days


#8 posted 01-08-2020 01:57 PM

I have had a shaper for thirty years and a handheld router. I just purchased a used, home made router table for work that is too small for the shaper. I started with a shaper in high school shop, and I am very happy with my shaper, although with bigger routers on the market, shaper cutters are becoming harder to find. Find a used machine with 3/4 shaft, 1/2” is too small. And I have seen a 3 head shaper, like the router table above.

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JackDuren

767 posts in 1596 days


#9 posted 01-08-2020 02:03 PM

My problem is I wanted Weaver door shapers and wouldn’t take anything else. I actually didn’t well with the router setup and took less room….

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

296 posts in 596 days


#10 posted 01-08-2020 02:04 PM



I have had a shaper for thirty years and a handheld router. I just purchased a used, home made router table for work that is too small for the shaper. I started with a shaper in high school shop, and I am very happy with my shaper, although with bigger routers on the market, shaper cutters are becoming harder to find. Find a used machine with 3/4 shaft, 1/2” is too small. And I have seen a 3 head shaper, like the router table above.

- ibewjon

I’d suggest skipping the 3/4 and go straight to a 1.25” shaper.

1.25” bore Cutter heads are plentiful and as close as Amazon or you local dealer

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

2212 posts in 2044 days


#11 posted 01-08-2020 03:38 PM

William where are you located? I’m about to list a nice Rockwell shaper with 1-1/4” spindle for sale. I’m in SW Georgia, I can ship it anywhere but that wouldn’t be very economical, unless you want some other tools as well. I’ve got tablesaws, jointers, radial arm saws and more to get rid of

View William_D's profile

William_D

32 posts in 1106 days


#12 posted 01-09-2020 06:39 AM

Hello everyone, thanks for the feed back. Seems we are about evenly split. However, perhaps it is finger on the scale, but it seems the anti-shaper, or rather non shaper fanatics, seem to be less than 3hp.

Ill keep my router setup, but likely surround it by crap as it seems to be my way to put tools on the island of unwanted things. LD

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1240 posts in 3430 days


#13 posted 01-09-2020 12:54 PM

If you have the $$ and the space, a shaper is a nice addition to the shop.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

4895 posts in 1211 days


#14 posted 01-09-2020 04:05 PM


I ve long heard that a shaper is so superior to a RT it s an unfair comparison. I truly believe that, but even so, I haven t found anything I need to do (as a hobbyist) that the RT I have couldn t handle…..and I also looked at the cost of shaper tooling. Those 2 points have kept me from adding a shaper to the shop.

- Fred Hargis

Fred has hit on the nugget. Especially if you factor in the price to own a “functional” unit. A lot of folks buy the 1 Hp Shaper, simply because it is affordable. Just like with underpowered, low motor direct drive TS’s everyone wants to get away from, the cheaper alternative Shapers won’t go very far in getting full cut profiles on hundreds of feet of millwork.

Now a belt driven 3hp Shaper will work all day, and can do full profiles, but then you are looking at a much more expensive tool. Shaper cutter run a path similar to router bits, just a few jumps in $$$$$ signs for the price. Yes there are cheap Shaper cutters, just like there are for router bits. Thing is they don’t work any better, or longer than the cheap router bits. So if you are buying a tool to do hundreds and thousands of lineal feet of trim, you want a bit that you don’t need to pitch, and put on a new one every 50 feet or so.

I like the response by Michael Dresdner. That and the summary pretty well sum it up.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

4895 posts in 1211 days


#15 posted 01-09-2020 04:18 PM


I am always double checking everything on the table and it seems to just waste time.

- William_D

Just know that set up, be it on a Shaper or a RT is often a long process, of making several test cuts, stopping to see if you fit, or have arrived at the desired shape. So a Shaper doesn’t bypass anything, and your Wpecker set up you likely have several cheats built in. Routers are much better at making joints fit, as they have finer adjustability in most cases.

-- Think safe, be safe

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