When I built my first cabinet doors I did it with a cheap set of cutters I found on eBay with my 2-1/4 hp DeWalt DW618 router mounted under a melamine table. That was when I worked for Tim, a professional woodworker who left his two old shapers in the corner of his shop to collect dust. Tim would say that shapers are nice to have just in case but a router can do anything and more than a shaper because of the available cutters. Of course Tim really didn’t do any kind of large profile cutting nor did he do any kind of door making. He always got them from someone else.
Later I decided to go from a table mounted router to my first shaper, a 2hp Shop Fox. I would guess that my shaper is at least three times more powerful than the router even though it is labeled to have less hp. It could cut 1-1/2” raises through anything that I ran through it, including hickory. Now I admit that hickory was probably where it stopped but I wouldn’t dare make the same cut using a table mounted router. Another thing I noticed was less burn on the shaper. In fact I have only seen maybe two slight burns in my profile while using a shaper.
Later I evolved further by mounting a power feeder onto my shaper and now I couldn’t imagine it getting much easier. I love shapers so much I bought three more Shop Fox shapers, a 1, another 2, and a 3 hp.
I have heard people say that the Benchdog and other router mounting mechanism’s are making routers easier to use and are replacing the use of shapers. I have never heard of anyone wanting to use a table mounted router rather than a shaper unless it had something to do with the cost of blades.
What do you think? Do you think that routers will evolve and the shaper will be a thing of the past?