Spindle Moulder Shaper VS Table Router

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by jaxx posted 12-11-2008 01:07 AM 8129 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After many months trying to decide what to buy i have ordered a Spindle Moulder c/w attachments for 1
/2 router bits. i plan to Oak Panel 3 flights of stairwell in my house and need to do as professional job as i can seeing its the house. The thing that put me off the table router was the fact that none have built in hieght adjustments, Raisers !! what an after thought i think, most look less than sturdy etc and one seems to be always under the table for adjustments etc. the spindle moulder in my mind is a dedicated machine built to shape , cut raised panels etc by design . the machine i bought has heavy cast table and the same for the sliding table. Plus with the adaptor i can use all my 1/2 in router bits. my first stab at raised panels etc put me off as it took an age lining up the hieght of the router

did i make the right choise, please comment good or bad


9 comments so far

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3940 days

#1 posted 12-11-2008 02:59 AM

George, Can you post a picture of the shaper you purchased? It would help a lot. Thanks, John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4302 days

#2 posted 12-11-2008 03:16 AM

Even without seeing the model that you purchased, I have no doubt that you made the right choice.

I always recommend a small shaper over a router table. I often recommend a router combo kit and a small shaper instead of a second router. That is a great way to spend the money for someone putting a small shop together.

The shaper always has more power, runs smoother, and has a great lift system. All of this for less than a router, router table, and lift system.

A shaper with an induction motor rated at 3/4 hp will have more torque than a router with a universal motor rated at 3 hp. The router doesn’t even come close to the performance of the shaper. It will get the job done but it is just not the same experience.

I have both and I will use the shaper every time. The router table is used in the field as a remodeling contractor and it does fine, but I cannot stress enough that it is not the same pleasurable and accurate experience as the shaper.

For my shaper I can run 1/2” and 1/4” router bits as well.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 12-11-2008 06:17 AM

These are my personal opinions, so please take them as that. Everyone’s gotta make their own choices.

I went with a router table and router. My decision was helped considerably by finding a half-finished NYW router table at an estate sale for $50 (you can see it under my projects), but I was planning to build my own before that came along. It is simply more versatile for me. When I need a hand-held router, I can always remove it from the table. I used a full-size shaper in my grandfather’s shop and, honestly, there is no difference in the experience or accuracy using a router in a decent hefty router table. Cast iron is all well and good, but my NYW router table must weigh close to 200 lbs and it doesn’t move a damned bit. The work surface on my router table is larger than any cast iron shaper table I’ve seen.

As for the height adjustment, I agree. I spent the money on a Woodpecker Quicklift and it was the smartest thing I did. After more than a year of using this tool, I simply love it! Tools changes are quick, the router I can roughly set with the Quicklift feature and then use the height adjustment to .001” all from above the table. I literally haven’t opened the router table once to access the router from under the table since I mounted it.

As for power, I don’t even have a full-size router. I used a DeWalt 1 3/4 HP (?) DW616 and I have yet to bog it down routing oak and cherry. But, I have not tried any raised panel doors – maybe I would appreciate more power then. If I do need more in the future, the Quicklift will accomodate the 7518 router motor.

YMMV, but I certainly don’t feel I made any compromises by going with a router table rather than a shaper.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4083 days

#4 posted 12-11-2008 02:44 PM

heres what i chose as right for me . this setup is portable . i set them on horses . i can take them to the jobsite or the shop . i built a storage rack that dosent take up much room . the spring clamps on the fences are holding two 1/4 pieces of ply , i remove one after each pass . this way i never have to change bit settings unless i replace the cutters .

my shop4

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4208 days

#5 posted 12-11-2008 03:12 PM

I agree with Todd. The shaper is to a router table what a Cadillac is to a bicycle. Both can get you where you want to go, but one is much more pleasurable in getting you there.

The real advantage of the shaper is found in the infinite profiles you can grind yourself and snap into the head. I run into old mouldings quite often that i need to replicate and make 12 feet of. A lot of times i’ll take one Amana knife blank and end up grinding it 7 or 8 times to get 7 or 8 different profiles. I do this with the knowledge that some shapes i need are a one off and will never be needed again. You’re not gonna find that sort of flexibility in the Home Depot router bit selection.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4083 days

#6 posted 12-13-2008 03:38 PM

i might add that my post was only in referance to the raised panel wainscoting and doors

View jaxx's profile


66 posts in 3720 days

#7 posted 12-13-2008 05:41 PM

cant seem to post photos however here is a link for the machine. i read with great interest all the comments and i feel better for ordering the spindle moulder. For a Scot living in Spain we cant just go to Home Depot etc and buy tools at very very cheap prices, tools are 3 times the price of N. american tools here in spain, i have only been wood working as a hobby for a year now and made a few mistakes on they way buying poor build routers as they just fall apart. No Porter N Cable dealers here for sure
thanks again for all the comments and post more if you can good or not.


View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3816 days

#8 posted 12-15-2008 03:39 PM

mrtrim – now, that’s one helluva setup. And it makes sense. I have seen (was it here?) another design for a large router table that actually placed 3 routers in a triangle for much the same purpose.

It seems to me that a lot of this discussion concerns production runs or very large jobs. All of my work involves smaller personal projects. I rarely run more than a few board feet through one setup on the router table, then I need to change bits, setup, etc. for the next step. For me, the versatility of the router, along with the ability to quickly change bits and precisely dial in adjustments is paramount. For others running hundreds (thousands?) of board feet through the same setup the stability and power a shaper brings is probably more important.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View jaxx's profile


66 posts in 3720 days

#9 posted 03-10-2010 06:19 PM

well my spindle moulder is upfor sale, i never really got into it i guess its not for the home carpenter so much for a while i used it without the power feeder and it was a real pain , i bought a feeder and it made it so much easier, i think if you were in the trade and made windows and moudings etc then i think it could be alright however not for me, i bought a profesional router table c/w dewalt 618 and its magic its all i need.

My Liegh FMT will be here anyday now so watch out for a post…...........

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics