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Shaper in lieu of Router Table

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Forum topic by Logan Windram posted 11-21-2015 03:31 PM 926 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Logan Windram

303 posts in 1925 days


11-21-2015 03:31 PM

I’m thinking about ditching the idea of a router table in the shop and just getting a 2 horse shaper instead. I have used a shaper for bigger jobs, large profiles, shaping steam bent parts, power feeding…. But I have always used the router table for smaller slotting jobs and other type of work.

So, has anybody ditched their router table for a shaper and felt like they didn’t need it? My situation is I will be getting back into my shop in a few months, and I’ll have to rebuild a router table and get a new lift, etc so a fair amount of expense. I guess I could always add on a router leaf to my table saw if needed.

Thought by anymore whose experienced with a shaper in their own shop would be ideal. Thanks gents.


20 replies so far

View greatview's profile

greatview

110 posts in 2620 days


#1 posted 11-21-2015 04:42 PM

There’s a much larger selection of router bits over shaper cutters. Also, router bits are cheap when compared to a shaper cutter. However, the larger shaper cutter diameter may give a smoother cut. I think a router table is the way to go considering the selection and cost of bits and cutters.

-- Tom, New London, NH

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 639 days


#2 posted 11-21-2015 04:43 PM

I have never used a shaper but I was curious about them. I can see a shaper replacing a router for edge profiles.

I don’t see a shaper being able to: cut dados or groves in wood cut dovetails or finger / box joints cut a mortise etc.

Additionally, shaper cutters seem to be much more expensive than router bits for the same profile.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Andre's profile

Andre

1022 posts in 1269 days


#3 posted 11-21-2015 05:00 PM

I have the 1.5 hp Grizzly shaper with the 1/4 and 1/2” collets for router bits all I ever use now. The fence system leaves a lot to be desired IMO works for shaper head but to restrictive for router bits? Still in the process of designing some thing that will work for my needs, in the mean time I just clamp on a straight board as a temp fence. Will do anything a router table can and so far has as much or more power than my so called 2+ hp routers.
Bonus is I can and have cut my own trim moldings with the shaper head in 1 pass. This is not a commercial machine but plenty for hobby shop!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23157 posts in 2330 days


#4 posted 11-21-2015 05:36 PM

I think that you need to get a router table because of the tooling cost for shapers.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 639 days


#5 posted 11-21-2015 05:49 PM

@Andre: I looked at the Grizzly 1.5 & 2 HP shapers. Both listed spindle speed of either 7000 or 10000 rpm. Most routers list max speed around 22000 rpm. Can your shaper with a 1/2” collet do a good job with a router bit at the slower speed?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

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Logan Windram

303 posts in 1925 days


#6 posted 11-21-2015 08:11 PM


I have the 1.5 hp Grizzly shaper with the 1/4 and 1/2” collets for router bits all I ever use now. The fence system leaves a lot to be desired IMO works for shaper head but to restrictive for router bits? Still in the process of designing some thing that will work for my needs, in the mean time I just clamp on a straight board as a temp fence. Will do anything a router table can and so far has as much or more power than my so called 2+ hp routers.
Bonus is I can and have cut my own trim moldings with the shaper head in 1 pass. This is not a commercial machine but plenty for hobby shop!

- Andre

Interesting. I love the idea of one machine flexible as to use router bits and have the capacity to do larger profiles with the shaper. I also like the ability to have a 240 machine to do routing and shaping with and full dust collection.

How do you feel about the Grizzly overall?

View tomd's profile

tomd

2027 posts in 3233 days


#7 posted 11-21-2015 08:29 PM

I had a two HP shaper and if your doing a lot of cabinet work they are great mainly for edge work. Now I have a router table with a 3.25 HP router with variable speed and soft start and I think it will do just about anything a shaper will do and the cutters are cheaper and have a much larger selection.

-- Tom D

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 694 days


#8 posted 11-21-2015 10:08 PM

I disagree with the post about more bits over knives/cutters.

If you get a insert head for a nice 3/4 inch or up spindle shaper you can grind ANY profile you want. ANY. I have done this for custom trim. Here’s the way. You put the profile on a tool steel blank that has had bluing applied to the smooth face, scribe the profile. Now (this is not a joke) put a metal cutting blade on the table saw and set the blade kinda high. Coffee can of water. [Pray] turn on the saw and with the profile you scribed looking up grind to the scribed line. The blade high is because I assume the majority of cuts will be on hardwood and you want less of a degree on the knife angle for hardwoods. The tool steel blanks…get corrugated. This keeps things like flying knives from happening.

The router can not touch a shaper.

Also, many shapers have collets to accept router bits. There, best of both worlds.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View cracknpop's profile

cracknpop

194 posts in 1812 days


#9 posted 11-22-2015 02:22 AM

I have the Grizzly 1026 3HP shaper. Yes, the cutters cost more than router bits but there is no comparison in the ease of cutting hardwoods with a shaper over a router. I sent my router table to my son.

As Andre mentioned above, the shaper fence is not as easy to adjust as a router table’s and I too have been looking for better design. Typically, I attach a straight board across the shaper fence and make it a zero clearance fence. I am not in any hurry so I don’t mind the little extra time to set up the shaper fence.

I do have a palm router I use for smaller tasks like round over corner edges. The only recent time I would’ve liked to have my router table back was when using a dovetail jig but did just fine without it.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

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cracknpop

194 posts in 1812 days


#10 posted 11-22-2015 02:27 AM

Here’s link to forum post from a few years back when I asked some similar questions before buying my shaper.
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/33232

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2187 posts in 1488 days


#11 posted 11-22-2015 04:06 AM

I sold my PC7518 router with table several years ago, and went to a (used) Grizzly 1.5 hp shaper. Later, a 2 hp Jet shaper popped up on CL for something like $250 (?). It came with 3/4 and 1” spindles, and several cutters. Also, a 1/2” router bit collet. I have felt no need to go back to the router table. I do also have a 1/4 h.p Grizzly power feeder ($45 off CL) that I use when that is called for. But I don’t feel the need for the feeder when doing edge moulding.

Much quieter than the router’s universal motor, and the 2 hp. induction motor is significantly more powerful. Already had 240v. in the shop, so that was not an issue.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Andre's profile

Andre

1022 posts in 1269 days


#12 posted 11-22-2015 05:59 AM



@Andre: I looked at the Grizzly 1.5 & 2 HP shapers. Both listed spindle speed of either 7000 or 10000 rpm. Most routers list max speed around 22000 rpm. Can your shaper with a 1/2” collet do a good job with a router bit at the slower speed?

- WoodNSawdust


I am running at the lower speed (quieter) and have had no problems at all, have done a lot of 3/4” dados in Birch with no problem other than some burn if feed rate to slow and of course making sure rotation and grain direction work, kick back can be a little interesting!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5729 posts in 2831 days


#13 posted 11-22-2015 06:18 AM


The router can not touch a shaper.

- SirIrb

Wouldn’t that be somewhat dangerous? ....

I have at times considered a shaper but I did not have the room.
I opted for a Bench Dog cast iron router table wing for my tablesaw.
Then there are the AC voltage requirements as all the 2 HP ones I looked at required at least/logically 220 VAC.
Realizing of course that a 2 HP router is not really true 2 HP.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 799 days


#14 posted 11-22-2015 09:15 AM

Cost of cutters for a shaper would be my main concern. And the fences on most shapers seem cumbersome. For cabinet work and doors a shaper would be pretty awesome. For my shop wars a shaper would be overkill.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1977 days


#15 posted 11-22-2015 12:32 PM

I think it all depends on what your projects are.
For me, most of my stuff is smaller these days, mostly due to my smaller shop now, and my age. I cannot imagine doing a German Curve on one of my guitars with a shaper. I could, however see using the shaper every day if I was doing millwork, or still doing a lot of case work.
I can remember the days when I would put so much roman ogee edges on flat stock my router would have to be shut off for a while. Nowadays, I think it would be overkill for me. I have the Bosch closed router table, and with the more precise fence, it works well for what I do.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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