router vs shaper for 3/4" roundover only (shelves)

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Forum topic by futballer posted 10-14-2012 11:07 PM 1192 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2051 days

10-14-2012 11:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router shaper router vs shaper bullnose

Well the above title says it all. All I will ever use a shaper for is bullnosing 3/4” MDF adjustable shelves. Do I really need a shaper for this or should I buy a good router, invert it, and build a table?

7 replies so far

View MJCD's profile


541 posts in 2372 days

#1 posted 10-15-2012 12:07 AM

Easy decision for me … The Router with a straight-edge guide.

Shapers are for production – day-in, day-out, everyday use. They’re stationary equipment – they are expensive to purchase, with expensive cutter heads and fewer cuts per inch (slower induction motors).

Regarding buying of building a table – this is a personal choice, and depends on how much time you have, you’re skill level, desire to take on a project like this. There are several top-rated tables – Incra, Kreg, JessEm; any one of which will last a lifetime and provide incredible precision. I built mine, just because I wanted to achieve it – it cost me more and took longer to build – but it is part of my journey to incremental skills.

Buy a good 2.25hp (12 amp) router, if you need to purchase a router – this is the sweet spot for manufacturers, and there are 15 good ones to choose from. Resist the temptation to go 3+hp (15 amps), these machines are more expensive, much heavier, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever need the additional power. Recommended routers are Porter-Cable 895 or Bosch, but everyone has a favorite.



-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View Loren's profile


10403 posts in 3649 days

#2 posted 10-15-2012 12:35 AM

MDF machines easy. A router is fine. The MDF dust getting
in the motor may wear out the router faster than normal
in inverted use. If you want the router to last longer, turn
it sideways so the dust doesn’t fall in.

Shapers are great, but for your application overkill.

You can also run the profile on a table saw with moulding

View oldnovice's profile


6855 posts in 3369 days

#3 posted 10-15-2012 12:43 AM

As all above said, ROUTER.

A shaper is nice but a router is “nicer”, more practical, more functional, cheaper, and more fun!

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

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2578 days

#4 posted 10-15-2012 02:37 AM

FWIW I rout a 3/4” roundover on boxes I sell every day. I use a router in a router table (porter cable 690) and haven’t had any issues even in woods like purpleheart.

I do plan to upgrade my router soon to a bosch 1617 so I can swing slightly bigger bits at slower speeds.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View AlanWS's profile


19 posts in 3559 days

#5 posted 10-21-2012 03:35 AM

Because you can use it hand-held, a router is more versatile, and it’s definitely capable for your task. Some router tables, particularly those with lifts, cost as much as a shaper, so why not buy a shaper? Shaper cutters can cost considerably more than router bits, though they last longer so are cost effective if you use them enough.

A small older shaper (Delta, Atlas, Craftsman…) with a 1/2” spindle is actually a bit less capable than a big router, not to mention a bigger shaper, but can work very well for edge treatments. It’s so much quieter than a router that some find them very pleasing, myself included.

Get a router first, but if you are interested in “old iron”, a shaper is a perfectly reasonable choice. I’d agree that production mode would be the main reason to need a new one.

-- Alan in Wisconsin

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2189 days

#6 posted 10-21-2012 03:47 AM

A shaper won’t spin such a small bit fast enough to cut really cleanly.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4093 days

#7 posted 10-21-2012 02:09 PM

I have both. The router is much more versatile.

-- Nicky

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