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Forum topic by tommytenspeed posted 02-02-2013 07:19 PM 2672 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 2893 days

02-02-2013 07:19 PM

I have been making raised panel interior doors with a 3 hp router and having problems with it being under powered so I decided to purchase a shaper, a 3hp Fox Shop.

I am new to shapers so there are a few things I am finding confusing.

First of all, while most of the cutters I am finding on-line, such as those used to prep the stiles and rails for raised panel door frames, cut in a counter clockwise direction (requiring the stock to be fed right to left), all of the raised panel cutters I’m finding have the carbide cutting surfaces on the opposite side of the cutter head requiring a clockwise spin on the cutter with a resulting feed direction of left to right. Why would the raised panel cutter cut in the opposite direction?

Secondly, the raised panel cutters I am finding are all very large (5 inches in diameter). The cutter I used with my router was about 3 inches in diameter and gave me a profile I liked. I am not sure (since I have yet to cut anything with this new shaper) if I am going to like the profile produced with this larger head. Also, in order to use these large cutters to cut on the bottom of the panel blanks I have to remove all the inserts from the table leaving a very large hole. This would not be much of a problem with a 12 or 15 inch wide cabinet door but the raised panels on a 24 inch interior door are only 6-8 inches wide.

Any help would be appreciated.


6 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2212 days

#1 posted 02-02-2013 08:10 PM

Shaper’s allow for cuts in either direction. This is very useful when you find that shaping in one direction causes tear out because of grain orientation – switch feed direction to avoid tear out. Guys with routers try to avoid this kind of tear out by so-called “climb cutting”, but only on a shaper can you really shape “with the grain”.

The table inserts (on my shaper) allow me to create an opening of varying size. Only make this opening as big as needed, in which case the (potentially large) opening should not be an issue as the cutting edge should be near the outside of the opening and hence the stock should be well supported.

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

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3417 days

#2 posted 02-02-2013 08:31 PM

I notice something at the shaper I use at work, an old Delta, that is the RPM is so low, I dont know much about shapers, so I’m not shure if thats normal…..

What I can say for you Tom is, if you are going to run bits that size, I’m sure a Feeder is a plus!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3309 days

#3 posted 02-02-2013 09:32 PM


I used to do raised panel doors, first with a router (that was enough to scare me to death), then a shaper (Also made me very nervous, especially after meeting a couple woodworkers that lost fingers working with them). As suggested above, I would definitely invest in a power feed for your shaper or panel handlers.

Even though the raised panel bit is larger (5” dia.), the actual tip speed of the bit will be less on your shaper. That is one thing I liked about the shaper. Slower RPM’s.

I kept my shaper for doing moldings and larger profiles, but since I did a lot of doors, I invested in a Pro cut door machine. Check out this video; It’s about the easiest, safest way to make a raised panel door (other then ordering your doors). I think the guy in the video makes it look awkward, but it’s not. The cutters are underneath with a fence on each side of your work piece. No change over from stile to rails to raised panels. Three separate cutter heads with one 5hp motor.

15 years making thousands of doors and never had that machine grab, kick or throw a piece of wood. It was actually a fun machine to use.

-- John @

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2379 days

#4 posted 02-03-2013 01:38 AM

The cutters for a shaper are unlike router bits. They are placed on a shaft. That being said they don’t spin in just one direction, but in fact can be flipped over. The main thing you will need to concern yourself with is the diameter of the shaft that you have and which cutters will fit your router. If your router has the 3/4 diameter shaft you can buy bushings that will allow you to use the larger diameter cutters, but that being said, because they are not router bits, they require larger diameter over all to allow for the shaft. Always make sure you tighten the nut on the top of the shaft thouroughly, be careful these aren’t routers and even though routers can be dangerous, the cutters on a shaper can be more so. Make jigs for running copes on your door styles, and be careful!

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View runswithscissors's profile


2764 posts in 2049 days

#5 posted 02-03-2013 02:47 AM

I have more router bits than shaper cutters, and I use them with the proper collet adapter on my shaper. It is often said that the slower rpm doesn’t leave as smooth a cut, but I haven’t noticed this. A second run through the bit (without changing the fence) will smooth up any slight irregularity.

I do use a power feeder (a Grizzly 1/4 h.p that I found on CL for $45). It’s nice for scary cuts, or where you have a lot of lineal feet to do.

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

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3571 days

#6 posted 02-03-2013 03:17 AM

We run 4 shapers that are all 3 HP. Actually our PM shapers claim to be 3 HP but are closer to 4 hp. Based on amp ratings.

So we build multiple doors and we use power feeders for our stick profile, a power feeder for the raised panels and a power feeder for the door lip profile. We use a shop made sled for the cope profile. We run our panel cutter upside down spinning outside or above the table.

Setting up my cutters, I set the approp cutter height, then with the cutter spinning, I safely and carefully plunge the cutter through my wood fence until I reach desired depth. This basically makes a zero clearance fence for my panel cutter and my door lip cutter.

Practicing safety, thinking things through thoroughly, the proper use of a power feeder makes shaping relatively safe. Not using a power feeder greatly increases risk.

Depending on usage, you should buy decent quality cutters and do routine inspection of cutters to ensure cutters are not cracked or damaged. Folks die from cutters breaking apart while shaping wood.

My personal opinion would be the 3 HP shaped is slightly undersized for building full size interior doors on a regular basis. I believe safety can be compromised when pushing machines beyond intended capabilities.

-- .

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