Grizzly 1.5 HP shaper or comparably priced cast iron router setup?

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Forum topic by noone posted 05-20-2013 06:24 PM 2828 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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584 posts in 2512 days

05-20-2013 06:24 PM

I just spent around $600 on a Bench Dog cast iron table, fence and router plate. To be honest, neither the router plate nor the cast iron table was flat, not even close to flat on either surprisingly, but that’s another story.

I just noticed that I can buy a real shaper for just a few bucks more also with a cast iron top.

I believe I can also use regular router bits on this as well.

Seems like in this price range, the shaper would be the way to go.

What am I missing here?

8 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3888 days

#1 posted 05-20-2013 06:39 PM

depends what you will be using it for?

I just sold mine with the router bit adapter. I sold it because I don’t have much woodworking time nowadays, but other than that It was a really nice machine to use. I also have a router table, and between the 2 of those, for routing out edges I would go with the shaper. for internal routing of pocket holes, joinery, etc I would go with the router table – which brings me back the the question – what will you be using it for mainly?

pros for shaper – humming motor vs screaming banshee (router), more torque (can also be a hazard – so use a proper sled/feeder and not a flimsy miter gauge or something that doesn’t have A TON of control). best for edge shaping.

pros for router – runs faster, so smaller bits produce better/cleaner results. best for internal/joinery routing.

Now, if you really are doing lots of edge shaping, and larger profiles – you’re better off getting a 3Hp shaper all together with a larger (1.25”) arbor which most shaper cutters are made for (more common and easier to find cutters for).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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584 posts in 2512 days

#2 posted 05-20-2013 06:46 PM

I will be using it for making edges primarily.

I’m wondering if I will feel the difference in HP with the 1 1/2 of the shaper vs. the 2HP of the Ridgid router I have.

Is the router bit adapter a separate purchase?

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8548 posts in 3888 days

#3 posted 05-20-2013 06:55 PM

the router adapter is an accessory – a separate purchase. the power difference is quite noticeable between the 1.5 INDUCTION MOTOR and the 2hp universal motor – 2 very different worlds. but if you are getting the shaper for edge work, you are better off running shaper cutters on it and make full use of it’s ability to cut high profiles (as in the cutter height is larger than that of a router bit) as well as a more rigid setup.

the router bit adapter is a nice “just in case” you want to hose those odd router profiles, but not something I would base a shaper station on.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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584 posts in 2512 days

#4 posted 05-20-2013 06:59 PM

Hmmm.. I was hoping to use router bits on them primarily since I already have a handful of those and expand to shaper cutters as needed…

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8548 posts in 3888 days

#5 posted 05-20-2013 07:07 PM

shapers run slower RPM than routers. due to that fact, router bits which have less cutters on them, are not ideal for using in a shaper – sure it can be done, but if you get a shaper, you really should be looking at running shaper cutters in them which are designed to be run in a shaper.

this would be the (somewhat) equivalent of running your 5-1/2” trim-saw blade in your 10” table saw. sure it can be done if you must, but you wouldn’t really want to be losing all that height of cut, and speed of the cutting teeth for a better cut quality on a regular basis just to save a buck.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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2387 posts in 3786 days

#6 posted 05-20-2013 11:56 PM

We run 4 shapers (2 two hp and 2 are 4 hp) and we have one router table. We rarely ever use the router table. We have about 8 routers, mainly used for plunge routing and edge profiling while hand held. Sometimes we will have a large solid wood top that we will edge profile with hand held router. We plunge route flutes and grooves, etc…

Our shapers are very limited, though used a ton, in our shop. Each shaper is set to do one task involved with building doors. It allows us to build doors very efficiently. Honestly I love our shapers and obviously am very partial to the shaper.

PurpLev pointed out some obvious advantages. The shaper will give you more bang for your dollar than you get with the router. I cannot think of much advantage a router table has over a shaper, other than being able to remove the router from the table and use hand held (try holding a shaper upside down in your hand when edge profiling :)

Shaper is more powerful than the average router table

Shaper motor is more quiet

Shaper is heavier and should on average have less vibration

Shaper cutters are larger and have more mass, and I have found can produce a superior cut.

Generally speaking, a shaper is built much stronger than a router table. The router table, the router is held in place with a insert plate and gravity. The shaper is bolted together and mechanically stable.

I have had router collets come loose while in use. I have never had shaper nuts come loose off of spindle.

While shapers are dangerous, router tables can hurt a person also. Our own safety rules regarding our shapers make shaping relatively safe.

Run a power feeder with a shaper whenever this is possible. A baby feeder (1/4hp Grizzly is ample) is affordable but makes the shaper task relatively safe. We run a power feeder on 3 of our shapers.

When not using a power feeder, a sled needs to be utilized. The sled needs to be well designed and well built in order to ensure positive control of parts entering the cutter. Sleds are used for shaping the end of a long part, such as in cutting a tenon.

Routine maintenance and examination of cutters should be performed on regular basis, in order to ensure cutters are sharp and free of break/cracks.

shaper cutters should be used and can be added on an as needed basis and do not cost as much as some might think.

I have never had any experience with a 1 1/2 hp shaper. I would hope to look for a 3 hp shaper since that is what I have experience with. Smaller 1 hp shapers that are the equivilant to the Grizzly you list can be found on CL for 100.00 weekly. So if I were to go with a 1 or 1 1/2 hp shaper, I would grab an older model Delta or Crafstman off of CL for 100.00 and save the money. The Grizzly you are looking at is not going to be any upgrade over the many small shapers available on CL that can be had for around 100 to 150.00, sometimes 200.00.

-- .

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584 posts in 2512 days

#7 posted 05-21-2013 02:26 AM

A lot to process here. Good information gentlemen.

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1744 posts in 3048 days

#8 posted 05-21-2013 02:42 AM

I have owned a 1 1/2 hp delta years ago. It was a 1/2 only spindle and performed pretty well for what it was.

But if you have a choice, go with a 3hp, not only for the power but larger table surface and physical weight to support a feeder in the event you add one.

I rarely have a need to use a router in a fixed table position. Pretty much all handheld operation, even the 3 1/4 hp.

I also have never seen a router table that can compete with a shaper, and I have seen a lot of them.

Go with the shaper,but I can only recommend 3hp or more. Enjoy the journey ! JB

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