Another Router/Router Table / Router Lift Question

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Forum topic by crank49 posted 08-22-2013 04:08 PM 1195 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4032 posts in 2996 days

08-22-2013 04:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router table router lift shaper shop made tools question

I was just reading a forum question/discussion about router lifts (link is here ) and I started to enter this question, and it occurred to me that might be hijacking the other thread, so I am starting another thread here.

This whole discussion brings up a question I have always had about routers and router tables in general.

It seems insane to me that a router table could cost as much as some table saws. I know that is comparing apples to oranges to some extent, but still it baffles me as to why.

A router mounted to the bottom of a table is perhaps more like a circular saw mounted to the bottom of a table. That’s a more “apples to apples” comparison. Why is there not a huge market for circular saw tables?

Then I wonder, is there a substantial stationary equivalent to a router, like a table saw is to a circular saw? Wouldn’t that be a shaper? Isn’t a shaper a heavy duty, induction motor, belt driven stationary cast iron tool that does what a hand held router does?

If that is the case, why do people appear to be willing to spend several hundreds, even over a thousand dollars on a hacked together table, mounting system, lift, and fence and fixtures etc. to build a “Router Table” when a shaper is the same thing, already built and designed as a stationary tool?

8 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5705 posts in 2839 days

#1 posted 08-22-2013 04:35 PM

I have a bench dog top and split fence, on a shop made base. My Freud router has a lift built in.
I might have $250 invested, and it was worth it.
A heavy fence is nice for accurate setups.

Any Triton or Freud owner will tell you a router lift is a waste of money.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2519 days

#2 posted 08-22-2013 05:43 PM

Start comparing the cost of tooling for a shaper (versus router bits) and you’ll see why I went with the table. That said, I’d like to have a shaper. I just thinks it’s very hard to justify for a hobbyist. Besides, I’m not sure the shaper and RT are apples to apples. Many folks who have a shaper claim it is so superior that any comparison is unfair (to the RT).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2100 days

#3 posted 08-22-2013 08:44 PM

In the past I made a line of hardwood toys. all the edges had to be chamfered. The parts were at least 4×4x1.5 and straight so there was no trouble setting up a shaper with a fence and a guard over the cutter so that only the used area of the cutter was used. Of late I have been working with another toy maker the parts do not have straight edges and also have come concave shapes. some of them would not fit around a typical shaper cutter. we use the router table with a plastic guard which exposes only the area needed to cut the chamfer about 90 degrees of the cutter in circumference but only about 1/8 in ht. there are days when several hundred of these pieces may be run. the parts are easier to move than moving the router so there is much less fatigue. I have to agree that a shaper is the right tool for the job in many cases where a RT is being used such as cabinet and door parts but for those who do not have the space or volume to justify another machine the RT fulfills the purpose quite well. In addition many shapers have the spindle exposed above the cutter witch allows for a very wide cutting surface but prevents running the stock over the center of the cutter as in the case of stopped dadoes.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3169 days

#4 posted 08-22-2013 09:11 PM

Michael, not having either a RT or a shaper I have asked myself this question many times, thanks for saying it out loud. And Fred and REO, thanks for answering it very efficiently.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1974 days

#5 posted 08-23-2013 01:20 AM

Sorry for the hijack, but does anyone make a shaper that will accept a 1/2” shank router bit. lower cost cutter with an induction motor, sounds like a win win to me.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3257 days

#6 posted 08-23-2013 01:37 AM

I am not a Cheapskate, but I just couldn’t bring myself to paying a bunch of money for a table I could make out of mdf and Formica.

I did use a plate for the router and drilled a hole in it so I can adjust the router from above the table.

And I bought a miter track. I have only used it a couple of times but it definitely helped.

I do think I would benefit from a dedicated router mounted in a lift. Or maybe a Triton modified for under the table use.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20594 posts in 3131 days

#7 posted 08-23-2013 02:26 AM

I built my router station. I call it that because it is more than a table, it is where I keep everything related to the router in the table. I was searching for a good lift when I built this cabinet and settled on the Woodpecker Quick Lift and I love it. It has a long wrench that you put down through this hole in the top, give it a 90 degree turn and pull the router up above the top surface to change bits. The others I saw you had to crank this fine 32 TPI screw round and round to raise and lower it.
Now I see they have motorized lifts and one with a DRO so you can get a readout on the actual movement of the cutter. I do not trust the little wheel in my lift for adjustment /cutter movement. It has backlash in the screw. I use a drop indicator to read out exactly how much I move the bit and another one for exactly how much I move the fence. It is a joy to do table routing any more!!

Here it it:

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View runswithscissors's profile


2766 posts in 2051 days

#8 posted 08-23-2013 02:27 AM

Router bit collets are available at least for some shapers. I know Grizzly makes them for their machines. And I bought a used Jet 2 h.p. shaper a few years ago that came with the collet. Designs seem to be specific to each model (even Grizzly lists different model numbers for collets for their various machines).

Don’t forget another advantage of a shaper: reversible spindle, which in certain situations can be a life saver. Router bits, of course, generally can only spin one way, except for those that stack cutters on the spindle (reversible rail & style bits, and slot cutting bits are a couple of examples).

I also like the solid power that you get with a big induction motor. It has been suggested that the generally lower spindle speed (most top out at 10,000 rpms) may leave a less than smooth cut, but I haven’t really noticed a problem with this. Of course, it could be argued that my standards are really low.

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

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