Shapers or Routers for Lock Miters?

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Forum topic by Cowdoc posted 11-15-2013 05:46 PM 1195 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1911 days

11-15-2013 05:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lock miter shaper router

Going to be making a number of furniture legs and would like to use lock miter joinery. Have a fixed speed router mounted under table and a Jet 1 1/2 hp shaper (inherited-I’ve never used). Do I go with a new lock miter router bit and speed control for the Makita router or purchase a lock miter shaper? Either way I’m spending money but I would like to hear you opinions as to which may work better?.........Thanks

-- Lou, Michigan........"Just because I can, doesn't mean I should, but I probably will anyway"

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3888 days

#1 posted 11-15-2013 05:49 PM

Shaper cutters usually have a larger diameter and this
helps them make a better finished cut as the arc of
the cut is more with the grain than across it. Router
cutters can make a nice cut too but they achieve it
differently and may require more sanding. For a joinery
profile sanding doesn’t matter though. The shaper
may be easier for you to set up with hold-downs
as well if you have them, but a router bit would be cheaper.

View cabmaker's profile


1744 posts in 3049 days

#2 posted 11-16-2013 02:32 AM

Shaper! No contest, but why a lock mitre and how many legs are you milling?

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2817 days

#3 posted 11-16-2013 02:55 AM


If you have to make 2 set ups for what ever reason, I’d use both
a shaper and a router and make matching joins all day long.

Save scrap pieces that fit well and save for templates.

View Cowdoc's profile


3 posts in 1911 days

#4 posted 11-16-2013 10:03 AM

cabmaker, 16 legs… know kids, they all want Dad’s furniture because it’s cheaper (and nicer) than store bought.

Loren, I understand the larger dimension of a shaper therefore the cut is “more” with the grain. Does the weight of shaper cutters help for a more stable cutter, therefore a cleaner cut? I’m think of larger vs. smaller flywheels on motors.

Is it safe to assume that if given the option, when doing larger profile cutting, shaper over router?

Thanks for all the info!

-- Lou, Michigan........"Just because I can, doesn't mean I should, but I probably will anyway"

View runswithscissors's profile


2928 posts in 2265 days

#5 posted 11-17-2013 06:34 AM

Your shaper may be able to use router bits. I do it all the time with my 2 h.p. Jet. With a sharp bit, I don’t notice much difference in cut quality.

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

View BilltheDiver's profile


260 posts in 3125 days

#6 posted 11-18-2013 06:52 AM

I use lock miters on my router table. Infinity Cutting Tools now has a setup tool (2 sizes available) that really simplifies things on this bit. The joint can be finicky to set up until you get the hand of it. I am not sure if you could use the setup tool on a shaper, but it seems possible.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3888 days

#7 posted 11-18-2013 07:16 AM

1/2” shank router bits perform really well. I run router bits
in my shaper because that’s what I’ve invested in. There
are situations where a shaper saves time both in removing
stock and reduced sanding, but I don’t do much of that
sort of work. I will say of using a shaper is that it saves
wear and tear on your router and may be quieter or
otherwise a bit more pleasant to use.

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