Importance of Spindle Shaper Size

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Forum topic by BBOSIDE posted 09-26-2014 07:14 PM 1453 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2342 days

09-26-2014 07:14 PM

I’m a novice when it comes to shapers. I want to pick up Powermatic model 26.
I have seen on many sites that suggest having 1.25” spindles with 3 to 5hp. The shaper I’m looking at only has .500” spindle with 2 HP. I believe I can buy a 1” spindle.

My question is what is the importance of the spindle size. I have no intention of running heavy profiles on this machine. I see myself using this for doors and profiling and chamfering edges only. I have cheaper router table now. That I hate needs to be replaced. I know I can buy a nice router table and a 3 HP router. I have studied this option. I know its a great debate a router table vs shaper. I see both sides. A new router table set up gets expensive fast. I really don’t want to spend the time and make one.

I figure I can get by with this shaper and power for my needs.

I don’t understand the importance of the spindle. Other then sizing of cutter heads.


9 replies so far

View runswithscissors's profile


2753 posts in 2026 days

#1 posted 09-26-2014 07:31 PM

A 1/2” spindle allows only small shaper cutters, though with a collet adaptor you can use router bits. Also, some shaper cutters with a 3/4” bore can be used with a bushing for the 1/2” spindle.

A 3/4” or 1” spindle lets you use bigger, heavier cutters. I see that model 26 shapers come in many different power configurations. A 2 hp induction motor has more torque and power than a 3 hp universal motor (as on the router). I have a 2 hp Jet, which came with 3/4” and 1” spindles (no 1/2”) and it has plenty of power for what I do, but if I were doing a lot of raised panels, I’d probably want at least 3 hp.

I’m surprised the 2 hp model you’re looking at only comes with a 1/2” spindle. Is it a used machine?

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

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1904 days

#2 posted 09-26-2014 08:53 PM

My experience in short,
A 1 1/4” spindle-5+hp heavy weight shaper, will most definitely pick up where the router table leaves off.
Both are great tools.

View BBOSIDE's profile


7 posts in 2342 days

#3 posted 09-26-2014 08:54 PM

Yes the unit is used. Looks in good condition. I agree its a strange set up. I’m not going to run a lot of panel doors. Do you think the 2 HP has enough power to profile a 1.5 to 2 stock with like a Ogee edge for example?

View runswithscissors's profile


2753 posts in 2026 days

#4 posted 09-27-2014 07:24 AM


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

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1904 days

#5 posted 09-27-2014 05:25 PM

Here is a manual for the PM26. I used one for a few months, it had a 1” fixed spindle. It appears the changeable spindle has 1/2” and 3/4” for size. I don’t know the availability of parts. The one I used was really a pretty good machine. Looking at the manual, for a 1” spindle, the complete fixed spindle unit is needed

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4142 posts in 2310 days

#6 posted 09-27-2014 06:05 PM


Bigger spindle and more HP is always better when you talking shapers. Most quality shaper tooling is going to come in 1-1/4 bore size and you’ll find more variety of profiles. The heaver spindles and cutter diameters will make for better cuts also.

They do make bushing that allow you to run 1-1/4 tooling on smaller spindles. I wouldn’t go smaller that one inch spindle and get some bushing so you can run the larger tooling.

That being said it depend on what your making, how often and how large of runs your doing.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#7 posted 09-27-2014 06:38 PM

Usually Shapers are used for more heavy duty work like raised panels and door making but you can certainly use one instead of a router table. One thing you might think about is the cost of cutters for shapers,they are considerable higher in cost than router bits and are less available( at least in the area I live in.) Many times you can buy an adapter for your shaper to hold router bits.Making a router table is not that hard to do,That would be my choice,but that’s up to you if you choose not to make one.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1904 days

#8 posted 09-27-2014 10:09 PM

More information can be found on shapers by searching “spindle moulder”, called that over seas where they are used a lot.
Read everything possible on safety, they need close attention to detail there.

After using the PM26, it was to my advantage to go for a heavy weight machine. The spindle bearings get expensive on big machines-often costing more then finding a used machine.

View buildingmonkey's profile


242 posts in 1548 days

#9 posted 09-28-2014 11:28 PM

I have a Grizzly 3hp shaper, and it came with different sizes of spindles. The router bit spindle was extra, but I got it so I can use my panel door set. Downside is the panel cutter throws the chips down into the cabinet of the shaper. Need to buy a panel raising shaper cutter, as they throw the chips up. Would recommend a small power feeder. A neighbor has a 1/2 hp, mine is 1 hp, seems like they both work well, could probably even go smaller hp.

-- Jim from Kansas

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