Molding head for shaper vs. router

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by phillyjon posted 12-23-2014 03:40 PM 1159 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View phillyjon's profile


4 posts in 1643 days

12-23-2014 03:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shaper molding

I’m trying to figure the best way to go for a project to restore door and window casings. The original oak in a few rooms was torn out for an ill-advised remodel probably in the 50s. I figured out a way to do a pretty good approximation of the original using my table saw and router table. But it’s complicated and awkward and I’m not completely satisfied with the results.
I’ve seen some shapers on Craigslist and am interested in that as a possible alternative. One guy has an old Montgomery Ward machine with no cutter heads for $60. The casings are 3 1/2 inches. Would I be able to retrofit and set up to do it that way without spending a small fortune? Do I even want to go down that road?
A third thought is that my neighbor moved out and gave me her dad’s fairly new Shopsmith Pro 12-inch planer. I know some planers can double as molding machines, but it doesn’t look like the SS can.
I’m in Delaware County PA and there’s at least one guy on Craigslist who cuts custom molding and at some point that would be cheaper, but what’s the fun in that?
Any thoughts, advice etc?


3 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#1 posted 12-23-2014 03:52 PM

Just keep in mind that shaper cutters are pretty expensive and a lot of people don’t even sell them. If you are not going to be making crown and other mouldings very often I would just try to do it with your router and table saw. Whatever router bits you buy you’ll have those for other projects. If you have someone that has a molder in your area they probably run crown. You could just get on a tail end of the run the next time he runs crown. That would save you a lot of time and may not be that expensive. We use to have five molders and let people jump on the tail end of our runs.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View runswithscissors's profile


2750 posts in 2020 days

#2 posted 12-23-2014 08:40 PM

The cheap small shapers are very limited. They have a small vertical range (usually an inch or less), and use only the smallest spindle (1/2”), though some of them can be adapted to use router bits.

They also have advantages: more powerful than a router, because they use an induction motor. Also, they are reversible, which is sometimes handy with shaper cutters (and some router bits, if they have removable cutters, like rabbeting bits and occasionally profile bits).

The smallest shaper I’d want to start with would be the 1.5 hp. Grizzly or Jet. Of course you can go on up from there.

There are also planers that can take moulding cutters. Grizzly and Jet both make 13” planers that can use molding knives. These are not lunchbox planers, but more like mid sized, medium duty machines, certainly robust enough for most home shops.

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

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1716 days

#3 posted 12-23-2014 08:48 PM

I worked in a millwork shop during college and we had a monster Delta/Invicta Shaper with four speeds and a 10hp motor and I would not even think of what you’re trying to do even with a very substantial shaper. Not to mention if you’re looking for a custom ground carbide blade or blades the price could be astronomical very quickly. A planer/molder or dedicated molding machine (like a Williams and Hussey) that can use two high speed steel knifes custom ground for a reasonable price (usually <$150).

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics