I've done some reading, but am still a bit confused as to the advantages of
a shaper vs. a router table. Good shapers seems to be somewhat pricey, so
I'm just wondering why. Does a shaper essentially act like a dedicated
router table with more horsepower? Where does one get the different
profiles? Just use standard router bits?
Difference is more or less like the circular saw to Unisaw continuum. Best
shapers will haul big bits continuously, smaller will still out cut equal
"horse(shit)power" routers, and their table has all the niceties that you
ever wanted, and have to buy in a router table. I've got a 1.5 HP mini
shaper and a 3.5 HSP router in a table, and when I've got feet and feet to
run, the shaper's the best.
They don't do dados, though.
Check out Pat Warner's website for a discusssion.
Generally speaking, a router is for short runs on small work. Yes, you
can do panel raising on a router table, but large bits can be downright
A shaper is a hefty piece of heavy iron with a powerful motor--as high
as 5hp. It can spin a much heavier cutter at lower speeds for longer
periods of time.
Think of a router that works in units of seconds. A hundred seconds is
a long time to use a router, even on a table.
A shaper works in units of shifts.
Take a look at this:
$3,500 is the price, and that from a "cheap" far-east manufacturer.
If you're making kitchen cabinets, you put your rail cutter in side A,
your stile cutter in side B, and your panel raiser in side C. Then you
make cabinet doors for several days worth of production.
Try that on a router table.
Now . .how do I that THAT from SWMBO . . .
One more thing I forgot to mention, the bits on larger machines are
different from router bits in the fact that they do not have a shank on
them, they just slip over the shank that is installed on your machine. If
you read about larger shapers, usually they will come with different size
common sizes are 1/2" and 3/4". --dave
Yeah, isn't that strange?
About a year ago, I took delivery of my Uncle's machine shop. When
I built the house, I designed it with an exposed basement and double-
doors to the back, specifically because I knew this would happen at
some point. I think the funniest comment was from one guy at work who
said "She lets you put a lathe and milling machines in the house?!?!?!",
as if this was something unusual. I explained to him what I explained to
her, that the house was designed around those tools before I met my wife.
But...parking a vehicle in a workshop. That is too strange. Next you're
going to tell me that that heat-controlled chamber in the kitchen isn't
for annealing metal parts, it's for cooking food or something. Sheesh.
Dave "still hear about that one, years later I do..." Hinz
You're comparing a hand-held tool to a stationary tool. I run a
half-ton router/table in my shop and it's perfectly happy to run
for days at a time; though my longest (continuous) cut to date
has been just under four hours.
The spindle (motor) is capable of developing 5HP over its entire
speed range (0 - 24,000 RPM in 0.1 RPM steps). At 20,000 RPM (the
fastest I've ever asked it to go) it runs more quietly than my PC
speed block sander. The downside is (as you've probably already
guessed) that the the spindle (all by itself) cost more than the
An acquaintance on the east coast uses his to make raised panel
cabinet doors - multiple doors at a time from a single sheet of
MDF - all day long, day after day.
AND it can cut deep mortises and dovetails and T-slots - things I
still haven't figured out how to do with my shaper... (-:
Well yeah. That's what the OP wanted to know--the difference between a
router and a table and a shaper, why a shaper cost so much more.
Your setup sounds like its price was getting into the Shaper Zone.
You have pictures? Your description sounds more than a little drool
Well, yes /and/ no. Shapers are nearly always "heavy iron" and
most routers are portable, handheld tools - but routers need not
be portable - or handheld.
If you could watch this thing run, you'd never confuse it with a
(...and should you ever be in central Iowa and drop in at the
shop, I'll put on at least a short demonstration so you'll have
that chance. :-)
The point was, and is, portable routers in tables were what was being
discussed. I seriously doubt that I will ever be anyplace in Iowa. I do
know, however, that compared to the machines I deal with daily, I wouldn't
find yours to be that impressive. Not to say it is not a fine machine. I'm
sure it is.
Do grandparents carry pictures of their kids' latest? Ha!
Visit http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/interest.html - there are pix at
the "ShopBot Dust Collection" system; and "Miscellaneous" links.
I give fair warning that if you're downloading over a dial-up
connection, it may take a while (sorry, my bad design.)
If you find this stuff interesting, there are ShopBot links on
the "Home" page.
You are on the right track. A shaper is a dedicated router table (of sorts)
with more HP. I suppose you could put regular router bits in a smaller
shaper, but real shapers take large bits (usually 3/4" or larger shank), and
are more geared to large production work. I do a fair amount of panel
raising for doors, fireplace surrounds, cabinet doors, and wainscoting and
use a large shaper to cut the stiles, rails, and panels. The panel raising
bit I use most is 6" in diameter, and is driven by 2 HP motor. It sounds
like a large aircraft taking off with the panel raising bit in it, but it
will raise a large reveal panel in one pass. The first time a ran a
shaper, it kinda scared the hell out of me. I was quite comfortable with any
other wood working equipment, but that thing.....well, I'm adjusted to it
now, even enjoy it. If you are skittish running a table saw, a large shaper
is probably not what you need yet. There are smaller shapers though, I've
seen bench top models recently that take 1/4" and 1/2" shank bits (common
router size) and look real convenient. Set the bench top up for a project
and use your router to do the other things-like dados etc, that would
require the tool to be used out of the table. If you opt for the big shaper,
I'd suggest finding one with a larger table, and purchase a sled to cut
stiles and rails and a feeder (these are WONDERFUL for sending the panels
through and keeps the fingers away from the cutter) . The larger bits can
become expensive, and not available just anywhere. Check online and wood
working stores in your area. Have fun! -dave
Just picked up the 1 1/2 HP Grizzly Shaper and for under $500.00 I would
find it very hard to believe that one could do a better,safer,easier and
more efficient job of shaping wood. I also had the delima of making my own
router table with a precision lift but after factoring the cost and time
needed to put it together it was a nobrainer to spend almost 1/2 as much on
the shaper. Best of Luck!
PS- Router bits mounted in the router bit adapter have been doing fine so
far and shaper bits (taiwanese) are fine for home use and they are
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