Today I got a router bit spindle for my simple shaper - no sliding table nor
power feed. I have some router bits, mainly 1/2" shaft. There are many
shaper cutters that are the only choice for a cut, such as glue joints or
double lock miters. Then there are some cuts that you could do either by
shaping or routing. Is there a simple set of "rules" that would help me to
decide when I should invest on router bits, shaper cutters, or both? My
main interest is in the accuracy and quality of the cut and secondary
interest is in the safety of the cutting operation.
Some counterexamples would be nice to know for cases where in theory, you
could do the cut by shaping but routing is the right choice and vice versa.
This is a good question, because except for real large jobs, I can't
imagine not being able to use a router for most anything a shaper can
do. Your statement about a lock miter. For 3/4 stock couldn't you use
the lock miters just a well that are made for routers? It would seem
that height, depth, speed and the ability to take the punishment for
hours, days and years are the forte of a shaper. For me and most other
"weekend warriers" a router should do the job--right?
I have both. There are some jobs that the shaper does better and safer. Cope
and stick doors are one of the tasks favoring the shaper.
Tongue and groove molding is a shaper job.
By the time you buy a 3hp router, build a precision router table, and add
all of the guide fences and gadgets, you've exceeded the price of a Grizzly
My shaper is a Rockwell. My routers are mostly yellow, but I do have a PC690
in an extension table on my CS. It just is not as precise as the shaper with
its ground cast iron table. The height adjustment on the shaper is quick and
stays in place, it doesn't creep like the 690 will. I've never had the motor
and arbor fall out of the shaper while shaping. I have had the router fall
out. Fortunately, I had the router on a foot switch and was able to avoid
damage or injury. I'm sure if you use one of the height adjusting mechanisms
on the router, that wouldn't happen, but that sure puts the cost up above
the cost of a shaper.
Not many agree with me, but that really doesn't matter. :-) As with other
issues, go with what ever floats your boat.
ayup -- Woodtek shaper in my case. Turned out a tad more expensive
because I added the sliding table -- but that would have been rather
difficult with a router table.
One of those not many who does agree with you, for pretty much the same
reasons you listed above, except I haven't had a router fall out of the
table -- yikes!
The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody
It was somewhere outside Barstow when "Ollie" <Olivili at Hot Mail dot
com> wrote:> Is there a simple set of "rules" that would help me to
If you _have_ a spindle moulder (shaper in the USA) then use it for
everything. If you don't have it, don't use it.
A UK "shaper" is a different machine. Size and speed of a moulder,
half the price (so still more than a router) and a collet to take
router-style bits. I've never seen the point of these machines.
They're not as capable as a moulder and they're too slow to leave a
good finish with router-sized tooling.
The awkward question is when to buy your first spindle moulder.
Usually this is because you _need_ a particular large cutter that's
impractical for a router, even if you then spend most of your time
using it with a different cutter, which you could have run in a
Thanks for all the good advices and scary stories, but I am still missing
the actual insight to this matter. The question was not in comparison
between shaper and router. I have a separate router with three different
settings (plunge, D-handle, and the fixed head) for all from-the-top
operations. The question was about the bits and cutters used in the shaper
(http://www.woodstockinternational.com/w1702.aspx ). It has three spindles
that can take the shaper cutters with 1/2", 3/4", and 1" round bores. With
the add-on part (router bit spindle), I can use router bits with 1/4" and
1/2" round shafts.
The question was, when to use the shaping cutters and when to use the
routing bits in the same machine. For example, you could cut a 3/4" wide
dado from the side using a cutter head, such as Amana 912
(http://www.amanatool.com/shaper/917.html ) or from the bottom using a
straight plunge cutting router bit, such as Amana 45440
(http://www.amanatool.com/bits/45100.html ). Obviously the spindle travel,
such as 3", is a limiting factor for some shaping cuts. In some cases, the
shaper table size is not large enough and you have to use the dado blade in
a table saw. The essence of the question is for those cases, where you
could do the same cut either by shaping or routing. For example, there
could be some reasons to use a cutter head for shallow dados and a routing
bit for deep dados. What are the resons for dado cuts? What are the resons
for other cuts?
All comments are highly appreciated, Ollie
A simplistic response: For those cuts you'd make at or slower
than 10,000 RPM with a router, use the less expensive bit. If
10,000 RPM is too slow for a router cut, use the (generally
larger diameter) shaper cutter.
You might find it helpful to DAGS on 'router chip load' - which
is one of the relevant tool factors (others are feed rate,
spindle speed, and cutter geometry) - and, of course, the
material being cut has considerations of its own.
These days my shaper sits idle and a 5HP router does the work.
For most of the work I do, I run the spindle at 18,000 RPM and
feed somewhere between 1-1/4" and 1-1/2"/second for burn-free
cuts with a minimum of dust. I generally consider that I have
things fairly well balanced when the routing operation produces
chips (with a length equal to the depth of cut) rather than dust,
and a nice clean edge with no burning.
Not sure I understand your last two questions - Cut a dado when
your design calls for a dado. Cut something else (or not at all)
when a dado isn't called for.
Morris, thanks for the good info. I am still new in this business and the
reference to DAGS was strange to me? What is that?
My question about the reasons for dado cuts was a short hand to ask "What
are the arguments to do the dado cuts with cutter head and what are the
arguments to do the dado cuts with router bits". Your answer indicated,
that there are very few (perhaps none) reasons to use the cutter head if
there is a router bit that can do the job.
DAGS: "Do A Google Search" (use the internet search engine at
<http://www.google.com to find information)
Don't be in a big hurry to send the shaper to the dustbin! You
may need it yet. Your needs are almost certainly different from
mine; and at some point you may discover that you prefer the
shaper for some of the operations that you do (and I do not.)
Morris, good stuff.
I did dags the DAGS and observed that the acronym is used mainly in
woodworking discussions - interesting. On other hand, I did find the
following reference and still wondering what are dags.
Go here... http://www.woodcut-tools.com /
& follow the links to contact them & ask for the demo video on CD.
In the mean time, speed up the lathe to around 500RPM &
slow down the feed rate. (of the tool)
I eventually received a reply from Woodcut and the reseller. No clear answer
regarding calculating depth of cut or even grabbing but they refer back to
the brochure and sugegst a method of holding via spigots. I also have the
video CD which I viewed several times.
I have since slowed down the tool feed rate and hold the handle with both
hands to prevent the tool from being dragged into the job thus jamming. I
also deburred some of the edges of the tool which had plating
and applied wax on the cutter. I will speed up the lathe next time. Thanks
for the tip.
I have also worked out from geometric first principles the depth and bowl
radius and produced a guide table.
I dunno. The original acronym used to encourage people to do a
web search was STFW (you can find a translation by DAGS :-) but
these days DAGS is considered a bit more friendly/genteel.
The "g'day" in the quoted post may indicate the need for
translation from Australian.
"Ollie" <Olivili at Hot Mail dot com> wrote in message
Answer's still the same.
Smaller the diameter of the bit, the more you need the router's speed.
Larger the diameter or more frequent the cut - the shaper.
If either tool is capable of doing the job, the shaper is favored for volume
work. It's got thicker cutters, an induction motor, and is easily adapted
for power feeding.
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