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Thread: Shaper vs. Big Router

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Posts
    512

    Shaper vs. Big Router

    Hello all,

    I have a question that I hope you can answer or at least provide your opinions and experience.

    Without taking space usage in consideration, when comparing a 1.5 or 2 HP shaper (Jet, Delta...) with a cast iron top to a 3 HP under table router (Porter Cable, Makita, Triton...) are you really comparing apples to apples?

    Assuming you are using equal quality cutters will one discern a finish difference between one or the other?

    The reason I am asking is that I am seeing a few used shapers with multiple knife sets for sale in my area and they are a lot cheaper than a router and lift combo.

    Cheers,
    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    4,005
    A shaper is nothing more than a big belt driven router mounted to a table.It has one job and does it well
    Really a router is a hand held tool that over the years has become an under table tool as well, it makes it a more versatile tool. You can get a lot of money tied up trying to make the perfect router and table set up. So it will work almost as good as a shaper.
    It is on the same line as mounting your skil saw to a table to have a table saw but that idea never took off.
    The big thing is space you can't store a shaper on the shelf under the bench. You can do that with a good router and router table.
    If you have the room for a shaper get one. If you have limited space in your shop go with the router table. One last thing is a router on a table will not take years of panel raising or railing making. So if your moving towards being a production shop with these tasks than the shaper is the way to go.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,472
    the only thing i can add to chucks reply is that i wish i had got a shaper before spending the dollars on a table setup..the cutters for a shaper are more pricey but they last alot longer as a rule. and i would say a 1.5 or 2 hp shaper will work circles around that 3 hp router in a table. i now have both and use the table alot and as soon as i can warrant the exrta bucks for the insert style cutters for the shaper i will be ready to play better, one other note if you headed towards building cabinets for a job, your gonna want two machines of some kind to run the cope cuts on the rails and another setup for the stile cut..changing back and forth isnt cost effective..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ozarks
    Posts
    4,993
    yes there`s a big difference in both life of the unit and quality of the cut.
    safety on a shaper can be greatly enhanced with a feeder and the cut quality will increase too.
    just for fun try running a router at full load amperage for 2 hours.......a shaper can take that load for years
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  5. #5
    Shaper wins over Router, every time

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    your gonna want two machines of some kind to run the cope cuts on the rails and another setup for the stile cut..changing back and forth isnt cost effective..
    Or if space is a problem you can try and find a shaper like we had in the shop I worked in in Baltimore. The cope and stick cutters were on the same spindle and with the flick of a switch you could switch back and forth between them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    If I had the space, I'd have both
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,831
    My first thought also. Space. If you have plenty, own and use both. If you don't have enough, routers are a great invention.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bradford, Vermont
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    A shaper is also MUCH quieter than a router... AND generally more dangerous. The cutters leave a much finer surface than router bits do, but they also cost a LOT more.

    That said... I do own a small shaper, as well as four router tables. Each has its place & jobs to do.
    -- Tim --

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    4,005
    http://www.freud-tools.com/freuddoorlip1.html $65.99 router bit

    Item Number Overall Diameter (C) Cut Depth (H) Carbide Height (h) Minor Height (R) Large Radius (A) Angle Shank Diameter Overall Length
    99-001 2" 29/64" 1-1/4" 11/16" 3/8" 7 1/2" 2-3/4"

    http://www.freud-tools.com/freudecdoorl.html $69.99 shaper cutter

    Item Number Overall Diameter (d) Cut Depth (H) Carbide Height (h) Minor Height (R) Large Radius (A) Anble Bore Diameter
    EC-001 2-7/8" 29/64" 1-1/4" 43/64" 23/64" 7 3/4"
    2 bit the approximate same size to do the same job
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

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