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Are Shapers No Longer Desirable?

Amax

Registered
Last Subscription Date
07/15/2016
The thread title says it all. I am getting the impression that no one cares much about shapers any more.

Is this true? Do modern, powerful, inexpensive routers obviate the need for a shaper?
 

Thaumaturge

In Memory Of
Age
68
Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

Each has its place. Shaper will outshine router in production and stability. Router more versatile as a hand held portable. A good solid router table is a common project that at least partially negates the need for a shaper. Don't see that making shapers undesirable, just less essential. I'd welcome a shaper in my woodshop. I have several routers already.
Doc
 

John Hanson

Registered
Last Subscription Date
12/05/2008
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

I don't know what I'd do without mine....and I don't want to find out. Each have their place, but a shaper is king when you're slinging a bigger cutter...at least in my book.
JH
 

dalmatiangirl61

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

I'll claim ignorance, in the woodworking world what is a shaper? What can it do that a router won't do? I'm starting to collect some wood working tools, need to build 100 or so custom wood windows.
 

Thaumaturge

In Memory Of
Age
68
Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

I'll claim ignorance, in the woodworking world what is a shaper? What can it do that a router won't do? I'm starting to collect some wood working tools, need to build 100 or so custom wood windows.
Pretty much a beefier router permanently mounted in a solid base. More power, smoother or deeper cuts. Generally used in production shops.
Doc
 

slip knot

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/27/2019
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

IMO a router is much more versatile than a shaper. if your looking to do production work on a multitude of items then a shaper may be best. but in my world a shaper is just too big, too much for what it does.
 

Amax

Registered
Last Subscription Date
07/15/2016
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

You want to make a bunch of custom molding for a house, the shaper is the way to go. You will tire of that router after a few hundred feet of molding.

Not to mention the shaper has a larger radius tool so it will create a better finish while lasting longer.
Funny, that's why I got mine. Top-of-the-line Delta. I ran off tons of crown and baseboard moldings for our home, but that was like 20 years ago and I have hardly used it since. Was thinking of selling it and as I was researching the market is when it appeared to me folks don't seem to care as much for them any more.
 

s100

Registered
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

I own two shapers and depending on what you are doing that may be a minimum. Another poster mentioned making a bunch of windows. That's a two shaper job, one for the cope and one for the stick. You set 'em up once so that everything lines up then you leave them alone. You can make windows or doors or whatever 'till the cows come home and they'll all come out right and tight-fitting. If you have a tenoner with a cope head you can get by with the one shaper, but not everyone is going to have a tenoner.

Unless I was making some mighty small molding, like a quarter round, I would not try to use a shaper to make moldings. Too awkward, too dangerous and too prone to problems. For moldings I bought an old Belsaw planer/molder specifically for making moldings. The Belsaw is a dreadful planer but that's why I own a planer as well as a Belsaw. You can cut moldings as wide as the machine (in my case 12") and as complex as you can imagine with perfect safety and ease. I've cut miles of moldings on the thing and it's ready for more. It's kinda pokey compared to a molder but it weighs several tons less and runs off plain old 110V house current instead of its own pole transformer. That's a fair tradeoff to me.

Routers are fine for hand held work and odd one-offs. Some people make projects that are suited to a router table, and I'm not saying anything against them. But if you want to have a rigid, capable machine you can count on for big jobs and small, the shaper is the way to go. I will admit this much, though. I always had the big cabinet style shaper, then when I was looking for a second one I got a small 1/2HP model on legs, the Delta "Light Duty" shaper. I always sneered at these little machines but the deal was so compelling I couldn't say no. And now, unless I am doing a big job or one where I need two shapers, I find myself going for the little "Light Duty" shaper. I love that thing!
 

jgreen416

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/23/2020
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

40 years ago, when in the lumber business in south Detroit, we purchased a window and door place in east Detroit @ 9 mi and D'quinder came with two 4 headed shapers, 3 ph 480v. All the operations on the stiles in one pass.
Fast forward and I collected tools for home shop, lathe, table saw, router, router table,radial arm, mitre saw, thickness planer, jointer, drill press, belt and oscillating sanders. Not bad for "putzing" around but still not able to do everything and dfinitely not production stuff.
My brothers and I have been putting together a pretty wide range of late 19th early 20th century wood working equipment-huge planer, huge belt sander, 2 huge 4 headed moulders (our latest an American 505 w/about 1k knives) shingle maker, barrel head cutter. These, in conjuction with our sawmill and proposed kiln, will give us something to play with in the years ahead. We really do not plan on production but want to be capable.
For production, imo, got to have shapers, more heads the better.
JG
 

Attachments

Avery22x36

Registered
Re: Are shapers no longer desirable?

Get a shaper, your days of burning up routers and having bearings fly apart and destroying projects will be over. I got two shapers and probably 10 routers, if I was starting over I would get a three spindled shaper. I have no idea how many thousands of feet of oak tongue and groove flooring I have made but its been a bunch, its very versatile, and you can make fixtures for working all sorts of curves, stair railing and oval windows. I even polish tubing with it. My advice is get the biggest one you can afford and if your running flooring get a nice motorized feed. If your doing a lot of stuff with expensive wood, your finger joints will save enough BF to pay for a big chunk of it.
 

Pete LaBelle

Registered
Last Subscription Date
11/15/2013
I have a shaper and love it, for certain operations. I had had a good router table set up for a decade, but had a chance to use a shaper, and started looking for one.

At the time, a decent contractors table saw was around $7-800. These are normally the big ticket item in a guy's shop. Decent size shapers start at around that cost, and cutters are 3X the cost of a router bit. This was my conclusion why more home wood shops didn't have one.

Neither the router table nor shaper are best at everything, so, I kinda have both.

When building cabinet doors (2-4 times per year recently), they are the cat's meow. I CAN'T get my shaper to burn cherry or maple.

When I got the shaper, I got rid of my router table. I learned that the shaper did't not do well with router bits, as it doesn't turn fast enough, and had to feed slower than normal. I've since built a small router table from an old 1.5hp Craftsman router and a piece of 3/4" acrylic plastic (salvaged from an old machine at work). This mounts to the tail end of my wood lathe. Top is about 18" square, and is most often loaded with a 1/8" round over bit.

This situation works well for me.

Pete
 

Weezer

Registered
Last Subscription Date
01/07/2014
I had an old dining room table in the basement, I mounted a giant old craftsman router in the leaf so I can remove it when it's not needed. The fence just clamps on the table. Agree, It's not the right tool for those big panel cutters, but does a pretty good job for what I do.
 
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