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Building a new router table vs buying a shaper

Cody Kauzlarich Member

I currently have a single router table and am looking at building a new cabinet that would hold two tops and lifts. I build furniture and cabinets but when I build an entire kitchen, I buy doors. If I'm building furniture or a vanity I will typically build my own doors and if I have board and batten panels for something like a kitchen island I will also build these. Tell me why I should buy a shaper rather than invest time and money into a new dual router station for running cope and stick basically simultaneously.

8/30/20       #2: Building a new router table vs buyi ...
Karl E Brogger  Member


Making cabinet door parts on a router table sounds terrible to me. I've never done it, but I have made doors on crap shapers and hated it.

Good shapers and tooling cost way less than cheap shapers and tooling.

8/31/20       #3: Building a new router table vs buyi ...
Tom Gardiner

A shaper benefits are:
Quieter, safer if used with a power feed (which I recommend) , more accurate in adjustment, less vibration if you buy a good one , faster feed rates with better finish, tooling lasts longer, often what might require a couple of passes on a router table a shaper can do in one.
The only drawback is that shapers weigh 800 lbs and are a pain to move around if you have limited space.

8/31/20       #4: Building a new router table vs buyi ...
David R Sochar Member

Router Table = skateboard
Real Shaper = Diesel locomotive

Don't confuse the two. Real shapers can be spotted by 1-1/4" or greater spindle, 5 HP or more. 1,000 lbs or more. Increased productivity.

8/31/20       #5: Building a new router table vs buyi ...
D Brown

Consider both, a router table is a needed tool in a custom furniture / cabinet shop and so are shapers. Shapers have so much more thrust and power and do the same job more effortlessly than a router and typically produce better results depending on the cut. I could not operate without both. The spindle size for your work can easily be 1", you really do not need 1 1/4" or larger spindle size for what you will be using it for. Yes bigger is usually better but it may also come with a 3 phase motor or just be more machine than you need ? Good luck

8/31/20       #6: Building a new router table vs buyi ...
Rob Scaffe  Member

A router table is a poor choice if you are planning to do any amount of cabinet doors. If you are primarily concerned with cabinet doors and light molding you would do well with a used Delta/Rockwell heavy duty shaper. Although not "heavy duty" as the name implies they are very capable and robust machines (think of a Unisaw version of a shaper). They can also handle a full size feeder. I would look for used American made machines vs the imported new ones.

View higher quality, full size image (680 X 510)

9/2/20       #7: Building a new router table vs buyi ...
Keith Newton

I have one just like Rob posted that I'd be willing to part with if your interested, just drop me an email and we can deal.
I have another that I use more, and am near retirement.

Also, you might consider using a hole-saw to drill through one of the wing castings of a larger table saw, then mounting a 3hp router under there. I have a PM 14" with a really large cast right side wing that I adapted for 3 routers that could be used for jobs like you mentioned. It can be really handy when you need to make multiple cuts with different cutters.

9/3/20       #8: Building a new router table vs buyi ...
Hen Bob Member

Shaper all the way. Much better finished product, way more versatile, and safer in my opinion. If you are near any major city they come up for sale all the time.

David made a wonderful and truthful comparison

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