Choosing a Power Feeder

Advice on matching power-feeder horsepower to the intended use. July 27, 2008

I am interested in buying a couple of power feeders, one for the table saw, primarily for ripping FF stock, and another for the router table for making stiles. My question is how big of a PF do I need for each? Both tables are kept very clean, waxed, and slippery, so how many wheels and horsepower would you recommend?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
When I got a power feeder for my table saw (1 hp), the first thing I realized was that I needed a bigger saw (bought a Tannewitz at a sweet price). You don't mention what type of equipment that you have, but I would say not to bother with setting up a power feeder on a router table. Get a shaper instead (at least 5 horse), and a 1 hp power feeder. In my opinion a router table is generally a waste of time.

From contributor B:
If you are really planning on using this setup, I would recommend the Delta 1/4 hp 3 roller or any other brand (Grizzly, Comatic, etc.).Do not buy the 1/8 hp Baby feeders. We had a Delta Baby and it fell apart and never had enough pressure to be of any use.

From contributor C:
The Baby feeder is a nice piece of machinery. The hold down and arm are the part that doesn't work. The spring setup in the wheels is stronger than the arm assembly and you could never get enough pressure on the wheels. I have mine converted to the base and it is much stronger and works fine. I love the variable speed. It is not for heavy duty applications.

From contributor D:
I bought two 1/8 hp Delta Versafeeders about 2 years ago, and originally used them on a home-built moulder made from a 3 hp shaper and two 3-1/4 hp routers. The 2 feeders pushed the material through the 3 machines just fine. I later bought a Logosol moulder, and then a Woodmaster to use as a gangrip saw. The picture shows how I am using them now. The Versafeeders do a good job of keeping the boards against the fence on the in feed and out feed side as we feed them, but the Woodmaster has serrated steel feed rollers to pull the lumber through the eight sawblades.

I was typing this as contributor C posted his response. I agree with him - the Versafeeder is not for heavy duty applications. I have not had any trouble with mine, but I think if you could do a side by side comparison, you would be much happier with a 1 hp feeder on a table saw.

From contributor C:
As long as you don't plan on using the faster speeds on the feeders the hp are fine for anything you need to do. But as soon as you feel the need for speed they lack the power to consistently push the stock. A 1/2 hp would be a minimum on a TS. If you have a 5 hp or greater TS then you should really invest in the 1 hp units so you can take advantage of the power your saw has to offer.

From contributor E:
I haven't used any feeders that were less than 1 hp so I'll defer to the previous suggestions. I will say that you'll want to be very careful using the feeder on your router table as you will likely burn out your router. Feeder's lowest speeds are still probably a bit too fast (in my opinion anyway) for a router to keep up with on a full depth sticking cut. Try it out since you have the setup already, just be prepared to upgrade to a shaper in the near future. As has been said already, you won't regret moving up to the right machine for the job.

From contributor B:
I used a router table a lot. Recently I bought a Felder f700z spindle moulder/shaper. I got with it a router spindle that spins at 15,000 rpm. A 3 wheel 1hp feeder and router cutters produce a finish on hardwood that I never even got close to on a router table. The beauty of this set up is that I get to use all my router bits without having to buy new cutters and blocks straight away. I'm sure that moulding blocks and cutters will be even better, but at least this can be earning something first.