Shaper Bits in a Router?

Just don't do it. It's not worth it. April 21, 2011

We are a 2 man shop with 45 years combined experience. My shaper broke yesterday and last night I was trying to make two small raised MDF panels with a router and I got kind of scared for the speed and noise. Router is 27,000 rpm and the bit is for 12,000 rpm. Will the bit break, fly, or...? I bought this bit long ago and never used it, and now I need to and suddenly I am nervous (maybe I'm getting old). I am always careful and have never had an accident.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
There is nobody here who will tell you that what you propose is safe to do. You yourself know it to be unsafe. If a router is your only option for now, buy the right router for the work. $350 for a big router is much less expensive than any - almost certain - accident will be.

From contributor T:
You might want to consider getting an aftermarket variable speed controller for now. Depending on the size of the cutter, I probably wouldn't use anything smaller than a 3hp router.

From contributor E:
27K rpm is way too fast to spin a bit of that size. I wouldn't try that again.

From contributor X:
Take it slow and easy and do not take too big of a bite. Doing it in one sweep could create problems. Take a number of bites. To be safe, wear a face mask and gloves. Try a sample piece first. Pray a bit more.

From contributor O:
Can you buy out your doors for the time being? Until you can operate safely? I second variable speed control and 3HP router. My Porter Cable 3HP has VSC built in. It was $350 if I recall correctly.

From contributor H:
Buy them until you fix your shaper. Depending on the profile, you could make them on the table saw. I would not run a panel raising bit at that speed.

From contributor C:
Way too fast. If you have ever had a router kick back on you, it scares the crap out of you. Not only can you lose a finger or hand, but keep in mind if the bit breaks or it kicks the wood, the router table is just below belt high and it would not be good. You would have to change your name to Harriett instead of Harry. If this has made you think, then good - I did my job as a router bit company. Variable speed and many, many cuts.

From contributor B:
That is a bad plan. In my experience if I get that feeling when doing something, it is not a good plan. Sub out the door, fix the shaper. Ask a neighboring shop for help. Do not hurt yourself or someone else.

From contributor V:
I agree that when you get that feeling, it is best to change directions. That is not a safe setup, as I have tried it before (in my younger days). I have made great raised panels with a table saw, but if the profile is curved at all, you need to outsource.

Q: Who first came up with fractions?
A: A careless carpenter.

From contributor Z:
Contributor X, no gloves, please. Save them for gardening. That soil can be tough on hands.

From contributor X:
Sorry, I was thinking of myself and the skin graft that is on my hand which I got early in my youth. I have to protect it by wearing a thin glove. I should have caught that wording.

From contributor Y:
One word - shrapnel. They put speed ratings on router bits for a reason. If that bit is designed for no more than 12,000 it is balanced for that speed due to its weight and diameter. To spin it up more than twice its rating can and most likely will cause dangerous vibrations. Also, if you hit a piece of difficult grain or a knot, you could shatter the bit or snap the shank. That's a lot of torque on a 1/2" of steel, and at that speed it would make quite a mess out of your soft tissue. No job is worth it. If it goes, you won't know it till after it happens.