Consider a Shaper
Even if you have a good router table, you may need this powerful machine
Synopsis: Even though routers and shapers perform the same basic functions, there are critical differences. In this article, professional furniture maker J. Speetjens demonstrates why he has both tools in his shop. A few of his arguments? Shapers make heavier cuts, can handle large runs of moldings, and can cut larger profiles than a router. They have a sliding table and a reversible motor, which lets you do template work without worrying about cutting against the grain. The ability to flip some cutters adds to the shaper’s flexibility.
Stripped to their essentials, a router mounted in a router table and a shaper are the same—a machine with a vertical, motorized spindle holding cutters to mill wood. As a professional woodworker, I consider both router and shaper indispensable. Sometimes, I choose one machine over the other simply because of the cutters I have available. But often only one of the…