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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
Having major angst here. I've just completed a lot of research on a router, router top/fence/lift which will cost $850 (PC 7518 with a Bench Dog top/fence/lift). For pretty much the same amount of money I could get a Shop Fox 2HP shaper (or better yet, a 3HP shaper for only $150 more). Help!

My primary need is router bits and I know the limitations of a shaper is a max spindle speed of 10k which is slow for many smaller router bits. But for the same amount of money wouldn't you rather have a beefy cast iron 2HP shaper over a makeshift MDF router/router table to run those same router bits given all of the added power, sturdiness, flexibility to potentially use shaper cutters?

I'd be sacrificing spindle speed but gaining more power, structural sturdiness and flexibility to run cutters. What say you?

TIA,
Michael
 

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Michael, what sort of production work are you planning on doing? By production work I mean 8 hours a day, 5 days a week or more. This would be the main reason to purchase a shaper instead of a router and table which can do much more. You may want to spend a few minutes reviewing my blog Sawdust dreams in the blogs section. There is a good foundation for choosing routers, tables and bits and the reasons why you need an open mind when shopping.
 

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Hi mammy

Well Mike and Corey made a good point :), The router can do more jobs than the shaper that said, it takes more Guts to run a shaper, the norm, i.e. a simple 1/2" dado can be tricky on the shaper the stock must be on edge and you can only get the slot about 1 1/2" from the edge of the stock the norm, let's take a Dovetail slot forget that one on the shaper, lets take a 1/8" slot cutters forget them on the shaper, but most of the other cuts can be done very well on the shaper and the cutters turn at 10,000 rpm and just right for the size of most shaper cutter and sometimes it's two fast. (it's a real Guts machine)

If you like a clean shop, the shaper is not the tool for you they make a big mess ,just the way they are setup they don't pickup alot of the chips unless you have a big Vac.System pulling them in.

Now for the router table , it's not so much the cost of the router table setup it's the cost of the bits, you will before long have more money in the bits than the table setup that's why you need to keep the cost of the router table down as low as you can by making your own router table and then get the best router you can get.

I should say one thing about the speed of bits in the router, SPEED KILLS,it kills most bits, they don't need to be ran at 24,ooo rpm to do a good job,speed is heat and that will kill bits in a heart beat the feed of the stock into the bit is the key, that's if you want to keep your bits the router will tell you want it needs to do a good job, it has a voice so to speak :) :)
Once you cook the bit that's it (turn in blue) it's done for good the norm.

It's like driving a stick shift for the 1st time you must learn how to do it.

I know this may not be a big help but it comes down to what you want to do.

There are more Cons. than Pros. for the shaper but it comes down to one point ,(what you want out of the system)

Bj:)


mammy said:
Hey all,
Having major angst here. I've just completed a lot of research on a router, router top/fence/lift which will cost $850 (PC 7518 with a Bench Dog top/fence/lift). For pretty much the same amount of money I could get a Shop Fox 2HP shaper (or better yet, a 3HP shaper for only $150 more). Help!

My primary need is router bits and I know the limitations of a shaper is a max spindle speed of 10k which is slow for many smaller router bits. But for the same amount of money wouldn't you rather have a beefy cast iron 2HP shaper over a makeshift MDF router/router table to run those same router bits given all of the added power, sturdiness, flexibility to potentially use shaper cutters?

I'd be sacrificing spindle speed but gaining more power, structural sturdiness and flexibility to run cutters. What say you?

TIA,
Michael
 

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Michael, welcome to the forums. You really need to tell us more as to what you plan to use the equipment for. In my opinion, unless you intend to do big bunches of work, I would go with a router. You can get a 3 1/2 hp that will do the work and you will have more of a selection of bits to work with. The router with the MDF table will be more versatile than a shaper. IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thx for the welcome. it's a great forum!
i'll never be doing any production work, only hobby work, honeydo projects, etc. only the occasional raised door panel. mainly running router bits. mainly light duty work. i'll have the occasional large profile for a trim project but that'll be more rare than not.

i suppose my question is more about the pound for pound value question even if, theoretically, i never use a shaper cutter (so the extra cost of cutters and powerfeeder goes away). a shaper can run any router bit with a 1/2" spindle so why spend an equal amount of money on a makeshift rig versus a full shaper if the only downside is a slower spindle speed. even if i don't do large volume production work does it make more sense to get the shaper for an equal amount of money since there's more potential/capability/stability with a shaper for the odd/few times i'll need it. selection of bits seems to not be an issue since i imagine you can use any router bit on a shaper so the shaper will only give you more bit options. no?

but bobj3 is saying that there is more downside to using a shaper as a router than just slower spindle speed. that's a good point and valuable for me to know. his argument suggests router.

michael
 

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Michael, router bits are designed to run in a certain speed range and this is where they will cut most efficiently. This range is faster than the shaper operates at. Every shaper I have seen has a small table to work on and no room for adding jigs or fixtures.
This severely limits the number of jobs you can do. Forget about cutting mortises, dovetails, using guide bushings with templates and all plunge routing. Trust me when I say you really do not want to limit yourself this way. If the idea of spending less money to be able to do more appeals to you check out this package from Oak Park. Watch the videos and see if it makes sense to you. Click here to view a very nice system: http://us.oak-park.com/catalogue.html?list=RT01--&product=STP30301
 

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Hi Michael, welcome to the forum. Ive been doing wood working for a lot of years, as a hobby and as a business. I had a Delta cabinet shaper and stock feeder. If you do a lot of work, say making 25 or 30 cabinets it' s what you need. However, I also had a router and table, as well as a number of hand held routers. I have since retired and I sold the shaper, and a large planer that I had. I bought the Oak-Park system for the private jobs that I still do for friends and some old customers. Router bits should not be run at a slower speed as Mike pointed out it's not good for the work or the bit.
To accomplish what you are attemping to do, the router and table is what you will need. That being said, I suggest that you look at the Oak-Park router table, and some others before you make a decision. That's my 2 1/2 cents worth. Woodnut65
 

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From your description I think you definitely want to go with a router set up. As Mike said, look at the Oak Park set up. Very versatile. Of course you can always go hi dollar with lifts etc. if you want to but the main thing is a good flat top with a good plate and a 3 HP router and you will be able to do all you want to do.

Corey
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thx mike but the oak park set up you link to is $700 which is pretty high. i'd build my own before spending that kind of money. as far as individual parts oak park wants $150 for just the table top. many of the top companies that have been reviewed well (ie. bench dog) offer cheaper tops. and the oak park fence seem to be just a strip of polyethylene which limiting.

anyone out there build a nice table that's lasted the test of time with a miter slot and good fence? seems like a lift is necessary with a 7518 or i'd have to take it out every time i want to change a bit, sounds rough.
 

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Michael;
I just learned a few things about a shaper. I'm very satisfied with my choice in router top. You sound like your not much of a MDF fan. There are alternatives.
As far as the table and top are concerned, apart from my particular shop situation, I would have built my own router table with drawers for bits, etc. I bought the BenchDog router table extension for the table saw. The top is cast iron, has a miter slot that works great with the BenchDog locking feather boards, (same as the table saw), and you can use T nuts and jigs. The fence has sliding backer boards that can be replaced and room to close in on a bit. The fence has a slot for feather boards, a 4" dust port keeps the mess to a minimum.

I'll just improve on a good setup by getting another plate that can take brass inserts.
There are great table and top setup out there. But for me, to save space in my shop, the extension was the best all around compromise. If you're getting a 7518, then you have enough power for anything a hobbiest woodworker can throw at it.
Good Luck, (another) Mike
 

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Hi Mammy

You may want to take a look at the Woodpecker tables/tops.
The lift is a bit over kill, you want a top with a snap out ring that will let you change any bit from the top of the table with a bent wrench that you can get for 14.oo bucks the base cabinet you can make quick and easy for about 50.oo bucks the same thing for the fence, I recommend using MDF stock for the Swing type fence with T & G insert, most routers only need to move up or down in the table about 1" or two for most of the cuts.

If you want more info on the Swing type fence or the T & G inserts just ask.

see snapshot of one of my router tables ▼
This table has a 3 1/4HP router installed.

http://www.woodpeck.com/
http://www.woodpeck.com/rt2432.html


Bj :)






mammy said:
thx mike but the oak park set up you link to is $700 which is pretty high. i'd build my own before spending that kind of money. as far as individual parts oak park wants $150 for just the table top. many of the top companies that have been reviewed well (ie. bench dog) offer cheaper tops. and the oak park fence seem to be just a strip of polyethylene which limiting.

anyone out there build a nice table that's lasted the test of time with a miter slot and good fence? seems like a lift is necessary with a 7518 or i'd have to take it out every time i want to change a bit, sounds rough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thx mike but the oak park link you sent is a $700 which seems pricey especially for the quality level. i'd build before spending that kind of money. the individual parts seem a bit cheesy. the top is only 3/4 plywood and the fence seem to be just a piece of polyethylene.

anyone out there build a nice router table that's held up over time with a good fence?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
bobj3,
snap out rings and a bent wrench would take care of the bit change but what about the fine adjusting of the router bit level on the table? without a lift how's that done?
 

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Michael, you think $700 is too high; did you understand what all is included in that package? The $340 setup is still more than any other manufacturer offers, and I can tell you that I looked at the $335 Freud table and it was built from the cheapest grade of plywood, no comparison. The $150 dollar top has a mounting plate with the built in vacuum system so you don't have to fight with a hose above the table. It is built from premium baltic birch plywood which runs about $78 a sheet here, then add on $40 for Formica to cover both sides. We just had a posting where a member needed to replace his Bench Dog mounting plate to use guide bushings and still be able to rout raised panels.
It is obvious to me that you have never seen The Router Workshop. Bob and Rick teach that "Simple is better", and I would suggest before you spend any money that you watch the program a couple times. I have built tables with miter slots, sliding fences, all the whistles and bells. I own a PC 7518 and almost never use it. I have learned there is a more enjoyable way to rout, and it is easier too.
 

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Hi mammy

Many of the new routers come with a fine adjusting knob that you can turn from the bottom or the top side of the router some also some come with a Allen hex key that you can drill a hole in the top base plate and just push it down from the top side of the table into the adjusting tube for the fine adjust , I just got two new Sears routers that have this item built in. :)
I use a T handle Allen hex key for this job that works very well :) for the total cost of 1.50 cents for the key.

http://www.routerforums.com/table-mounted-routing/4063-model-320-17542-table-routing-3.html


Bj :)

mammy said:
bobj3,
snap out rings and a bent wrench would take care of the bit change but what about the fine adjusting of the router bit level on the table? without a lift how's that done?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thx bobj3, i just found a bosch 1619evs that seems to have everything i'm looking for. it has 3 1/4HP yet microadjustment controls and supposedly you can change bits w/o removing from the table so there's no need for a lift. why would anyone but a PC 7518 and spend $300 on a lift? anyone with experience with this router?

also, mike, no i haven't seen router workshop. is it a web-based program or a tv show?
 

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You'er Welcome mammy
Bosch 1619evs is a good router and I'm sure Mike will help on that one :)
He is the Bosch man and Other members have them also.

RWS,see it on your computer at
http://www.thewoodworkingchannel.com/

Bj :)



mammy said:
thx bobj3, i just found a bosch 1619evs that seems to have everything i'm looking for. it has 3 1/4HP yet microadjustment controls and supposedly you can change bits w/o removing from the table so there's no need for a lift. why would anyone but a PC 7518 and spend $300 on a lift? anyone with experience with this router?

also, mike, no i haven't seen router workshop. is it a web-based program or a tv show?
 
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