In one of the earlier episodes of 360 W/ 360 Woodworking, we pitted shapers against router tables (episode #20, if you want to listen again or catch up). At the time I mentioned that I used my shaper when doing millwork, but not so much when building furniture. In fact, in the photo accompanying that podcast, we show my shaper, sitting in all its glory, in the shop. It had been a while since I last did any millwork.
Guess what? This past weekend, I was back in the millwork mode. I needed to create 10 panels for a wall of wainscot. (I have another wall to build and a series of bookcases and shelves, all with raised panels included.) After milling the stock to size, I setup my router table and made a pass. As I did, I watched the 3-1/2″-diameter chunk of metal spin at a dialed-down 15,000 RPM. I didn’t feel comfortable, and the cut was not great. I couldn’t see myself running 30 to 40 passes at the router table (three or four passes per panel).
It was time to bring the shaper back to life. I pulled the machine out of semi-storage, cleaned and smoothed the surface and applied a new coat of DynaGlide. After a quick trip to the hardware store for an electrical plug, I was ready to work.
My 10 panels were run in a matter of minutes with crisp edges and smooth surfaces. Not one time was I concerned about my shaper giving up the cutter. It’s nice to rely on old friends.