Reviving Old Friendships


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.

— Glen D. Huey

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3 thoughts on “Reviving Old Friendships

  1. Hey ! The jointer gloves !!!
    I’d like to have a shaper but that bad boy would scare the crap out of me…..

    Please write about the shaper and your likes & dislikes; different applications, and what to look for when shopping for one, and so on when you have time.


    1. Eric,

      There’s no reason to fear a shaper. On a shaper you can have a larger table with which to work, the spindle is generally 1″ or 1-1/4″ and the cutter is bolted onto the spindle. With a router table, all cutters, including the one I use to raise panels, are held by the grasp of a collet around a 1/4″ or 1/2″ shank.

  2. Just went back & listened to episode 20 of 360 on 360 about shapers vs routers.
    Very interesting and informative…as usual.

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