Woodworking is one of the most creative and laborious jobs out there. To make things easier for these professionals on a daily basis, machines like wood shapers and router tables came into being.
While both of these devices are competent enough to be a part of your workplace, which one can really boost your business?
Here we are to answer just that! Let’s see which one truly has the upper hand in our comparison of wood shaper vs router table!
What is Wood Shaper?
A wood shaper enables you to mill pieces of wood stock using a vertical shaft or spindle drive. You can adjust the spindle’s height in order to fit the stock properly. This stationary machine used for woodworking is also called spindle molder in some countries like the United Kingdom.
Advantages of Wood Shaper
● Heavy-Duty Daily Jobs
Wood shapers are large devices that run on powerful induction motors and strong spindles. It is made to endure heavy-duty projects on a daily basis. So you can get a lot of work done every single day regardless of their sizes or intensity. The cutters of a shaper are usually large in diameter which ensures high durability.
● Impressive Adaptability
If at the end of our discussion, you still can’t decide on which machine to choose, a wood shaper equipped with router collet can bring you the best of both worlds! This kind of shapers can adapt themselves to work with large-diameter router bits in addition to the original shaper bits.
● Reverse Running
There are reversible shapers that allow you to reverse the cutter’s rotation as soon as you flip the switch! As a result, you can use it to perform some specialized cuts in the wood stock. However, this is a tricky function to pull off. So we don’t recommend the newbies to try it out without the guidance of an expert.
Disadvantages of Wood Shaper
● Slow Speed
While a wood shaper does guarantee heavy-duty work, its RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) count is not so impressive. Almost every wood shaper is able to work at only 7,000 to 10,000 RPM. Therefore, you may need to dial down the expectation of attaining high speed while working with wood shapers.
● Expensive Mid-range
The cost of wood shapers is a little higher than routers for the entry-level machines. However, the difference grows bigger as you climb to the mid-range wood shapers. From this point on, their price points seem to be quite expensive. So if you prefer maintaining a tight budget, wood shapers will not be an ideal pick.
What is Router Table?
A router table allows you to mount the spinning router on a table so that you can cut the wood stock in any angle you want. Go up, down or sideways to make the most creative cuts and shapes.
As a result, expert professionals and occasional hobbyists – both can rely on router tables to complete their ambitious projects.
Advantages Of Router Table
You can enjoy much more creative freedom while working with a router table. It is capable of cutting the wood from multiple angles, even the ones you thought to be impossible! Besides, this machine can be used to shape many other materials like Kevlar, fiberglass and even something much stronger like graphite!
● High RPM
Router tables can work at very high speeds. Being powered by electricity, it can rotate the spindle faster and thus produce an impressive measure of RPM. You can expect it to turn at 20,000 to 30,000 RPMs. So you can impress your clientele, as well as yourself, with the giant leap in your productivity!
The total cost of working with routers is usually well below a thousand bucks. From the machine to the router bits – you will find budget-friendly options for every component of a router table. As a result, maintaining this device and continuing to make it work will not prove to be too much of a financial burden.
Disadvantages of Router Table
● Light-duty Limitation
One limitation of the router table is that you cannot use it for heavy-duty jobs. It is not capable of shaping or cutting large pieces of wood stock. So if you were thinking of using router tables to make your next bookshelf or door panel, now you need to find a more powerful woodworking machine for the job.
Since the router tables tend to have very high RPM, they produce loud whining sound while in operation. Woodworking, in general, does not provide enough room for keeping things quiet anyway. Still, these particular machines can be very noisy compared to other alternatives.
Comparing Router Table Vs Wood Shaper
Wood shapers are meant for high-end heavy-duty jobs that involve large pieces of stock. You can use it to build pieces of furniture like chairs, tables and doors. For jobs at a smaller scale, go for router tables since they are great for some light-duty pieces like boxes, holders, cutting boards and window shutters.
Both the machines offer different degrees of versatility. You can use the reverse run feature of a wood shaper to change the turn midway and create unique cuts or shapes. Router table offers more room for creativity since you can mount the stock on it at any angle and use materials other than wood.
● Time And Precision
If you want to get more work done in the least possible time, router tables will be the better choice. It works at a higher RPM (10,000-30,000) than wood shapers (7,000-10,000). For precision, shapers work fine for larger pieces but routers do better with smaller ones.
Since wood shapers operate a lot more slowly, naturally they don’t produce much noise while working. In contrast, router tables generate a very loud whining sound during their operation. So if you are not used to working in a loud environment, wood shapers should win your vote against router tables.
Bottom Line – Which One is For You?
In the end, our vote in the popular race of wood shaper vs router table goes to the latter.
Router tables provide more precision, more versatility and higher speed to a woodworker. So if you can overcome the hurdle of noise, these machines should prove to be more useful for you than wood shapers.