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  1. #1

    Jointer or shaper

    I do not have a jointer or a shaper. If floor space is a premium as well as money, will I get more work from a shaper? I saw part of a wood working show a while back and the guy used a shaper and basically used it as a jointer. So got to wondering and my non woodworking friends wouldn't be any help so thought I would ask here your opinions and why. Thanks in advance. And feel free to ask me to clarify if my question isn't making much sense.

  2. #2

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    Both are nice to own. Depends alot on the width of the workpiece as well. A jointer that will plane a width that can be handled on the typical 12" planer would cost a fortune. Still, its not often you would want to joint that wide a section of wood as the tendency to warp would be high for a panel of that width. Both machines can be used to do the other's work...with enough "work-arounds". Also, if you are wanting to join two or more sections of lumber wider than the maximum width your planer will handle a jointer starts looking like the ultimate machine.

    For simple ease of use, set-up and cost of blades...go with the jointer. As far as flattening large panels...a drill press and a planer head will get the job done, or a router on a sled.

    How about a bit more "depth" as far as to what you are planning to use either machine for. It might push the balance over to the other machine if we knew more.

  3. #3
    Administrator Cebby's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    What other equipment do you have so far?

    IMO, shapers really shine for raised panel doors and can be pressed into routing duties with the right collet. Jointing on a shaper takes alot of setup and technique to do well. Another consideration is cost - in my case, my shaper cost over 4 times what my jointer cost me.

    Jointers do a great job on turning out suitable board edges for gluing up large panels (and making rabbets). With profile knives, you can make moldings with it too.

    A well equipped shop will eventually have both, but if you are not planning to make rasied panel doors right now, the shaper is overkill. Making edge profiles can just as easily be done with a router (or with a router table).

  4. #4

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    Thanks for straightening me out. Don't know why my mind read planer when it clearly stated shaper in the original post. I would have to agree with you on a shaper being overkill for a fellow just starting out. More bang for the buck with a jointer and router.

    With a good router table set-up and a large router, "most" of the work of a shaper can be done with a substantial savings on the cutter pricing from what you would have to shell out for the shaper cutters. I get by with a Porter Cable 7539 in the router table w/ Router-RaiZer, Bosch laminate trimmer set for small work and the Bosch 1617 combo set for handheld an old Craftsman for really nasty jobs like profiling Trex decking. One of these days I would like to buy a nice full featured shaper...maybe next kitchen remodel.

  5. #5

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    I have a planer, router, drill press, table saw, and sliding compound miter saw on portable table with extensions. Built a two story addition on my home (24X24) and am in the process of finishing the inside. Also am building my kitchen cabinets and finishing that room. From the sounds of it, I can get more for my money by buying a jointer and a quality router table and better router than my 12 year old craftsman (which is very functional but may be underpowered). Would like to create some moldings and then when these projects are completed a cherry buffet along the North wall of my dining room complete with sink and running water. With this information, am I on the correct track or do you have other ideas? Appreciate the comments, they have created thought.

  6. #6

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    Cherry! Forget about HSS cutters and stick with carbide. Nothing but the best for either cherry or walnut or you'll wish you hadn't skimped. Even with carbide, the cheap Asian sourced cutters aren't going to last long with these two hard brittle woods.

    Craftsman made a functional router 12 years back, but very basic in its functionality. Height locking mechanism is rudimentary for the Stone Age, but works. You would be better served with a variable speed unit, with soft-start if possible, to maximize the effective speed range for each cutter bit.

    Everyone has a brand preference...I have two...Porter-Cable or Bosch. Are they better than other brands...nope, but I like them more. Check out the router selection at Home Depot or other good supply store and find a model you like that fits your needs. There are a wealth of brands, types and styles and one should fit you better than the rest. You will be amazed at just how much routers have improved over the years. BTW, Sears sells a rebadged version of my Bosch combo router set as a Craftsman now. Don't have any idea if they cheapened its internals or not.

  7. #7

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    Thanks Wyoming, your comments are taken to heart and my next visit to the "box" store will start some comparison shopping on the routers and visit the cost of the router tables and a jointer.
    Also since I have to set the depth on my router and lock it into place it isn't a "plunge" router even though I can ease/plunge it into the center of a board. Are all new routers plunge routers? I assume there is a large difference between that and my old one?
    Last edited by JWS; 06-07-2006 at 12:41 AM.

  8. #8

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    To put it mildly, you wouldn't believe the difference 12 years has made in routers. They are much more user adaptable and job specific these days.

    In answer to your question about plunge routers...they are not the norm. A fixed base router is your basic run-of-the-mill router just like your old Craftsman. Still, most manufacturers make router combos that will adapt a fixed base router into a D-handle router or a plunge router. This isn't a halfway scenario you might envision. Once the conversion is made from one base to the next you would not be able to discern any difference between the conversion and the off-the-shelf variety since they both are using the same parts. I went with a Bosch combo, but I see that Porter-Cable and Makita both make nice versions as well. There are others out there, so take a long careful look to see what is available and consider your usage habits, cost and brand loyalty before plunking down your money. Combos generally run only $20-$30 more than a single based router, so you are getting a bargain with a combo set-up.

    If you have the time, I'd say that building a router table would be far more cost effective than purchasing one outright. Cheaper and much better suited to your specific needs. I believe I bought aluminum extrusion for the miter gauge and fence for mine from Rockler Hardware. You can go overboard easily on this type of deal. Most of the time a router mounted underneath a sheet of plywood and a clamped on fence will do the job. Another great method would be a table saw mounted router table so that you could easily use the saw's fence...probably still need the extrusion for the miter though.

    I purchased the Router RaiZer for my table. Works very well, but the instructions were on the simplistic side for my Porter-Cable router. Took me several extra hours to figure out just how to re-install the plunge mechanism so that it would work in reverse for under the table. The instructions insisted that the conversion could be made, but left out any pertinent drawings, photos or description. They were right, but it wasn't intuitive by any means.

    Lastly, see that you purchase a router that comes with a 1/2" collet. You can convert over to 1/4" if need be, but its hard going the other way. Also, I now prefer the soft start model of any manufacturers router...too many near harikari experiences.

  9. #9

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    Wyoming, thought I would check back in and let you know what has been going on. My dad gave me a really nice jointer on a stand and a router table! So, tonight I was in Lowe's and bought a FireStorm router. It is really a Black and Decker, soft start, plunge with edge guide, place to connect dust hose (vacuum) and 1/2 & 1/4 collet. Anyway, it was on sale for $79.99.
    I am going to fire it up tomorrow. Well, did I do okay?

  10. #10

    Re: Jointer or shaper

    I'm not familiar with the FireStorm router. As routers are now so user specific, you'll have to be your own best judge as to whether you purchased the right one. That said, congratulations on your first router!!!

    If you are the eBay type, I have been able to purchase a large supply of router bits...I try to stay with the major manufacturers like DeWalt, Makita and Bosch...over time from eBay at substantial savings. Doesn't work real well if you are looking for specific bit profiles, but otherwise it is far cheaper than catalogs or stores.

    Next time I hear back from you about routers, lets see some pictures.

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