Shaper vs. Router
If I want to mill my own picture frame moulding, do I need
a shaper as well as a router? I'm not sure how to cut the decorative
edge of the frame.
depends on whether you are making frames commercially or just making
an occasional cut and how wide a profile you want to cut. Mouldings
used in picture frames can be exceptionally wide with large detailed
profiles—a shaper would be the preferred tool. However, a portable
router mounted into an accessory table could produce results similar
to a shaper. These tables are sold separately although some benchtop
table saws have a spot built into one of the extensions to
accept a router. It is important that you use a plunge router as
this makes it easier to adjust your depth-of-cut. Also make sure
the router comes with a router height adjustment knob or it is available
as an accessory. You'll find this a lot easier to use.
Personally I have this type of setup in my shop; however, I use
a router that's rated at 3 1/2 HP and 15 amps and has a 1/2"
shank. This size router gives the feel of a shaper and allows such
bits as edge forming, which includes raised panel and stile &
rail, which includes Ogee cutters. These bits can have
a diameter up to 3 1/2". You need the HP behind the router
to use such large bits.
To get an idea of what these bits look like
and others, look in a tool manufacturer's catalog (Bosch or Porter
Cable). A section under "routers" will display the kinds
of bits available. This type of operation allows the material to
lay flat on the surface while the cutting is done from the underside.
If your work is stationary (well clamped), there is no reason why
you can't use a portable router. In this case you will work and
cut from the top surface of the material. The most commonly used
router is the 1 1/2 HP, which can handle most projects. If you don't
have a router and are considering one, first define your needs,
what type of wood you work with, and the type of bit you are going
to use. Once you have that information, contact the manufacturer
for a recommendation on the best router for you.
Since routers come
in different weights and styles, visit a dealer that specializes
in tools and check them out personally. You need to pick them up
to get a good feel—especially to see if you like the two-knob handle
vs. the D-handle. Most manufacturers can be contacted through the
web via eMail.
1999 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.
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