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Thread: How much hp does a shaper need?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2014
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    Houston, TX
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    How much hp does a shaper need?

    I ordered a jet 35x shaper at home DEPOT then cancelled the order when I realized they make a 3hp and a 5hp model. About 100 dollar difference in price. Both look to be the same machine other than horsepower. I don't know anything about shapers, they're new to me.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2014
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    All I know is I have lots of 20 amp circuits but not many 30 amp circuits so I would have to plug it in if I wanted to use the 5hp version.

  3. #3
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    Travis you need to slow down and figure out what you intend to do with a shaper before you buy one. Sometimes that is hard to figure out. Hobby or doing work for a living ? How big is the tooling you want/need to run ? Do you have the ability to run three phase machines ? I would suggest looking used here as well. Shapers are easier to find used than most other machines. A power feed is pretty much the second half of the machine, they really make a shaper safer by feeding in a controlled and constant speed, all while keeping your hands away from the cutterhead. I think a three horse shaper would be a decent start point for hobby use . I have a real good one for sale right now, too bad you are not in Alberta.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Conner View Post
    I ordered a jet 35x shaper at home DEPOT then cancelled the order when I realized they make a 3hp and a 5hp model. About 100 dollar difference in price. Both look to be the same machine other than horsepower. I don't know anything about shapers, they're new to me.
    Its not so much about hp, but the overall construction in the quill. Heavy is better, hp is secondary.

    As an aside I picked up 2 industrial shapers (one with feeder) for less than the 3hp jet from home depot. Used shapers are cheap.

  5. #5
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    May 2018
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    Lancaster, Ohio
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    Never used or looked at that particular machine. I always have been happier with the bigger motor every time. Firmly believe more power keeps the to me up making the work to smoother, better and safer. Have used underpowered equipment to often due to all I could afford at the time. Would also take a hard look at Grizzly line. Have had mixed results with Jet, very happy with Grizzly. Yes there are great prices on used shapers if you're willing to go that way.

    Good luck
    Ron

  6. #6
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    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    I've never even slightly slowed the motor on my 3HP Delta shaper, but I also don't run any huge cutters (the thing terrified me as it is) For cope and stick door sets and raised panel doors it just buzzes through the wood without breathing hard.

    I strongly second the recommendation for a power feeder; getting one improved my results and comfort factor dramatically vs hand feeding.

    Note also that the cost of tooling will quickly eclipse the cost of the machine. The Amana insert cutter is great for providing a lot of flexibility at a reasonable price along with the fairly easy capability to make custom cutters for short runs.

    Look for a used machine, you can often get a box with a couple thousand bucks worth of cutters thrown in with a $5-600 shaper. I did!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Camas, Wa
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    I'm not a shaper expert but to me the fence is more important to me than 3hp vs 5hp. I'm not a heavy user though. I had the Grizzly G1026 and got rid of it due to the fence. I ended up with a 5hp Laguna Pro shaper due to the fence. The 5hp is just a bonus.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Falk View Post
    I'm not a shaper expert but to me the fence is more important to me than 3hp vs 5hp. I'm not a heavy user though. I had the Grizzly G1026 and got rid of it due to the fence. I ended up with a 5hp Laguna Pro shaper due to the fence. The 5hp is just a bonus.
    Shapers live or die by the fence.

    A good fence is a joy to use, a bad one is constantly aggravating.

    As others have said, quill size, speed range, table opening, tilting spindle, sliding table, so many variables.

    A feeder is also incredibly useful with regards to safety, work quality and cutter lifespan...........Regards, Rod.

  9. #9
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    May 2018
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    Lancaster, Ohio
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    "Shapers live or die by the fence."

    Couple mentions of this already. What constitutes a good or bad fence?

    Have a shaper in the shop and rarely use it mainly due to fence issues.
    Keep thinking I need to build/modify fence to something I could be happy with, just not certain what to do.
    Have a new power feeder in the box for it, just don't use the shaper.
    Thanks
    Ron

  10. #10
    The fences are important, never seen a good one that came with the machine. All of them were toed in a little ,that
    makes it harder,or impossible ,to get a good cut. Seen guys waste a lot of time shimming and such. I guess mfgs. dont
    age the castings before machining them. I prefer shop made wood fences.
    Last edited by Mel Fulks; 10-26-2020 at 2:25 PM. Reason: typoo

  11. #11
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    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    Folks often set the fence flat then run it over the jointer face down to get it all parallel. Dust collection is a must. There is not much to wear on a used jointer except bearings. Bearings are easy to replace on a jointer. I would defenately look at used before buying new. Should be able to get a good used one for 40% of new without much effort. Know the price of a feeder and see about getting a used package deal.
    Bil lD

  12. #12
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    Dec 2006
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    Toronto Ontario
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    I like the following in a fence

    1) coplanar and flat

    2) integral safety fingers, as simple as aluminum finger kits or if really flush with cash an Aigner fence. A single piece wood fence can also be made.

    3) easily adjustable for fence offset when removing the entire edge.

    4) good dust collection

    5) I like having a 2 piece Shaw guard for hand fed operations.

    Safety finger in use.jpgEuro Shaper Guard.jpg

    regards, Rod.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Lancaster, Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sheridan View Post
    I like the following in a fence

    1) coplanar and flat

    2) integral safety fingers, as simple as aluminum finger kits or if really flush with cash an Aigner fence. A single piece wood fence can also be made.

    3) easily adjustable for fence offset when removing the entire edge.

    4) good dust collection

    5) I like having a 2 piece Shaw guard for hand fed operations.

    Safety finger in use.jpgEuro Shaper Guard.jpg

    regards, Rod.
    Thanks Rod

  14. #14
    HP will come into play if you ever invest in larger tooling. 3 HP is going to show it's limitations when it's spinning a 6"cutter.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Rochester, Minn
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    156
    Shapers sort of come in 4 sizes: 1/2" cutters (1/2" spindle), 3/4" cutters, 1 1/4" inch cutters, and 1 1/4 + run a lot through it. The last are the industrial types. The 30mm Euro spindles are similar to 1 1/4. Many home hobby types have done a lot with 1/2" versions like this (http://vintagemachinery.org/registry...l.aspx?id=4319). Router tables have largely replaced those, but don't knock how much quieter a regular motor can be. The classic Delta HD (http://vintagemachinery.org/registry...l.aspx?id=3877) was common in schools and smaller cabinet shops; you can still find a lot of used ones. The OWWM crowd would call that about as "light" as you want for a 3/4 cutter, and not heavy enough for the bigger 3/4 cutters; the Powermatic 26 is of the same class but a bit beefier. I had a Delta HD for several years and made many pieces of frame and panel furniture before purchasing a used Felder saw/shaper; it served me well. (Not enough floorium to keep both the new slider and the old shaper). Your Jet will be an HD class machine. Extra HP doesn't mean a lot of the bearings aren't up the pounding that that big HP/ cutter size can give. A 2 HP standard motor is in another class than a 2 HP router.

    The spindles on my Felder KF700 need 2 hands for me to pick up, and those are "light" in the world of production shapers. The 1 1/4 bore cutters can quickly add up to more than the machine, too. For a medium/large shaper the standard wisdom is that without a powerfeed it is the most dangerous machine in the shop, and with a powerfeed one of the least.

    In production workshops a given shaper might have only one role, day after day, and it was common to build a wooden fence specific for that role. I remember a visit to an older cabinet shop: he had 8-10 Delta HD each setup up with a particular cutter, most on a mobile base. Never had to monkey with setup when he needed a particular profile: just wheel the right one out of the corner and go.

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