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Thread: Open the can of worms Jointers Shaper, and Planers oh my

  1. #1
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    Open the can of worms Jointers Shaper, and Planers oh my

    Okay, I've spent a good two weeks of SMC research on the past few years of discussion, but I still would like to get some more opinions. I'm putting together a woodshop in my 3/4 of a 2.5 car garage. I spent about 3 months (part time) getting permit and approval for a 100A subpanel and LOTS of outlets / lighting consisting of 5 sep circuits. I've got a TS and am taking the plunge for DC.

    I've been looking at used 8" jointers as well as debating a shaper purchase. Since I already have a full compliment of hand tools (plunge router) can I get by with just a shaper purchase? Vice building/buying a router table. I read in one of the 2005 posts that with a good shaper I can do some jointing? How is this possible (I can't visualize it)?

    Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later), I will have it all but I'd rather get some more quality pieces and wait then to get some mediocre products and have to upgrade in 2 years.

    With that. . . ... the floodgates are open!

  2. #2
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    Hmmm. . . I'll dip my toe in the water. Of course anything I say has to do with the things I build. If you build different things, my words may not count for much. I am a hobbyist and have not needed a shaper. I do have a Mil 5625 in a router table. I would not want to do a production run or 44 raised panels in one sitting on my router table. I would be fine with a production run of a half a dozen or so.

    Heed the advice of almost everyone and buy an 8" jointer, minimum. Just take a look at all the 6" ones for sale out there and you'll get the idea. This is pretty well covered in your statement "have to upgrade in 2 years." You can apply that statement to your DC as well. I will have to upgrade because I didn't go with an appropriate size right off. Now I'll have to sell the old one at a loss and buy the right one anyway.

    Jointing on a shaper is done just like jointing on a router table. This is edge jointing which I do mostly on my tablesaw. One half of the fence is set pound by the amount to be "jointed" off. See here: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...9&filter=joint for the store bought version for the router table. Shaper fences (and some router fences) are separately adjustable and eliminate the need for the shims.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  3. #3
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    Smile

    Thanks for the good info. My small hobby projects have had me using expensive straight and planed lumber. Want to start 'working' rough sawn sooner. So sounds like good 8 inch jointer should be next purchase. Is the idea then to joint the face (if it fits else hand plane) then run it through the thickness planer? Yeah could def edge joint on TS. Have to forgive me I'm a rookie

  4. #4
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    Josh, first, welcome to SMC.

    The shaper versus router table is an old debate here. I have always had a router table as when I started with my father, the "router table as shaper" concept hadn't started.

    As in many things, faster and better costs more. Shapers are faster and IMHO leave a better finish (with a feeder) than router tables. I have a router mounted in table, but no fancy lift or micro fence, etc.

    Shaper cutters cost more than router bits, and shapers are more expensive. I used a 3HP shaper for almost 20 years before I got a feeder. Now I can't imagine not having a feeder as the cut quality with the feeder is so even and consistent.

    In Phoenix here, there has been a 3HP Powermatic model 27 with a Powermatic 1HP feeder on Craig's list for $1200. Unless money isn't a concern, I'd say buy used, and buy better. I see so many only really look at new. For example, with the Powermatic model 27, it was the last US built PM shaper, only replaced in the last year or so with a PM2700. The model 27 was like $2700, and the feeder was another $1000. $1200 IMHO was a steel.

    My vote, shaper...joe

  5. #5
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    Josh, on the topic of jointing, you can certainly edge joint in a wide variety of ways including on a shaper or router table with a split fence...but you can't flatten a board that way. Jointers are not just for edges. And if the board isn't flat, that edge isn't going to be perpendicular to the face, either. Now a great many people are comfortable with just doing the edges, especially when they buy surfaced lumber, but it's very, very rare for a board to be flat from the store.

    On the shaper, they are very nice machines. What you need to ask yourself is if you need the power and cut size that shapers give you versus the great increase in the cutter cost. While you can use a special arbor in many to run router bits, the low relative speed of a shaper may not be ideal for the smaller cutters. For most woodworkers who are not doing production work, a router table (shop built) with a good 15 amp machine and a versatile fence setup may be the better investment and more suited to the type of work that will be done. I'm not discouraging you from the idea of a shaper; just suggesting that you consider what your usage will likely be while you are making the decision. To-date, I have not found a need for a big shaper, despite having "big iron" for the big three...sawing, jointing and planing.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    In a production setting, a shaper is certainly more useful than a router table, but for a small shop it wouldn't be one of the first machines I'd buy. Table saw, jointer and planer, plus your existing tools, and you're off and running. If you find somewhere down the road that you need a shaper, get one. I didn't buy one for at least a year or two after I opened up.

    I agree that wider is better for a jointer, but if push came to shove I'd get a 6" machine rather than no machine -- you can still face plane and flatten 12" stock with one and for edge jointing width doesn't matter. I had a 12" Northfield, but I apprenticed in a shop with a lightweight 6" Rockwell, and we got the job done.

    Of course, the short bed length of narrow jointers doesn't help, but who said life's a bowl of cherries ?

  7. #7
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    Wink doing your homework...

    Hello Josh,
    As you refer to yourself as a rookie hoping to start dressing rough stock,
    my call is hands down jointer before shaper.
    Core tools are tablesaw, jointer, planer and bandsaw.

    I believe after you get some more experience in the woodshop, this would
    become glaringly obvious...and in hindsight you might wonder how you ever did not see it 'back then'.

    Glenn is spot on about the 8" jointer. Trust him, as he says, he knows first hand.
    Consider it this way, what are you gonna build that does not require
    straight and flat boards? And you cannot buy them that way!

    Most hardwood I purchase is wider than a 6inch jointer.
    I love my 8", but could now see larger as useful now that I have lived with it. Perspective changes everything!

    Ya, maybe you can joint edges several other ways, but never as
    readily and convincingly as with an actual jointer, IMHO. (quick, and not fiddly)
    Not to mention.....face jointing!
    Let's see a table saw sled or router table accomplish that...
    Good luck with you research,
    Walt

    ps have you spent time on a shaper? Of all the machines I have used, I will say that shapers kinda scare me!
    Last edited by Walt Caza; 06-10-2008 at 9:15 AM. Reason: added postscript
    There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going! WCC

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind - Dr. Seuss

    Crohn's takes guts. WCC

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Mountain View Post
    Okay, I've spent a good two weeks of SMC research on the past few years of discussion, but I still would like to get some more opinions. I'm putting together a woodshop in my 3/4 of a 2.5 car garage. I spent about 3 months (part time) getting permit and approval for a 100A subpanel and LOTS of outlets / lighting consisting of 5 sep circuits. I've got a TS and am taking the plunge for DC.

    I've been looking at used 8" jointers as well as debating a shaper purchase. Since I already have a full compliment of hand tools (plunge router) can I get by with just a shaper purchase? Vice building/buying a router table. I read in one of the 2005 posts that with a good shaper I can do some jointing? How is this possible (I can't visualize it)?

    Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later), I will have it all but I'd rather get some more quality pieces and wait then to get some mediocre products and have to upgrade in 2 years.

    With that. . . ... the floodgates are open!
    First question: Why five lighting circuits ? Thats an enormous amount of extra wiring if you put them all on two way switches!

    I would recommend getting the shaper first...before you invest the funds in router bits ,jointer,jointer blades etc.
    I have a jointer,a shaper,routers,TS etc etc.
    Rarely do i need to use the jointer after the table saw for flat joints.
    Even MORE RARE is a joint that is flat. If I'm doing a glue up.....its a glue joint,a tongue and groove joint,a cabinet joint etc. You just cant do them on a jointer and jointing on a shaper is typically better than doing on a router table ...not unlike the differance between a table saw and a mounted portable circular saw. You can accomplish what you want on either....but oh how I wish I had spent the money on shaper bits rather than many of the routers and router bits I have invested in.
    There will never be a shortage of folks telling you why you can't or shouldn't do something...even though much has been accomplished that hasn't been done before !

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hardy View Post
    I have a jointer,a shaper,routers,TS etc etc.
    Rarely do i need to use the jointer after the table saw for flat joints.
    But don't you need it before the table saw? How otherwise do you get that first straight edge? Let alone a flat face before dimensioning through the planer.....

    If you want to do the extra work I'm not going to argue against a structured joint for glue-ups -- there is more glue surface, after all -- but for panels with exposed ends such as table tops you have to be willing to live with that look (at the ends). I came to use biscuits if I wanted some insurance although I hadn't ever had a call back about glue joint failures with all the unreinforced flat joints I'd made.

    I agree the proposed wiring plan might be overkill, especially for a one- or two-man shop.
    Last edited by Frank Drew; 06-10-2008 at 10:12 AM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the good replied.

    No not 5 lighting circuits; 5 circuits . . . . And lighting. One 15amp for all the flourescents (and sprinkler control). Then 1 30amp 240, 1 20 amp 240, 2 sep 20a 120s gfci. 240s are in triplicate (inc ceiling) and ea 120 is times 5 receptacles.

    Lots of work, but all the good historicals on smc allowed me to attempt to get it right.

    Yeah, face jointing is gonna be req for rough sawn, it seems. I do think there's utility in getting a good used shaper vice building a router table. Have to see how to stretch the budget.

    Joe, I saw that powermatic on cl; sure seems like a winner. What do u make of the 3hp grizzly with feeder and bandsaw for 850?

    Also there is a 8" dj20 hardly used for 800 in San diego. Any thoughts on these?

    If I had to to one deal or the other at this time?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Mountain View Post
    Thanks for the good info. My small hobby projects have had me using expensive straight and planed lumber. Want to start 'working' rough sawn sooner. So sounds like good 8 inch jointer should be next purchase. Is the idea then to joint the face (if it fits else hand plane) then run it through the thickness planer? Yeah could def edge joint on TS. Have to forgive me I'm a rookie
    You can often use a thickness planer (not always) on pieces that are two wide for the jointer. I do.. As long as the wood is not so warped that it rocks.. But roughly 80-90% of the time, I just plane and then use the jointer on the edges..

    The thought of using a hand plane to face joint does not appeal to me at all.. I just don't have the time. But I realize that some people enjoy it..

  12. #12
    jointer, planer, and either a tablesaw or larger bandsaw (something that can take a 1" Trimaster). Shaper or router table is your choice. I'm trying to use the shaper more but I still like using my router table, especially for smaller profiles and curved work. Of course my router setup includes a PC3518, Bench Dog lift, and Bench Dog fence's so it's very stout. I would also include a jointer hand plane (aka Stanley #6 or #7). It's the best way of getting very clean edges prior to glue up (no ripples).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Mountain View Post
    Thanks for all the good replied.

    Joe, I saw that powermatic on cl; sure seems like a winner. What do u make of the 3hp grizzly with feeder and bandsaw for 850?

    Also there is a 8" dj20 hardly used for 800 in San diego. Any thoughts on these?

    If I had to to one deal or the other at this time?
    Josh, $850 sounds like a great deal, much better than spending $500-1000 on a router table setup.

    Having said that, I would get and 8" jointer, and a real planer before I'd buy a shaper or router table. In my opinion, flat straight stock is the key to quality work. Jointers are pretty simple machines, I think any 8" is good. If you have the money, I really like the Byrd head in my jointer and the one in my planer.

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