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After using a power feeder on an industrial shaper and one on my personal router table I can safely say I wouldn’t use a shaper or router-mounted table without a feeder.
It’s not often one power tool makes another power tool work better. But when a power feeder is combined with a table saw, shaper or router table that is exactly what happens.
What’s so special with a power feeder? Well consider these benefits:
- Improved Safety – feeding wood against a large shaper or router bit is dangerous. A power feeder eliminates the need to have your fingers near the bit.
- Better Quality – pushing long sticks of wood through a shaper or router can create stop/start and chatter marks in the wood. With a power feeder this is eliminated.
- Reduced Fatigue – for large kitchen or trim projects it’s both tiring and hard on the shoulders to feed stock continuously. The power feeder doesn’t care, and can run hours while you simply feed stock in one side and catch out the other.
Best Power Feeder for Shapers, Table Saws and Router Tables
- Roller chain and sprockets provide positive feeding for a variety of work
- Support column is fully adjustable for horizontal, vertical or angled feeder position
- Feeder body, column base and joints are cast iron for heavy duty operation
- Rollers can be changed out easily and quickly
- 1 horsepower, four large wheels, optionally available in 3 phase power, roller chain drive for durability
Note: at 158 pounds this feeder is best for shapers and table saws.
- Motor: 1/8 HP, 120V, single-phase, 1.2A
- Variable speed range: 6-1/2 – 39 FPM
- Rollers: 3, synthetic rubber, 1-3/16″ W x 3″ Dia.
- Rotation: forward and reverse
- Maximum height of rollers: 6″
At only 27 pounds (shipping weight) this baby power feeder is perfect for router tables.
Power Feeder Buyers Guide
What size feeder do I need?
I look at these feeders in three categories:
- Industrial use with 3-phase motors and continuous duty rating for running 8-10 hours a day.
- Serious hobbyist or small cabinet shop where 3-4 hour sessions are common during the week (table saws and shapers).
- Router table grade for the “baby feeders”.
Chances are you’re looking at a “baby feeder” and the Shop Fox W1764 is a great option.
Three rollers or four?
Unless you are doing high volumes of long stock a 3 roller configuration will work fine. And the extra weight of a four roller configuration must be considered.
Frequently Asked Questions for Power Feeders
Can I install a power feeder on a router table?
Yes there are many “mini” power feeders made specifically for router tables. These feeders perform well for router tables with smaller wheels and retain key features like forward/reverse.
What is a power feeder?
A power feeder for shapers and router tables automates the task of pushing the wood against the fence and pushing the material forward at a steady pace. This improves overall quality as starts/stops aren’t made in longer material that can cause uneven marks in the wood.
What is the best power feeder for a shaper?
The answer depends on your use. For industrial duty the Powermatic brand is built for durability and all day use with options for 3-phase power. For hobby use a smaller motor with fewer rollers will do the job for most.
While it’s easy to put off an investment in a power feeder it’s one investment I have never regretted. When a tool can improve safety, quality and reduce strain it just makes woodworking more enjoyable.