Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Powell River British Columbia, Canada
I would at least go and have a look at the shaper, to see what size and capacity it actually is. I am guessing that if it is a 1/2 horsepower motor it is probably using a 1/2 inch shaft. I would also think that it is probably a belt drive, in which case you could put a bigger motor in it quite easily. One of the things I have noticed over the years is that a 1/2 HP motor packs a lot more punch than a power hand tool that is rated at one half HP. I am guessing that it is due to the fact that 1/2 HP motor has a much larger armature, and therefore more mass spinning. An example of this is my six inch jointer. It only has a 1/2 HP motor on it, but it is one of those ancient motors that weigh a ton. My jointer has never bogged down, so it certainly is adequate. If the shaper is decent, and has a good sized table, $125 sounds pretty cheap to me. I would most certainly take a look.
With regard to the bits, the shaper bits have a shaft hole through the middle, and you install them onto the shaper shaft and secure them with a nut. I think 1/2 inch bore shaper bits are about the smallest available. Router bits of course have their own shaft, and you install the bit into the collet of the router and tighten the collet nut. If you do decide to purchase another router look for one with a collet capacity of 1/2 inch. This will allow you to swing a much larger bit than a 1/4 inch collet capacity would. Collet adapters to use 1/4 inch bits in a 1/2 inch collet are available. Going by the router bits and sets that I have purchased recently there isn't a great amount of price difference, but the 1/2 inch shank bits sure look more substantial. Last summer I picked up an old Craftsman 1/4 inch router, with a Craftsman router table for a measly $25 at a garage sale. They work great for smaller projects, so if your budget is tight that is another possibility. I did all the trim, door casings, baseboards, and crown molding for our hallway project on mine.
Sorry I got a little long winded here, but if you see a good deal, go check it out. You just never know.