Shaper vs Router
I recently purchased a 3HP router (Milwaukee) to make raised panels for new interior doors that I am making. These doors are 1 3/8" thick, as are the panels, and made of Red Oak. The panel cutting bit is 3 1/2" in diameter so it is quite the beast.
This is the first time I have made panels this thick so I thought the new router would buzz right through them but I am finding that I can only take a very small bite on each pass (about 1/16") and even then with a lot of burning. With 4 edges on each of two sides and six panels per door this amounts to 48 passes for each 1/16 of an inch of thickness per door (and I have 5 more doors to make) making this job much more difficult than first imagined. Each panel requires about 5 or 6 passes to complete. When I try to take a deeper cut the router stops altogether as though it is overheated but it is only slightly warm to the touch. I am feeding the wood quite slowly (about 1/2" per second on the cross grain and probably twice that fast on the long grain with the router set a the lowest speed-level 1). I am getting unacceptably rough edges with a lot of tear out where the panel meets the fence.
Do I have a defective router, am I trying to hog off too much material in each pass or should a 3HP router easily handle this work in one or two passes?
I am considering returning the router and replacing it with a shaper but have no experience with them. Will a shaper profile the entire panel (one side) in a single pass or will I have to incrementally process it like the router. I am considering a shaper with an auto-feeder but this represents quite an investment.