Delta Bench-Top Router/Shaper, SH100
This unit is discontinued, but it might be available used or even may still be in stock in some Lowe’s stores here and there.
I have been using hand routers for some time, but I did decide that an inverted table-type unit would be handy. There are plenty of table bases available out there, and they will handle any plunge-type router you might care to install. This Delta SH100 device is different, in that the motor is built in. Unpack the thing, do a bit of assembly work, and it is ready to go.
It does have some downside issues, however. First, a while back I contacted Delta to get a spare drive belt and was informed that it, like the unit itself, was no longer available. That kind of soured me on the whole thing until I thought things through and went to a vacuum cleaner repair shop and sized a belt that would work. It did take two tries, however, because the stock belt does not stretch and fits snugly, whereas a cleaner belt is designed to stretch and you have to get one that stretches fairly tight over the shaper’s spindle and motor shaft. If it does not, the high 12,500 rpm spindle speed will cause the belt to lift off and lose traction. With the right tension the cleaner belt works just fine, and now I am storing the stock belt as a backup.
The motor, as noted, is a fixed-speed unit and that might cause some problems with certain bit sizes. It is an 9-amp (single phase) 120-volt induction job, at least, and it has never bogged down even slightly during some of my projects. The vertical movement adjustment had been a bit stiff, but over time it seems to have loosened up a tad. Opening the lower chamber area up and doing some lubricating work did not hurt.
The range of vertical adjustment for the spindle is 2 3/8 inches and the collet size is ½ inch. (A ¼-inch adaptor was also supplied.) Two specialized wrenches were supplied to facilitate easy removal of bits. The unit also comes with two different sized fitted inserts and the insert opening is 3.75 inches. The cutouts in the inserts themselves might be a bit too small for some bit sizes, but it would be easy to make additional inserts out of wood. The cast-aluminum table is 22 inches wide, 26 inches long, and the shaper assembly sits 15.5 inches high and weighs 53 pounds.
The table itself seemed a little small to me and Delta did offer a wooden expansion section that fitted around the exterior. Even when available the expansion piece seemed a bit costly, so I built one of my own, and also modified the dust-collection fitting to accommodate the dust-blocking fence I installed on the back. The flange on the aluminum table edge allowed the ¾-inch wooden surround to be dropped into position nicely, and then all that was needed were some cleats screwed in underneath to keep it from lifting. It also came with a fully adjustable, split-guide fence, but I also built a solid-guide fence, as well as an outboard fence that can be locked down in place of the stock fence assembly to let you do dados and the like. As you can see in the photo, I also mounted the thing on a mobile stand that had once been a TV stand. A good grey paint job made the stand look more utilitarian.
This is not an upscale tool of its kind, but it works well enough and would be a good buy at a low price. I paid $230 for it new at Lowe’s a few years back and used versions should certainly be available for considerably less money. I wish the motor had variable speeds, but the existing fixed speed works well enough for most routing projects.