Stock Power-Feeder Horsepower

Feeders come in 1/4-horsepower, 1/2-horsepower, and 1-horsepower versions. What you need depends on what you're doing, but more horsepower is usually better. June 12, 2006

I just got a Delta 3HP shaper and Iím looking to buy a stock feeder. My question is, how much HP does the feeder need - will 1/4 HP feeder work or do I need a 1 HP?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor A:
I have the same shaper, well, three of them, and on two of them I have the Delta 1/4 HP feeders. I think they work more than fine for what I am doing. If you are going to be doing a lot of climb cutting I would suggest a 1 HP. If you are just using it to make panels and mill work the 1/4 HP should work good enough. You are limited to one speed at a time with the 1/4's - changing speeds requires a simple breakdown of the machine and swap out some gears. On the 1HP machines I think you have a choice of 2 speeds without swapping out gears.

From contributor B:
The 1/4 HP feeders are fine for running small parts like cabinet doors, but mouldings require more power. A 12' board has a lot of lever arm and will bog a little feeder down. A few companies sell the Comatic 1/2 HP and 1 HP. These are sold by Grizzly, Bridgewood, and Sunhill. I have a 1/2 HP and I have never needed anything more. The 5 HP and larger shapers go with the 1 HP because they can cut larger mouldings.

From contributor C:
I have used both the 1/4 HP Grizzly and a 1 HP Forest city (both 3 wheeled) on a 3 HP Minimax, and although the 1/4 HP did the job for me the 1 HP is now going to stay on the Minimax from now on. I was doing cabinet doors, entry doors, window sash - a variety of work. I might swap the 1 HP for a 4 wheeled unit sometime, but Iím in no hurry.

From contributor D:
I have both 5 and 3 HP shapers with 1 HP feeders on them. If you can afford it, there is no reason not to go with the larger one. Should you need the extra power one day, you will be glad you have it. Also, should you ever upgrade to a larger shaper, you will already have a power feed for it. On that note, when I started with only a 3 HP Delta shaper and a 3/4" spindle, I still purchased all of my shaper cutters with a 1-1/4" bore. Now they all work on my larger shapers.

From contributor E:
I have a 1/2 HP for my 3 HP Delta. It has worked fine for raised panels and passage doors. My only thought is that you should get one with more than one or two speeds.