Shapers Barrel vs Grit Drum

Anyone have experience with these and can enlighten me on the pros/cons of either type.  I already understand the issues of these versus blades and potential wear on the motor.  What I’m looking for is more info on the Shapers AU Shapers Barrel (available in spiral or slotted) versus the Grit Drum type that you see on ebay and sold by Fiberglass Florida.  Also, I’m not sure the source of the one available through Foamez.  The Shapers AU Barrel claims to be much quieter than blades and that is the primary reason I am looking into this.  I shape in my basement and I’d like to reduce the noise as much as possible from traveling through the house or bothering the neighbors at night.  I also think I would appreciate the benefits of a cleaner finish, not having to sharpen blades, and being able to use the forward and backward movements, cross cutting stringers, etc…  So any input on the quality of the two types versus each other or the volume differences would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

I can’t tell you about the Florida one but I own two Shapers Australia barrels (one Hitachi, one Skil) and as far as noise reduction is concerned they are great. The feeling through foam is great, too, Hang-ups: yes, they probably wear on the motors but the worst (for me, as I shape mostly longboards with multi or wide stringers) is that they don’t like stringers…


I have the Shapers Australia on a Skil, and a spiral from FG Hawaii and one of the ones from Fl via EBay both on Hitachi's.  Haven't had any bearing issues with any of the planers.  They cross cut stringers with ease and you never have any foam tearing on blanks that are a nightmare with blades.  For some reason on the one from Fl more foam escapes the Clark Vac system than on the others.  They all make a finer cutting so they may clog up the vac filters a bit quicker.  The only thing I think they might not do as good as blades is cut the stringer lengthwise.  The inserts for the existing rotor look pretty interesting.  I believe FoamEZ carries them. 



Dave, thanks so much for the input!  I PMed you a few more questions. 

grit drum:

was interested , turns out , too much $$

too much for a Harbor Freight kind of budget.


Oh yes… Actually, they are more expensive than a very good planer.

Off track a bit, but.

I have used the AU shapers Hitachi barrel for the past 5-6 years and think its great. I think its a must to put up graded bearings in you planer though.

My barrel is getting blunt now and is causing a few problems with flow and speed.

However, I will  soon be buying a hitachi planer with blades to run also for a few reasons.

The dust is so fine with a barrel that over time and a lot of boards shaped, this cant be a good thing health wise. Finer dust to get in and around your mask and into your lungs, also all blank gas released to breath too (Blades trap a lot of these gasses in the chunks/flakes they throw).

Also barrels are slower and I’m keen on the speed of the blades for the heavy/deep cuts and the liquid like flow they provide (like a hot knife through butter). When finished with the rough stuff then use the barrel for the fine work.

I’m sure a lot a guys work like this. I’m pretty sure legend shaper Tony Cerff does run 2 planers.

Something to think about maybe??!!

See ya’s