Furniture with Shapeoko

I almost convinced myself to buy the Shapeoko Pro.
To be honest I also have the Shaper Origin in mind.

The thing is, I want to make furniture. But its like most people use to shapeoko to make signs.
Have anyone created furniture with dovetails etc. or something else, not signs, and can recommend it?


I’ve done dovetails:

and box joints:

but those specific joints require a fixture to hold the board vertically at the front of the machine:

and the Pro doesn’t have as much overhang.

I’ve been working on a couple of joinery techniques which can be cut w/ the boards flat on the machine:

with an eye towards doing larger furniture — if you have a specific project in mind, I’d be delighted to collaborate on working up files for you to cut.

Also, be sure to see:

which has some entries which I believe will assuage your concerns.


I made this a few years ago…


And this is a work in progress, mortise and tenons cut with my Shapeoko…

Dovetails can be done on a Shapeoko but I prefer my Incra router table setup for those and finger joints.


I’ve used it to make templates for some dining benches I made recently…


Let’s not forget @RichCournoyer’s desk, my mind is still blown after all this time.


Wow! That is an incredible project.

I have done traditional woodworking for 45 years. I added the Shapeoko 2+ years ago to supplement my traditional woodworking. You can certainly make furniture joints on a Shapeoko but there are easier ways to make dovetail and finger joints. You said you wanted to make furniture but did not say what kind. The Shapeoko is great but making mortise and tenon joints and other types of large part joints would not be its strong point. That is not to say it cannot be done but again more traditional methods would be easier.

I have looked at the Shaper Origin but I feel it is a tool looking for a job. Maybe I just dont understand it but it seems again like more traditional methods of a router table might be more practical.

The bottom line is the Shapeoko does many things well and some things less well. In the sweet spot of carving and shaping smaller scale boxes and so it is unbeatable. Now any tool can be made to do jobs it was not designed for and maybe well but sometimes just good old fashioned traditional ways are better and more efficient.

Dont get hung up on an idea that digitizing your work will make it better. Even in the information technology age you still need to know the fundamentals of woodworking to be successful with a Shapeoko or the Shaper Orgin. Cutting and assembling the project is only 10 percent of the overall work. There is the initial planning, buying the material, laying out the material, cutting the material, assembling the material, sanding the material and 90 percent is finishing. As you see from my statement the part of actually cutting the joints for a project is only a small part of an overall project. So if you are an experienced woodworker then the addition of the CNC type machines will add to your skill but it is not a substitute for skill.


@dennissbh Dennis, I make furniture professionally. I’ve just begun using a CNC with my work (less than 2 years). When I first made the investment, I thought it would be an interesting thing to play with, plus I could justify the cost doing carvings and laser burning (logos, etc.). However, it has become much more than that.

You know how, when you imagine how you’ll solve a construction problem, you run through your tools and pick the one that will work the best? Well, the CNC has become part of that process in a big way. I find that I use the CNC when precision-matching or perfectly spaced pieces is critical for the design. Even when I could do them with templates or jigs, being able to lay it out on the computer and then just make it happen is a big benefit.

I’ve done dados, lids, oversized precision holes, holes that exceed the size of my bits, interlocking joinery, break down connectors, and a whole bunch of other things. To make this table:

I used the CNC to cut an internal yolk that I used to attach the staves (25 evenly spaced facets, each pitched at a 10 degree angle - surrounding four 1/2" holes for supports and a center column channel)…I’m not sure how I would have created that piece without the CNC, but it was EASY with it. I then used the CNC to carve matching pockets into a top plate to receive the top of the staves, all angled at the correct angle to get the turn of the column (you can’t see it as it’s under the top), and the dado into the base. Both the top plate and base had matching 1/2" holes for the internal supports and a pocket to receive the center post. In the past, that would have been a lot of trial and error in creating jigs…with the CNC it’s SO much easier.

For many folks, the CNC is a tool that does something relatively specific…for me, it’s just another tool in the shop to make precise, consistent, parts. It’s an OPTION when you’re making your construction decisions.

  • Gary

Thank you so much everyone for your inputs, and taking your time to write your thoughts on this. It was very helpful!!
I am more certain now that I will go with the shapeoko.
Cant wait to get started!