opinion on craftsman router

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I've been reading some of the posts on routers and was a little confused. I've just started investing some money on tools and from all accounts, everyone hates craftsman routers. However, most people seem to start off with a craftsman router and then move on to a better model. Is craftsman router the thing a beginner should start with since its relatively inexpensive and later move on to a better model once you've become comfortable and more experienced with wood? or does everyone consider owning a craftsman router a huge mistake and not worth the money whatsoever?
thanks...
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Ah10201 wrote:

I'm not in the "all Crapsman is junk, and only idiots buy Crapsman" camp by any stretch, but my Crapsman router is just about the most useless machine I've ever bought.
The big two problems are: impossible to keep bit height consistent, due to the bad collet and the bad height setting mechanism; difficult to avoid gouges/digs because the entire motor shaft flexes from side to side a hell of a lot.
I can use it if I use it in a table, set the bit height by propping hunks of scrap under it until I get it as close as it's going to get, and then tread very, very lightly feeding the work into the bit, so as to avoid the flex problem. That will sometimes deliver a halfway decent cut with only a few problems. It's a far cry from router magic.
I have no idea what else to suggest, since this POS is my only router, but I sure wouldn't want to buy it again.
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If you want another one, make offer ;-)

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Ah10201 wrote:

That's because most people are growing up in/have grown up in a world where they have been deceived by Craftsman's history of quality, i.e., once upon a time... Well, those days are sadly long gone, by a quarter of a century to be semi-specific.

It's a false economy to buy something that won't last and will have to be replaced. The Craftsman router is the best example of this.
As for "moving on once you've become more experienced", I think this is the only reason to ever own a Craftsman router. Let me explain. Owning and getting rid of a Craftsman router is a rite of passage. The wooddorking highways are littered with the bodies of these routers. Smarter owners have heeded the advice (advise in wreckspeak) of the wise sage Steve Wallace (do a Google search) and converted their Craftsman router into something useful.

Let's put it this way, there was once someone here (name forgotten but I wish someone would go to the archives and unearth this wise man) who made the statement,
"When was the last time you took your (insert name of good machine/tool) and threw it against the wall and said, Wish I'd a bought a piece of shit (insert name of good machine/tool) instead of this thing".
Save the few extra bucks. Buy the least expensive (non-plunge) router you can afford. Save some more money and buy the best plunge router you can afford. Save some more money and buy the best 3ish horsepower fixed base you can afford.
No really. I'm still in the single digits but not by much.
UA100
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wrote:

What he said along with the following:
As a newbie, you will make mistakes. Learning from own mistakes is very important. You don't have the experience to know which mistakes are yours and which are the results of crappy tools.
Good tools don't guarantee excellent work, but they sure can increase the odds.
If you shop around, routers by Bosch, Porter Cable, DeWalt, Milwaukee, and other brands, can be had for a few bucks more than Craftsman. I've had great results with factory reconditioned tools. You could even check for the better stuff in your local bargain shopper papers, eBay, and tag sales. With sites like Amazon at your finger tips, it's easy to decide what you would be willing to pay.
Stay even farther away from Harbor Freight power tools than Craftsman.
Barry
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I'm far from being the excellent WW that some of you guys are, but I'm no slouch either. And I've had really good luck and great results with the PC 690 that I've been using for a few years. I can't afford to buy top-of-the-line tools AND materials so I stick with my decent tools and buy plenty of wood to work with.
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LMAO Tony D.
"When was the last time you took your (insert name of good machine/tool) and threw it against the wall and said, Wish I'd a bought a piece of shit (insert name of good machine/tool) instead of this thing".

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Bought a crapsman 1 hp router 25 years ago. Features dual stage ARHA (Auto Random Height Adjustment). The collet is about impossible to get tight enough to hold the bits and you can't tighten the body clamp enough to keep the motor from slowly settling down (a pair of vise grips soon replaced the funky wing nut and bolt, does work much better this way). Add in a lightweight shaft and low quality bearings, the chatter is so bad that cuts of over 1/8" deep are virtually impossible.
So anyway, about 3 years ago, Sears gave me a $100 coupon as part of their court ordered settlement with card holders. Nothing I could find to spend it on, so since I was wanting a new router, guess what. Yep, a new 1.5 hp, variable speed followed me home. After 25 years I was glad to see they had kept the dual stage ARHA and the same wimpy shaft and bearings.
Bit the bullet a while ago and bought a Hitachi 12V. A world of difference. Find myself using it for everything.
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Bill B.
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Bought a 15" woodlathe from Sears January 2003 on sale for $350 down from $699. Sept 2003, the main belt goes. 2 months to repair at a cost to them (they give you the invoice) of $464. Seven parts had crapped out including bearings, etc. Lathe comes back working but noisy as hell. Enough to _have_ to wear ear protection during use! A note on the invoice says the fan needs replacing but the lathe is ok to use. One month later, sure enough the motor seizes (no fan cooling things off obviously). Estimated repair bill $600. They refuse to honor the warranty and the only offer if to refund my $350...unless I'm willing to pay the difference between the $350 and the price of a new one!
Sears used to be a good company to deal with. 15 years as an auto and heavy duty mechanic and the worse thing that ever happened was 1 broken socket which was replaced immediately accompanied with profuse apologies. Not any more. I could never understand why so many people were putting Craftsman down. Now I know.
Bye bye Sears.
Mike Ottawa, Canada mailto: snipped-for-privacy@canada.com "Trees were created out-of-round on purpose to keep all those pesky little woodturners out of mischief !"
Interested in Woodturning? Check out http://valleywoodturners.userworld.com /

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wrote:

IMO, it makes more sense to start off with the better model. :-) And yes, my first router was a Craftsman too. In my own defense, let me state that (1) I was about 20 years old when I bought it and didn't really know any better, and (2) that was [mumble] years ago, back when Craftsman power tools were actually decent.

No. Start with a better one, and you don't have to worry about the deficiencies of the tool obstructing the process of becoming "comfortable and more experienced".
Do a Google Groups search for the acronym ARHA (Automatic Random Height Adjustment), a problem that afflicts many (most?) Craftsman routers, and you'll see just one reason to buy a Bosch or Porter-Cable. There's not *that* much difference in the price, anyway.

IMO buying a *new* one is not a good idea. If you can find a used one, made in the 70s or earlier, that's still in good shape, that may be a different story. But if you're going to look at used routers, you're better off looking for used Bosch or Porter-Cable tools on eBay.
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Ah10201 wrote:

Well - I started one of the most recent threads as I was embarking on my quest to replace my POS Craftsman. To be fair, and as I said in another post, my POS actually did route for a number of years. It did suffer from creep in the collet and ruined more than one piece of wood in the process, but I simply reset the bit, reefed on the collet and routed on. For the most part, it worked. Mine will be taking a hike down the road to my son's house from here since he does not own a router and it will do a job for him as it did for me over the years. These days I'm just increasingly intolerant of fundamental design flaws like the Craftsman router exhibits, and with a wild hair up my butt, some of the other recent POS Craftsman discussions here were all I needed to go out and buy a new router. Some times ya just gotta love those wild hairs.
To answer your questions - yes the Craftsman router is a beginner's router. But then again, so is any 1/4in router in my opinion. Today I would not recommend a 1/4in router to anyone who is going out to spend money on their first router - nothing but 1/2in. When I bought my 1/4in router, I was very price sensative - economic realities prevailed at the time. Today, I can be more value focused. It all depends where you are. If you can spend the money then go with the guys that do this stuff well - Makita, DeWalt, Porter Cable, etc.... and of course, anything red... Milwaukee (sigh.....). The only problem I had with buying a Milwaukee router is that they obviously aren't in the router market the way they are in the saw market - very limited product line and packaging options.
Owning my POS Craftsman was not a mistake. I made a lot of very nice, very fine items with that router. I wasted a small amount of wood, but I got the job done with that router. I'm giving it to my son this weekend and he'll get a lot of work out of it as well. I suspect we'll have a hand at that collet this weekend before he takes it home - I believe there's a way to make it more stable and we can eliminate that problem area to a very high degree. As for it's inherant limitations as a 1/4in machine - well you just route in more passes. You get to enjoy your tool more that way. It's like any other tool - know your tool's limitations, stay within them, and don't forget to think your way through a project or a problem. Just because you really can't simply load a bit in a router like this and blast your way through a hunk of wood does not make it totally unuseable - it means you have to be very careful in how you use it. Too careful, maybe, but it will work.
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Why Even F#@K with it?? Tony D.

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Ah10201 wrote:

Some of us remember when Craftsman was a good tool. They have gone down in quality and you won't find real craftsman using them any more. If I knew then what I know now, I never would have owned the Craftsman.
Porter Cable, DeWalt, Bosch, Hitachi are good. Visit www.patwarner.com for some good advice and reviews.
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A couple of points on department store routers at the http://www.patwarner.com/faq.html link. *********************************************

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On 28 Feb 2004 06:45:29 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Ah10201) wrote:
| I've been reading some of the posts on routers and was a little confused. |I've just started investing some money on tools and from all accounts, everyone |hates craftsman routers. However, most people seem to start off with a |craftsman router and then move on to a better model.
"Move on" is the operative phrase. You'll get a lot of good advice about avoiding Craftsman. That said, I have an old one mounted upside down in a homemade router table that I've never had a problem with. I hear a lot about bits moving in the chuck but (knock on wood, no pun intended) it hasn't happened to me.
For my "real" router I have a DeWalt 625 that is big, (top)heavy, awkward and expensive. I don't recommend it for a first purchase.
| Is craftsman router the thing a beginner should start with since its |relatively inexpensive and later move on to a better model once you've become |comfortable and more experienced with wood? or does everyone consider owning a |craftsman router a huge mistake and not worth the money whatsoever?
Almost everyone started with some Sears stuff, often acquired as gifts. Well meaning friends and relatives who know you're interested in woodworking are Sears' best friend. I have such a thing in a Craftsman 12" bandsaw. What a piece of crap.
One further feather-ruffling point: some woodworkers get real emotional about tools and start ascribing magical properties to them. Don't fall into this trap. A router is a motor with a chuck attached that holds and rotates a cutting bit at the appropriate speed and a platform that is 90 degrees to the axis of rotation. Period.
Your router purchase is only the beginning. Buying bits is where the costs mount and quality really matters. I've had good success with Whiteside bits available at routerbits.com. (I'm just a satisfied customer and have no association with them)
Wes
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I have two 40 year old Craftsman Routers that are great. I don't think I would buy a present day one. If I were starting out now, I think I would buy a Porter Cable 690 family, not too heavy, 1/2" or 1/4" chuck, excellent reputation, many years on the market and now available with rariable speed. I have 5 Routers altogether, don't like to change bits.

I also have 2 - 12" Craftsman Band Saws. They are just as good as the 14" Delta of a friends I used. One key thing with any band saw is adjustment. These are older ones also as was the Delta.
Walt Conner
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Well Yea, the Old 103.0103 was a good bandsaw Tony D.

adjustment.
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On 28 Feb 2004 06:45:29 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Ah10201) scribbled:

I would not object to other Sears tools. Not the best tools, but usually OK. At least they get mixed reviews - some people like them, others don't.
Routers, on the other hand, often suffer from what we have termed "Automatic Random Height Adjustment" where the bit unexpectedly slips in the collet (the part that holds the router bit). Many of us have suffered from it and ruined much wood with them. And it can't be fixed because the collet is one piece with the shaft. In other routers, you can replace the collet when it becomes worn. And we're not talking about daily industrial use in a furniture factory either. So the answer is that, yes, they are a mistake and they quickly become useless, not to say dangerous, when the ARHA kicks in. You can get other better routers at similar prices.
Or you can do what JOAT does: only use one bit, use loctite in the collet, and only change it when it wears out.
This is my opinion, YMMV, and it's worth exactly what you're paying for it.
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/antifaq.html www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/humour.html
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Sat, Feb 28, 2004, 6:45am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Ah10201) scribbles: I've been reading <snip> Is craftsman router the thing <snip>
Depends (a usual fact). I've got one I've used for some years, no prob. However (there always seems to be a "however" too), it's in a router table, I only use a flush trim bit in it, and I don't adjust the height. It does everything I need, and want, it to do. Way I figure, I'd be foolish to replace it as long as it works. And, then when it does stop, I've got 3 more in reserve (I didn't buy any of them), and an additional 1 that just needs a wire soldered to work. Of course (often an "of course" too), I don't expect my routing needs to change either. If that day ever comes, then I may be inclined to shop for another router - depending on what the new need(s) are. As is, I'm considering making another router table - and sticking one of the Craftsmans in it - with a dedicated bit.
JOAT Georges Clemenceau supposedly said, "War is too important a matter to be left to the military". If this is so, it is then obvious that peace is too precious to be left to politicians.
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT Web Page Update 28 Feb 2004. Some tunes I like. http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/SOMETUNESILIKEVOCALS /
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Kicking Craftsman around is the "vogue" thing to do. Many of us have Craftsman routers and I've had good luck with all 3 of mine. I've had to replace the ball bearings on two of them, and they keep on going. I also have two PC and one Bosch.
You can't go too wrong on Craftsman routers. Don't get me wrong... I'm not a Sears fan, I'd not buy any of their items like table saws etc.
There is a particular model of PC in a blown plastic carrying case that has a fixed base and a plunge base. I'm pretty happy with this also. If I were you, I'd consider that too.
Don Dando

confused.
everyone
become
owning a

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