Is this Craftman Router any good? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default Is this Craftman Router any good?

Here is my background:

I have a really low-end router that I picked up years ago used, and would like a nice one. I have a $100 gift certificate to sears so that is where I would like to buy one. I plan on making an entertainment center and so I need one that is strong enough to do raised panel. I also was given a Craftman router table ($120 version model 26462).

Anyways, they have a solid looking router on sale, model number 26835 for $200. It is a 15 amp, plunge router. Here is the link: http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...id=00926835000
Does anyone have any opinion on this one? I looked around and could not find any reviews anywhere. I know they sometimes sell rebadges routers, but don't see any others that look like this one.

I could also be talked into the Craftsman set that is the same as the Bosch 1617, but I worry it is not strong enough to do raised panels, and the possible power switch issue.
Thanks - Jeff
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 01:57 PM
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The table you have should fit the router mentioned, which is a good starting point. I have the table that is very much like this one (a few years older) and with the same fence. The fence is usable but...... well I will not go into that. (They sell an upgraded one for another $120....) The center hole on mine is just short of 3" so bit size is limited by that. If you look at another non-sears router make sure you check to see it it will fit the table..... sears table, sears router is usuallly safe, sears table someone else router is at best a maybe.......

The router must be one they are phasing out from the "While quantities last" comment. The 15 amps tells you that this has a lot of power.... sears rating of 3.5 HP well that is also another issue. Any 15 amp router has a lot of power and I use that when looking at "power" rather then the HP. You should have no trouble using this set up do raised panel work..... just keep in mind the table hole size for bit selection.

Good luck on your selection and project.

Ed
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. Do you know if that router in particular is a good router (reliable, well built) comparable to DeWalt, Bosch, etc, or is it a poor imitator?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jknight
Thanks. Do you know if that router in particular is a good router (reliable, well built) comparable to DeWalt, Bosch, etc, or is it a poor imitator?
I still have my first router, a sears one from about 1975 0r 76 ish. It was my only router for a lot of years, it was a 1/4" type and fixed base. I could not even guess how many hours or on it..... lots...... It has never failed.... it even has orginal everything ..... well except for may a couple of screws and brushes.... I have a lot of other sears tools some older some newer so far I have not had much problems and if you do getting parts is easy.

I can not talk on the router you are looking at..... One thing you could do is go to a sears part store that sells rebuilt tools and see how many are on the shelf... returns or rebuilds...... meaning if you see a lot of them it may indicate they have/had an issue.

I moved to Porter Cable, when I wanted the "D" handle, plunge and to be able to use 1/2" bits. I have 2 sears routers, both older and then the older workhorse 690's with the interchangeable bases. I am now looking for another router and the new Hitachi looks and feels very nice..... I still use the sears router that I got many years back because it fits some sears jigs and fixtures I still have..... or if the other ones have set-ups I don't want to take down just yet.

Ed
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 04:25 PM
 
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jknight-

I'm new to this, too. But, I bought the Craftsman 26620 router, and I love it. I've got some raised panel bits on their way to me, so haven't tried them yet. I don't see why it wouldn't work. I've been putting mine through drills, and it seems pretty strong. It's only 12 amp, whereas the 3.5 hp is 15 amp. But, for the same price, you're getting the fixed base (with above table adjustability) and the plunge base (which operates nicely). One thing that was pointed out to me about plunge routers, which I would have been so p##### if I hadn't noticed it until after i bought one, is that with some the lever releases to the open position, and with some the lever releases to the locked position. mine releases to the locked position, so when i let go of the lever, it doesn't move. The dewalt on which I was shown this, when you released the lever, the router moved up and down. you had to push it to get it to stick and be "fixed". that would really blow to be in the middle of a board and bump the lever and have it gouge in.
Just something I thought I'd pass on. There are a lot of little things that aren't obvious to the first time buyer. A lot of places know this, and they rely on the consumer seeing the pretty yellow color, or that they will know the name because they have a coffee maker made by them, too.....

I'm new to this too (well, it sounds like you aren't new, but getting back into it), but I did A LOT of research (about 10 trips to each store- Lowes, Menards, Sears, etc), and I really like mine. It operates smoothly, no power switch problems, it is made by Bosch, so it's not a B&D in disguise. I leave my fixed base in the table and slip it out and into the plunge router when I need to. It's like two routers for the price of one!
Or,, I did see that Amazon had that Bosch, along with free shipping and the bonus accessory package, for 188.00 a couple days ago. Don't know if it is still on sale, though.

Last edited by saltysteele; 02-11-2005 at 07:47 PM. Reason: speelling
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 04:39 PM
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Saltysteele does the router you have fit the table he has????? I know they are sears but it might be different with the "bosch" sears????

Also since I was out looking at routers and Bosch was the one I was thinking about until I felt the plunge...... now maybe the one I was looking at was dropped or put together wrong but I felt I was pushing against a pogo stick spring..... I'm really hoping that is not the correct feel..... I have yet to get to another store to check another one and I have not ruled them out as I like the fixed base........ I know a lot of you own this router and seem to love it so pipe in here and tell me what's going on.

Ed
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 05:42 PM
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Jeff, the Craftsman 26620 router that is in the "kit" is built by Bosch and is rated a best value by Wood magazine. Here are the differences between buying under the Bosch and Craftsman names: In the Bosch kit you get the quick change adaptor for using Bosch guide bushings, an adapter plate which will let you use Porter Cable style guide bushings and the ability to use the Bosch dust collection adaptor.(Optional, extra) The Craftsman kit has a clear base plate which you can use guide bushings in, and the above the table adjustor handle.(Which will not work on the Bosch) This router has no provision for dust collection. I have yet to put my hands on the 26620, so I cant say if the guide bushings it uses are Porter Cable style or not. As far as the above the table adjustment, let me pose a question to you: Are you going to bend over to eyeball the height of your bit to a brass bar or the wood? If you do the whole arguement for the above the table adjuster goes away. In this position, same as when you have the mounting plate out of your table for a set up, it's actually easier to use the adjustments on the router. If you are going to do your height adjustments by the "brail" method, then the handle is the way to go. Dont take my word for it, turn one upside down at the store and try it. You will need both arms above your head to use the handle when your bit is at eyeball level. I feel the adjuster handle is just one more item that could be lost.(For these routers) I can tell you these routers have plenty of power for anything I have tackled. I bought a vertical panel raising bit which requires less power to run than a horizontal one.(cheaper too) I'm not sure about the table but worst case you could mount your old Craftsman in it and build one for your new router.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 05:54 PM
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Ed, I know what you mean about the different feel of the return springs in the plunge base. Best I can say is if you remove pressure it returns to the retracted position. I think this is because they designed it to be easier to use in odd positions. I have 2 of the 1617 motors and my buddy has the 1617EVS. We have had zero trouble with the reported corrosion or switch problems. As addressed elsewhere on this site both Bosch and Craftsman are correcting these inconsistencies.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replys guys.
Sounds like there are recomendations for the 26620. The Bosch kit may have a little more stuff than the Sears Kit, but I have a gift certificate to Sears. Prices are very similar right now for the two. And I am not confident the Bosch would fit my Craftsman table. My only concern is that it can do raised panels OK. I will check that it fits the Craftsman table.
Both sears I have been to had damaged 26620's, and one damaged 26835. So, Ed, the one you saw may have been dropped. The other store had a working 26835 and that seemed very solid and well built. And it is the same prie as the 26620.
Apparently, there are tradeoff for both.
More power in the 26835, but unknown quality (feels good to me).
More flexiblity in the 26620 (plunge and fixed bases) and known good quality.
Both are the same price.
Oh, and aniceone2hold, I only knew about the eyeball method. I have not heard of the brail method. Does that involve using your fingers to see if the bit is raised to the right level, which would make the top adjustor handle convenient.
And thanks for the tip saltysteele about the plunge lock. Never would have thought of that (until it screwed up my work).
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 08:18 PM
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Jeff, some of the members are skilled enough to work by touch. Template Tom actually teaches blind students to work with routers using templates. These students have my admiration. I know having had my hands in hot hydraulic oil over the years that I will never develope this skill, perhaps I am too well done? At least my sense of humor is still medium rare...

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