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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm new to table routers (I am familiar with small palm routers like my Bosch GFK-125CEPK for little trim jobs). I have recently retired and have a couple of moldings I'd like to create with a table router. Not having all that much to spend I came across a Used Craftsman Table Router (see photos attached) that comes with the router. It is at an online auction that has no details other than the photographs attached.
Would appreciate it if anyone could identify the model (I assume that it is a combo kit) but any help would be appreciated. What little details I found was that it is a 24" (L) X 14.5" (W) X 19" (H) and has a full cast aluminum table (not laminated MDF). Full Aluminum is what I prefer as being a table top model (based on the height), it will be more rugged to moving around my little workshop.
I'm sure (from searches I made in the forum viz "Craftsman Router Table") there are folks that can instantly recognize the model and router.
Thanks in advance for your help.

PS: I had originally posted this in the Welcome section - and was advised (by a reply to my post) to post here so I may get a wider response.
My apologies on the cross posting.
John
 

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I am suprised that the vendor cannot give you any information on the router.

If they have just posted a picture they found on the internet, it may be a scam?
 

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John this will get the job done but it isn't the best table to use. It's short and doesn't have any way of holding the material down or tight to the fence. If the molding you want to make is short then you shouldn't have a problem. If the molding is long and narrow then you could have a problem with it wandering. You can get by with it but if you plan on doing more in the future then skip the deal. Buy a used router and build your own table.
 

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What little details I found was that it is a 24" (L) X 14.5" (W) X 19" (H) and has a full cast aluminum table (not laminated MDF). Full Aluminum is what I prefer as being a table top model (based on the height), it will be more rugged to moving around my little workshop.
My first router table was the Bosch version of the same table in your photos. The top is bare aluminum, it doesn't rust like iron but it does form a thin oxidation layer that left grey streaks etc on the wood. Depending on how you do your projects that may or may not be an issue, I didn't like it.

Ditto what @mgmine said.
 

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+1 on the previous comments. In addition, it appears that the router is an older (maybe 30+ years) Craftsman router. In this case, older is not better. It was an entry level design, and probably has only a 1/4" collet, greatly limiting your bit options and capabilities, and is likely lower power (maybe about the same as your palm router). I'd steer clear of it. As far as the table, I agree that the aluminum surface tends to discolor wood, and also I felt it seemed to "grab" the wood, unless you keep it waxed frequently. Maybe mine was an outlier, but the surface was not dead flat- I doubt these are precision ground. I eventually made my own mdf top, mounted as an extension wing on my table saw. A coat of brush on lacquer and occasional wipe of wax keeps the top slick, and bracing the bottom with a couple of lengths of angle iron keep it from any sagging. All to say, don't rule out mdf, get a better router (avoid "combos"), and get a larger size. If you don't have a table saw amenable to adding a router top, think about a bench height standalone router table- you can always throw a square of masonite or plywood on top and use it as an additional work surface when not routing. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
John this will get the job done but it isn't the best table to use. It's short and doesn't have any way of holding the material down or tight to the fence. If the molding you want to make is short then you shouldn't have a problem. If the molding is long and narrow then you could have a problem with it wandering. You can get by with it but if you plan on doing more in the future then skip the deal. Buy a used router and build your own table.
Thank you for the reply.
I finally tracked down the model of the table - Craftsman 171.264660 and it is 27" (L) X 18" (W) so I think it has adequate surface area (and slots) for mounting feather boards to hold thin and long pieces tight (on the fence and on the table surface). The table also has face-holes on the ends to mount extension supports (also aluminum). I do this with both my Craftsman Table saws (9" and 10") and my Craftsman Radial Saw (10" when using molding bits in the cutter head). The model I am looking at also has an auxiliary stand (P/N 9-26464) that this mounts on (to bring it to working height) and which can be converted to (or modified) to accept shelves and drawers for storage - with lockable heavy duty casters on the bottom it will be the same as my other equipment in my shop (easily moved to the wall when not needed).
(see also my replies below on why I don't like MDF for work load bearing surfaces and why I like older equipment)
John G
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My first router table was the Bosch version of the same table in your photos. The top is bare aluminum, it doesn't rust like iron but it does form a thin oxidation layer that left grey streaks etc on the wood. Depending on how you do your projects that may or may not be an issue, I didn't like it.

Ditto what @mgmine said.
Thank you for the reply.
As far as I can determine, the Bosch versions that resemble the photographs I posted are the RA1141/RA1171/RA1181. The RA1181 is an all aluminum table, the RA1141/1171 has an Aluminum clad MDF table. All are approx 16" (L) X 16" (W) which have smaller work surfaces than the Craftsman I'm thinking about (which I tracked down as 27" (L) X 18" (W)
About oxidation: ALL metals (even the noble ones) oxidize to certain degrees. With Aluminum, the oxidation starts as soon as it is "cut" and is intentionally allowed and may also be electrically oxidized (called anodizing) since it provides a hard, wear resistant, porous surface. (The porous surface is usually dyed various colors or dyed clear for the "natural. shining look"). In iron (either cast iron or steel - except some high nickel SS), the oxidation is "rust" the "iron" (ferrous or ferric) can be passivated NOT to rust (or oxidize) . Another advantage of aluminum oxidation is that it is naturally occurring which leads to "self healing" - if an aluminum surface is accidentally damaged (scratch, cut, etc) the surface will oxidize immediately. Aluminum Oxide (the oxidized aluminum layer) is very very hard and that's why they use it in grinding wheels (as a bonded powder) and in "sand" and emery paper/cloth (as bonded grit) and in abrasive blasting (paint removal)
That being said, oxidized aluminum does not leave any streaks - try rubbing a aluminum cooking pan bottom or a "colored" LED flashlight or a MAG Flashlight on bare wood. (modern day LED flashlights and the MAG Flashlights of yore are dyed surface aluminum oxidation extrusions).
I have no idea of what the "grey streaks" you are referring to so cannot hazard a guess. My Craftsman 9" and 10" table saws and my 10" radial saw have cast iron tables and aluminum extensions. The cast iron tables are passivated (as long as I don't make any deep gouges I don't need to keep the passivated layer "treated" (with oil, wax, etc - oil is a definite no-no as it will mar wood, and wax is also a no-no as it will prevent a wood stain at places that the wood has absorbed it).
I have attached photos of my table saw surfaces for reference to their "parkerized surface" the dark streaks are from glued parts I left on the table surface (as a reference flat surface).
John G
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
+1 on the previous comments. In addition, it appears that the router is an older (maybe 30+ years) Craftsman router. In this case, older is not better. It was an entry level design, and probably has only a 1/4" collet, greatly limiting your bit options and capabilities, and is likely lower power (maybe about the same as your palm router). I'd steer clear of it. As far as the table, I agree that the aluminum surface tends to discolor wood, and also I felt it seemed to "grab" the wood, unless you keep it waxed frequently. Maybe mine was an outlier, but the surface was not dead flat- I doubt these are precision ground. I eventually made my own mdf top, mounted as an extension wing on my table saw. A coat of brush on lacquer and occasional wipe of wax keeps the top slick, and bracing the bottom with a couple of lengths of angle iron keep it from any sagging. All to say, don't rule out mdf, get a better router (avoid "combos"), and get a larger size. If you don't have a table saw amenable to adding a router top, think about a bench height standalone router table- you can always throw a square of masonite or plywood on top and use it as an additional work surface when not routing. Good luck.
Thank you for the reply.
I managed to track down the router table + router I had posted. it is the Craftsman 171.264660 Professional Router Table. Although it is older than 20 years, I like older tools because they are mechanically constructed to far superior standards than the cheap versions available today (I stress the operative word "mechanically"). Cases in point are my own tools - the 20+ year models have rugged bearings, thick tables that are blanchard ground flat (for the cast iron surfaces) and table bored for the cast aluminum parts, extruded thick adjustable fences and blade slots, exact and true parallel table slots, even T-slots for bolting accessories!. Example: I can take a full 3 1/2" cut with a kerfless blade without all the shuddering and shaking or "wood burn" (from slowing the speed of cut) on my 30 year old table saw than on a 2017 Craftsman Table saw that my neighbor has. In contrast my 2008 Craftsman Miter saw (the last "recent" Craftsman Tool I bought) has a laughable construction - all aluminum that is barely 1/8" thick, injection die cast, plastic cage needle bearings (not ball or roller), no ability to add extensions (although the miter saw comes with "pull out" extensions, they are very flimsy and will not always stay level), a dust port that has a grate (????) in it, a fence that is so thin and bent that I gave up having to retune it every time I use it and made my own from milling bar stock, has a plastic blade slot, etc etc - the cheapness and poor quality goes on.
I don't mean to knock everything but as far as possible the only upgrades I do are where technology shows a marked improvement on ease and accuracy of work - I upgrade my motors to vector duty, optical encoder to stepper/servo, single speed squirrel to variable speed PWM, standard miter guage to INCRA, sacrifical fences to PEEK or MDS Nylon or UHMW, router face plates and blade guards from standard plastic to clear LEXAN, standard guide bushings to recirc ball, etc.
I think the above (albeit long) explanation may address some of your comments. The router included is a 1/2" collet router (Craftsman brush motor). About aluminum discoloring wood - please see my comments on replies above in answer to various (similar to yours) replies. I don't have the same problem you (and others' experience) of aluminum surfaces "grabbing" and "discoloring" wood.
I'm not sure if you have a laminated (aluminum + MDF) table or a fully cast aluminum table: They cannot "precision grind" laminated tables because the lamination does not have the ability to have a reference side or machine a reference side and the aluminum layer will not hold to dry grinding (they cannot wet grind as the coolant will damage the MDF). Precision grinding is a term used for +_ 5u (not sure what the ACII codes for these characters are but will update later). Cast tables (Fe/Al/AlMg) they blanchard grind to +- 25u.
The only "laminations" I use are for support surfaces (they are plastic laminated (formica contertops)
John G
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am suprised that the vendor cannot give you any information on the router.

If they have just posted a picture they found on the internet, it may be a scam?
Thank you for the response.
I don't know why people jump to the conclusion of "posted a picture on the internet" or it must be a scam.
Sometimes credit is due to the buyer investigating the seller (in this case NOT Craiglist but a very Reputable seller) and also checking the watermarks on the picture.
It's not surprising that the vendor cannot provide more details as they are a auction house with (literally) tens of thousands of items every day so cannot go back to their warehouse to get a minor detail they forgot o list.
John G.
 

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Thank you for the reply.
I managed to track down the router table + router I had posted. it is the Craftsman 171.264660 Professional Router Table. Although it is older than 20 years, I like older tools because they are mechanically constructed to far superior standards than the cheap versions available today (I stress the operative word "mechanically"). Cases in point are my own tools - the 20+ year models have rugged bearings, thick tables that are blanchard ground flat (for the cast iron surfaces) and table bored for the cast aluminum parts, extruded thick adjustable fences and blade slots, exact and true parallel table slots, even T-slots for bolting accessories!. Example: I can take a full 3 1/2" cut with a kerfless blade without all the shuddering and shaking or "wood burn" (from slowing the speed of cut) on my 30 year old table saw than on a 2017 Craftsman Table saw that my neighbor has. In contrast my 2008 Craftsman Miter saw (the last "recent" Craftsman Tool I bought) has a laughable construction - all aluminum that is barely 1/8" thick, injection die cast, plastic cage needle bearings (not ball or roller), no ability to add extensions (although the miter saw comes with "pull out" extensions, they are very flimsy and will not always stay level), a dust port that has a grate (????) in it, a fence that is so thin and bent that I gave up having to retune it every time I use it and made my own from milling bar stock, has a plastic blade slot, etc etc - the cheapness and poor quality goes on.
I don't mean to knock everything but as far as possible the only upgrades I do are where technology shows a marked improvement on ease and accuracy of work - I upgrade my motors to vector duty, optical encoder to stepper/servo, single speed squirrel to variable speed PWM, standard miter guage to INCRA, sacrifical fences to PEEK or MDS Nylon or UHMW, router face plates and blade guards from standard plastic to clear LEXAN, standard guide bushings to recirc ball, etc.
I think the above (albeit long) explanation may address some of your comments. The router included is a 1/2" collet router (Craftsman brush motor). About aluminum discoloring wood - please see my comments on replies above in answer to various (similar to yours) replies. I don't have the same problem you (and others' experience) of aluminum surfaces "grabbing" and "discoloring" wood.
I'm not sure if you have a laminated (aluminum + MDF) table or a fully cast aluminum table: They cannot "precision grind" laminated tables because the lamination does not have the ability to have a reference side or machine a reference side and the aluminum layer will not hold to dry grinding (they cannot wet grind as the coolant will damage the MDF). Precision grinding is a term used for +_ 5u (not sure what the ACII codes for these characters are but will update later). Cast tables (Fe/Al/AlMg) they blanchard grind to +- 25u.
The only "laminations" I use are for support surfaces (they are plastic laminated (formica contertops)
John G
Thanks for the clarifications and information. You underestimate your knowledge and experience with the title of this thread- "new to table routers". You're clearly no newcomer to woodworking, and you've done your homework, so any advice I could give you is superfluous, and can be readily ignored! :)
 

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I don't see any problem with the router and I agree that the older tools are often better than the newer versions. Any day of the week I would take a used 30-year-old $150 dollar cast iron Craftsman table saw with a separate motor over a new contractor's saw. If the table and fence can accommodate feather boards then you will definitely need them and if it can be made longer then you should definitely do that. I haven't used a router freehand in years and can say without hesitation that a good solid long table will take care of 99% of what the average person does. So it's worth getting the right set up. I would add up the cost of upgrading it vs. building your own and go from there. This one is certainly adequate unless you will be routing long or larger pieces of wood.
 
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