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Hi Bruce and welcome. The old Sears Router Crafter would do that. I've seen plans for a home made version and someone on the forum might have them. As you can see in the video link you mounted the router to the frame and the hand crank would spin the spindle and it also moved the router along the rails. I've also seen a method for cutting spiral spindles by hand but it's really laborious work.
 
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I have a Routercrafter clone, but have battled to find a bit that produces good-looking rope. The so-called rope-molding bits look too flat to me.
But google "how to make rope molding" - there is a article in blogspot that shows a different approach with more realistic molding output. You would need to make the jig, but simpler than imitating the Routercrafter.
 

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THE PROGRESS OF OPERATIONS IS TO CUT THE WOOD IN HALF FIRST, THEN GLUE THE TWO HALVES BACK TOGETHER WITH A LAYER OF NEWSPAPER BETWEEN THE HALVES AND CLAMP. AFTER THE PIECE IS MADE USE A SHARP CHISEL AT THE END AND STRIKE A BLOW AND THE TWO HALVES WILL EASILY SEPARATE. I USE MY SEARS ROUTER CRAFTER TO MAKE THE ROPE TWIST SPINDLES. I ALSO DRILL A HOLE THROUGH EACH END OF THE WORKPIECE FOR A BOLT, WASHER, AND NUT TO SECURE THE HALVES FROM SEPARATING DURING THE SPINDLE MAKING CUTTING.
RICK
 
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