My Router Scared the %$#*&@! Out of Me

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Blog entry by Picken5 posted 05-30-2014 03:55 AM 2877 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Handling some household chores the other day, I was trimming a new screen door before hanging it. I needed to take off about 1/2” of it’s width in order to fit in the opening. So I put it on the bench, clamped a guide to it and ripped off 1/2” with my circular saw. (My table saw is limited to 28” max — too bad.) Well, I’ve never been happy with how clean a cut I can get with my circular saw, so I thought I’d just trim off a bit more — another 16th inch or so — with my router. I have a Craftsman 2-1/4 HP router with both a fixed and plunge base. I’d used it a bunch a couple of weeks before trimming bubinga for another project and the 1/2” collet was still in it. I blew some dust from it with my compressor and installed a flush trim bit in it and tightened it into the collet. Once I’d arranged and adjusted my makeshift guide — a long piece of 3/4” MDF I’d clamped onto the door along the edge I just trimmed — and set the depth of the bit so it’s bearing would ride along the MDF, I started trimming. After trimming 4 or 5 inches, the router started vibrating violently; so violently, it jerked out of my hands, landed on the floor and started “dancing” around. I then realized that my path to the receptacle (where I could unplug it) was blocked by the now dancing router on the floor. I was trapped! And a fiendish machine with a really sharp bit spinning at about 15,000 rpm was bouncing around on the floor in front of me! Scary! Somehow (I don’t really know how) I managed to get past the bouncing demon and pull the plug. Whew! Upon examining the router, I found the bit was still well secured in the collet, but the fixed base was cracked. (See the pic.) I still don’t know for sure what caused the violent vibration, but I suspect the fixed base broke while I was making the cut. (And, yes, I had clamped the base shut once I’d adjusted the bit depth.) It may have already had a minor crack that I simply didn’t notice, but I doubt it. But the crack could have happened when it hit the floor. The motor appeared mostly OK except that the milled channel where the guide for the base rides is now chewed up a bit. I don’t know if the motor stem where the collet and bit are installed is bent or not. Frankly, I’m afraid to even turn it on. I guess I’m going to retire this router and get another — but probably not a Craftsman.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

12 comments so far

View sylinen's profile


13 posts in 2621 days

#1 posted 05-30-2014 04:11 AM

Craftsman seriously cheaps out on their bases these days. The depth lock on mine refuses to stay locked, so I’ve had to resort to putting a rubber band round it and holding my thumb on it. When it came time to put a router in my Kreg table, I chose the 30 year old Stanley. Noisy bearings, but works like a champ.

View John1410's profile


10 posts in 2347 days

#2 posted 05-30-2014 04:33 AM

Howard, wow…!!!
As a one-time design engineer, I can’t say I’m terribly impressed with the die cast body of your router. Can’t see witness marks that confirm the split happened when it bounced on the floor and have no way of telling whether it was accidental damage, a design fault, metal ‘fatigue’ or through any other cause but I’d be hesitant about buying another similar router.

-- John1410

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 05-30-2014 07:49 AM

I’ve owned three Craftsman routers and two specifically of this kind. Sounds to me like you should revisit the instruction manual but be careful it too doesn’t jump out of your hands…................

-- mike...............

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4193 days

#4 posted 05-30-2014 03:24 PM

Doesn’t seem worth the risk of using it again…I would take it out behind the shop and shoot it…and then go buy another router…other than Craftsman.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6211 posts in 3698 days

#5 posted 05-30-2014 03:34 PM

From your description, it sounds like you did everything right.
For flush trimming, these are the most important things to me…
1. Take extremely light cuts. I like to remove about 1/16” of material.
2. Rout the correct direction. The rule of the router is “Counterclockwise, end grain first. Unless inside of a frame, then clockwise.” So routing along an edge guide, imagine you are routing around the whole guide in a counterclockwise direction.

In your case it sounds more like mechanical failure.
Good luck with getting a new router.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View a1Jim's profile


118143 posts in 4462 days

#6 posted 05-30-2014 03:44 PM

Wow that sounds super scary all right. As crazy as it sounds I wonder if the shank on the router bit got bent.


View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3254 days

#7 posted 05-30-2014 05:35 PM

The rule of the router is “Counterclockwise, end grain first. Unless inside of a frame, then clockwise.”

I’ve never been good at remembering words, I’m a visual person. Plus, I like making a gun with my fingers and holding it sideways, gangster-style.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4116 days

#8 posted 05-30-2014 06:34 PM

Put it in the other base and see if it still vibrates badly. Have yout assistant stand by the receptacle just in case.

I just used my Bosch 1617 last night to do some flush trimming and today to trim some Formica after it was laminated to the table top.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3689 days

#9 posted 05-30-2014 10:04 PM

Glad you didn’t get hurt. May have been a weak spot in the cast, or, who knows. Thank someone that you still have your digits.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4032 days

#10 posted 05-31-2014 12:54 AM

Sounds pretty scary! You’re lucky it didn’t land on your leg or foot….....

If it were me, I’d get a new router, and bit, too. Why take chances? A couple hundred bucks is cheap insurance against this thing killing you!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Picken5's profile


323 posts in 3576 days

#11 posted 05-31-2014 03:08 AM

Thanks for all the comments guys. A couple of you suggested the issue may have been the bit I was using. Well, we can rule that out because I (maybe stupidly) put that same bit into my other router (another Craftsman — shudder) to finish the job I started. My second attempt (with the original bit) worked just fine.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 3888 days

#12 posted 05-31-2014 06:02 AM

Wow, that would make you think about it

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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