Using the Craftsman Router Crafter

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Blog entry by gdpifer posted 05-01-2011 11:11 PM 50613 reads 11 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently posted the Black Walnut hollow spiral candlestick as one of my projects that I had made using my Craftsman Router Crafter. Among comments left was whether this was made just using a router and a couple of suggestions that I do a blog on how it was made. So, here goes.

The Craftsman Router Crafter was marketed by Sears for a number of years but was discontinued back in the early ‘90’s. It was actually made for them by Trend Manufacturing, who sold the same basic machine and called it a router lathe.

This photo of my machine was taken shortly after I purchased it off of Ebay and set it up in a corner of my barn. The router crafter works a bit differently from a lathe. On a lathe the workpiece is turned rapidly and the cutting tool is slowly moved across and into the workpiece. With the router crafter the workpiece is moved slowly, actually by a handcrank. The cutting tool, the router, is what turns at a high rate of speed. The amount of material taken off at a time is controlled by adjusting the depth of the router. Mostly this is done by the screws on the front of the plate on which the router is mounted. The router is moved along on the tubes, left to right

To round up a piece the crank is turned and the router slowly pulled across the workpiece. After each pass the router is lowered and this continues until the piece is rounded properly and to the dimension desired. At this point one can do any number of things. A rather simple action is to create flutes on the piece.

This black walnut candlestick has flutes on the main trunk. The workpiece is locked at one of 24 settings, and the router is then pulled across to create the flute. The type of flute is determined by the particular router bit used. The setting is moved and the next flute is made and so on. With the 24 settings one can make the number of flutes as you can evenly divide 24.

This is a 3-flute, hollow candlestick made with a straight bit. After each pass at each of the three settings one continues to go deeper until all three reach the center and leave the hollow.

One of the most interesting thing that can be done with the router crafter is spirals. By attaching the router platform to a cable one is able to turn the workpiece and draw the router from left to right at the same time. With the gearing that is built into the machine one gets the spiral, either a left or right spiral depending on which cable is attached.

The above photo shows a couple of candlesticks I made with spirals.

By adjusting the one end a taper can be achieved. The walking stick in the photo has both a taper and a spiral.

This candlestick is tapered and has both a right and left hand spiral which creates a “pineapple” pattern.

Now, the black walnut hollow spiral candlestick pictured at the top—-. A staight bit was used to cut the spirals and it was set deeper and deeper until, just as in the hollow fluted candlestick, they all reach the center and leave it hollow.

There are other things that can be done with the Craftsman Router Crafte that I haven’t yet experimented with. As I do I’ll try to post pictures of those new projects.

-- Garry, Kentucky

10 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3361 days

#1 posted 05-01-2011 11:18 PM

Looks like you are having fun

thanks for sharing


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23364 posts in 3610 days

#2 posted 05-02-2011 01:52 AM

Very nice. You look like you have the machine mastered. Those are some real nice pieces. Does it come with an assortment of gears for making all kinds of spirals?
I have 2 of those old Craftsman routers and use them exclusively for dovetailing.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View lew's profile


12859 posts in 4260 days

#3 posted 05-02-2011 03:37 AM

WOW!! That sure beats making the spiral candle holders on a drill press and the endless hours of sanding!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4178 days

#4 posted 06-28-2011 04:13 PM

Neat work!

View ernesto's profile


1 post in 2303 days

#5 posted 06-23-2013 08:25 PM

I have the exact same tool. I found it at a garage sale. Unfortunately, it did not come with an owners manual. Do you know of any website where I can find it?

View sRC's profile


1 post in 1938 days

#6 posted 06-24-2014 05:00 AM

I realize this is an old post but I thought the info might still be useful.

The manual for the Router Crafter can be downloaded here:

Hope this helps.


View Ramsman's profile


1 post in 1911 days

#7 posted 10-10-2014 06:16 PM

I picked up a Router Crafter recently at a garage sale. Just starting to learn to use it.
Question: what is the longest cut you can make in the wood? How long is the longest Flute you can make?
When I turn the crank, the router stops several inches short of either end. I just want to be sure there is/isn’t a problem with my machine.
I hope to make some spiral walking sticks. Will probably have to put a couple pieces together to make it long enough. Love the candle sticks I see here!
Thanks. . . . .

View GABear's profile


1 post in 1314 days

#8 posted 03-09-2016 03:19 PM

I have a tapered turning I need to route flutes into. The flutes need to be tapered also (wider at the top and narrower at the bottom). Will the Craftsman router Crafter do this? Also will any router fit?

View Wally711's profile


1 post in 536 days

#9 posted 04-26-2018 03:09 PM

I was inspired by you pictures of items created with the Sears Router Crafter.

I was able to pick up a new (from 1975) Router Crafter from Craigslist. It was in the box and not assembled. It had been in storage since the owner acquired it. It is in excellent pristine condition.

For some reason the center bushing in the tail stock of the Router Crafter will not drop low enough to create a level work piece. I have tried reaming out the tail stock bracket a little, but it still creates a piece that is approx. 1/8” inch in diameter less than the same cut at the head stock. I don’t want to go any farther as I feel I must be missing something. The tail stock bracket is a cast part that rides the rails of the Router Crafter. There are no adjustments other than the moveable center bushing in the tail stock. Likewise, the head stock does not have any method to adjust for this issue. It just seems that the tail stock bracket was not designed properly to allow enough adjustment. Below are the instruction manual details.

Router Crafter Owners manual – Pg. 6

The center bushing “B” should be set at the lowest graduation mark “C” on the tail stock “D” (Fig. 19).

The tail stock bracket is a cast part that rides the rails of the Router Crafter. There are no adjustments other than the moveable center bushing in the tail stock.

Question: Did you experience this with your Router Crafter? Any suggestions?

View Dreban's profile


53 posts in 515 days

#10 posted 03-14-2019 12:09 AM

Thanks so much. I’ve got one, unused in box, and I haventhad time to play with it yet. Cant wait! I’m gling to make so e awesome mallet handles, for starters!

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