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