Craftsman Router Has Decided Not to Start

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Forum topic by Hillsboro posted 07-07-2010 03:34 PM 6421 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 3139 days

07-07-2010 03:34 PM

I have a Craftsman router (1hp, 1/4” collet) that is at least 35 years old; it was my fathers. In any case, I was test cutting dovetails last night and when I went to do another test it decided not to start. Power is good, brushes are good. This morning my first thought was that there was dust in the switch, I will check later today. Any other thoughts, suggestions, recommendations would be welcome.

Amazingly enough my wife’s first suggestion was to buy a new router. No, I will not trade her for a new model.


Phil Stevens

17 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3155 days

#1 posted 07-07-2010 04:38 PM

At 35yr old the power cord could have finally flexed one too many times at the router housing or maybe at the plug? At that age it wouldn’t hurt to replace the entire cord and plug. Worth a try…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View spclPatrolGroup's profile


233 posts in 3136 days

#2 posted 07-07-2010 04:42 PM

I havent seen too many routers go for 35 years, maybe because I’m not 35 years old. There isnt much to troubleshoot on a router, its basically an electric motor with handles, whatever you do, if you have an emotional attachment to it, don’t bring it to sears, after working there and hearing horror stories from items we sent in for repair, I now buy tools elsewhere.

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 3268 days

#3 posted 07-07-2010 04:44 PM

If it isn’t the cord or anything electrical with the system then it probably is either the armature is shorted or the magnets have lost their polarity and are no longer able to spin the armature.
keep us posted :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View Hillsboro's profile


44 posts in 3139 days

#4 posted 07-08-2010 02:43 AM

Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. The router appears DOA therefore I now am now looking for a replacement. One that strikes me as a good update is: Porter Cable 893PK. I would welcome comments/opinions/recommendations.


Phil Stevens

View UncleFester's profile


33 posts in 4428 days

#5 posted 07-08-2010 11:51 AM

The 893 is a great router. I have one in my router table and use it every day.

-- Uncle Fester

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3300 days

#6 posted 07-08-2010 12:00 PM

The PC 893 is great. You really can’t go wrong with Porter Cable. I have several of the older model 690 series. Those are still available and are a little less expensive, but not quite as powerful. The equivalent routers from Dewalt and Bosch are also pretty nice routers.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3802 days

#7 posted 07-08-2010 01:05 PM

Did you double check to see if the Shaft Lock is engaged? ;)

-- Joe

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3310 days

#8 posted 07-08-2010 03:06 PM

I have a Craftsman “Commercial” router that SWMBO bought for me in ‘74 or ‘75 that I still use. A few years ago, I needed to replace the switch, and got one from the Craftsman website.

A couple of days ago it wouldn’t start, and I had to tweak the plug prongs to get it going. I straightened them and used a small screwdriver to slightly separate the folded metal prongs to get better contact in the receptacle. It fired right up.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Hillsboro's profile


44 posts in 3139 days

#9 posted 07-08-2010 03:16 PM


LOL….your note started my day with a good chuckle. Yes, the shaft lock is disengaged. Thanks for the thought and it reminds me of the old dialog between a PC user and tech support. User complaining that the PC would not start and tech support suggests plugging the processor in.


Thanks for the note and you made had a very good thought. The switch is good as are the power cord prongs. I actually got it started for 10 seconds last night but it did not come up to speed and it felt as though the motor was struggling. I will check the power cord in detail this evening. Bottom line: I am shopping for a new router and if I can get this one working I will keep it as a back up.

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3974 days

#10 posted 07-08-2010 11:01 PM

When the router doesn’t start up, does it hum? Any signs of life at all? I just had a table fan with the same symptoms but it did hum. I’m pretty sure the fan’s problem was bearings. Since it worked to 10 seconds and didn’t come up to power, whatever you have is an intermittent. You said that you checked the power cord but did you actually check the whole cord with an ohm meter or did you just check the plug? You could have a broken wire in the cord (happens often with devices this old) and it is intermittently making connection but not allowing full current to be passed.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View Hillsboro's profile


44 posts in 3139 days

#11 posted 07-10-2010 10:51 PM


Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. This morning I took the router apart and discovered that the magnets have lost their polarity. So it is time for a new router. I have ordered the Porter Cable 895PK from my friends at Amazon. I have used the router in a Woodcraft class and was impressed so having one of my own will be delightful.

Hope I can return the favor and assist some of your saw dust efforts.


Phil Stevens

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3202 days

#12 posted 07-10-2010 11:54 PM

Retire the old router for old time’s sake! Put it in a place of honor and enjoy the new one!

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3292 days

#13 posted 07-11-2010 12:12 AM


If that is a Craftsman Commeercial, I nhave the same router. Mine died, and the problem is the trogger switch in the handle. It pulls a cable (sheathed between the handle and the top of the motor assy.) that pulls the actual switch. You can try tuner sapray, or do what I did: cut the cable, remove the switch and wire around it so that the router is always on. Then add a inline rocker switch (from any hardware store) or as I did, mount in a router table and use a $9 router speed switch from Harbor Freight.

If you decide to ditch the router and it’s convenient for you, pm me and maybe it will be economically feasible for me to buy it for a parts machine. It’s the last of the gooD Craftsman stuff.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1904 posts in 3913 days

#14 posted 07-11-2010 12:27 AM

Get a Porter Cable!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Hillsboro's profile


44 posts in 3139 days

#15 posted 07-11-2010 05:37 AM


The router is not the commercial version. Since it was my fathers I will be keeping it for sentimental reasons.

Matt Garcia:

Have a Porter Cable 895PK on order. Thanks.

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