Is this router worth using?

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Forum topic by sikrap posted 03-25-2009 05:23 AM 21818 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1121 posts in 3354 days

03-25-2009 05:23 AM

I picked up an old Craftsman router to start building tools. Its a model 315.17561. It was dirt cheap at a garage sale and it works, so I figured it would be worth using to learn how to use a router, start practicing dado cuts, etc. I just assumed I’d be able to buy some accessories from Sears, but its too old. Its 1 1/4 hp and will only take 1/4 shank bits. My question is this: is it worth mounting this under a table and using it to learn simple cuts? It did come with a package of 5 or 6 Craftsman bits that I could play with, but I don’t want to try to learn with a piece of crap and get frustrated. Thanks!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

15 replies so far

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3428 days

#1 posted 03-25-2009 05:29 AM

You’ve already spent the money on it. Use it. The 1/4 shank is standard. It will be ok to learn on and who knows, you may use it for years. I have 4 routers and one of them I’m sure was used by Ben Franklin….still works and I still use it

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3869 days

#2 posted 03-25-2009 05:31 AM

Dave, I’d be hesitant to use that as a table mounted router. I’m not so concerned by the age, but we tend to work table mounted routers a lot harder than handheld routers, and the 1¼ HP motor and the ¼” shank bits are both a little light for this kind of use.

-- -- --

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3880 days

#3 posted 03-25-2009 06:30 AM

IMHO – What ever you do don’t get rid of it!!!!! I own several routers and have a router table plate for each one. Then when I’m doing a build that needs more than one or more router set ups I don’t have to keep changing bits. I have one the size of yours that I just keep a round over bit in so it’s easy to soften up the edges of a project that I might be building. Rockler has these plates on sale now.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View JimmyC's profile


106 posts in 3397 days

#4 posted 03-25-2009 08:49 AM

When I worked on my first house I had an old B&D 1 1/4 hp router mounted to a table, it wasn’t ideal but I did all of my moldings for my kitchen with it. The kitchen alone caused me to run about about six or seven hundred linear ft of molding (alot of classic ogee) through it because I wanted to match the molding in the rest of a 1918 dutch colonial. The ogee had to be run through more than once because I had to take small bites out of the wood.

So yes, the router will be fine in a table, but not ideal. BTW, I still have the router and now use it exclusively for cleaning off proud protrusions in my work such as plugs, I keep it set to almost flush and never touch the adjustment.

Good Luck.

-- -JimmyC...Clayton,NC- "Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave"

View shopdog's profile


577 posts in 3480 days

#5 posted 03-25-2009 01:05 PM

My first router was a Craftsman 315-17480, that my father gave me about 35 years ago. Now I have 6 routers, and the last one that I bought was a Craftsman 315-17381…I got it at a yard sale for $5. I just couldn’t say no. While not great routers, they both work well, and have dedicated bits that I rarely change. It should be fine as a first router, but I wouldn’t buy too many bits for it, as you will soon want a router with a 1/2” collet. Let the buying begin :-)

-- Steve--

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Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3433 days

#6 posted 03-25-2009 02:29 PM

I have one of those. They do work for above table use and also below table but adjusting them for height for below table use can be a bit tedious. They spin at one speed, so if you can adjust it and it goes the bit will cut just like any other router.

I recently got a Bosch fixed/plunge router combo. Night and day difference from that long ago. And I ditto Shopdog’s comment. 1/2 in shanks are so much better in working with and removing. And a lot of larger bits like ones for raised cabinet panels are only available in 1/2 inch. So, don’t put a lot of $$ in 1/4 inch bits unless you plan on this being your router for the forseeable future.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4120 days

#7 posted 03-25-2009 02:43 PM

I used one of those as a movable router, before I knew better, and then as a table mounted router ‘til I replaced it with a Porter Cable 7518. It worked.

As others have said, be judicious in what you invest in the small shanked bits, and don’t get too aggressive in how much stock you take off per pass, but I even managed to make some raised panels with a bullnose bit and a straight bit.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View thelt's profile


665 posts in 3374 days

#8 posted 03-25-2009 05:09 PM

I’ve got a CM router that I can’t get parts for anymore. The dentent pawl that holds the shaft to loosen/tighten the bit in place broke off. Now I have to change bits with two open end wrenches. Router still works and I ain’t gettin’ rid of it yet.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3388 days

#9 posted 03-25-2009 08:22 PM

“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
That’s a good router to learn, to make a decent table and start doing things!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3354 days

#10 posted 03-26-2009 02:13 AM

Excellent!! Thanks to all for the help. Now to just tear down the old garage and get the new one up so I can start playing….......

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View boxman's profile


104 posts in 3427 days

#11 posted 03-26-2009 02:37 AM

I started with a old craftsman , it wasn’t a plunge one, but to get the feel of how to use a router fine , & as someone said don’t spend too much money on 1/4” bits , although some profiles will only come in 1/4” sizes, the only way to find out is to use it , I wouldn’t be without mine.
john, Moose jaw, Sask.

-- john, Moose Jaw, Sask,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#12 posted 03-26-2009 04:15 AM

I just bought an old Creftsman router at a garage sale because it was an old small router for light weight tasks.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Chris's profile


339 posts in 3352 days

#13 posted 03-26-2009 04:20 AM

My first router is a 1/4” Craftsman, and for several years it was my only router. I still use it for some work. I don’t think you can have too many routers, so hang on to it.

-- Chris

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Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3247 days

#14 posted 09-22-2009 07:48 PM

I have a sears router 315.17381 that was my fathers it works great except for a nut that broke off that i cannot tighten or loose the bit. Cans someone point me where i can get a part for it.


-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3869 days

#15 posted 09-22-2009 08:17 PM

Use the router until you are ready to upgrade… but get some new (carbide) bits or you will probably be frustrated right away.

-- Happy woodworking!

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