Q: My Craftsman router served me well for 20 years, until I began using it upside-down (of course) in a router table. It seems that the clamping action of the base against the motor housing just isn’t strong enough to hold the bit at the right elevation against both gravity and vibration. When I turn it on, it vibrates downward about 1/16″ to 1/8″. No matter how hard I crank down on the thumbscrew clamp or how well I clean the mechanism, it just won’t stay set.
Is this a recognized problem with the Craftsman design, or am I missing something?
A: It sounds to me like your router is getting a bit flimsy in its old age. It’s likely that the timing of the problem — that your router base’s locking system is failing — is more coincident with your router table use than causative. You may be able to replace the thumbscrew clamp or even the whole base, locking system included, and fix the problem. With a 20-year-old tool, part availability will be hit or miss. I have a 30-year-old Stanley router that suffers from the same problem. In the absence of replacement parts, I drilled out the lock-system housing and replaced it with a 3/16″ carriage bolt and a couple of nuts. It’s ugly and annoying to use, but it works.