Bits can get stuck in routers for a number of different reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons and how you can deal with them to remove the stuck bit.
Stuck Bit with Loose Nut
Use Elbow Grease to Work it Free
If the bit from your router won’t release after you have loosened up the collet nut then the first thing to do is to add a few drops of lubricant (Liquid Wrench or WD-40 will do fine) then leave it for a few minutes to soak around the shank of the bit. After a few minutes take a firm hold of the spindle using a wrench or similar, put a heavy work glove onto your other hand and grab the bit twisting it back and forth in order to work it free.
Tap It In and Pop It Out
If that doesn’t do the trick to loosen the bit then you can always remove the washer and bearing from the end if applicable. Stand the router base upwards on a firm, solid surface and take a scrap of hardwood, place it against the surface of the bit (this will prevent any damage to the threads) and tap gently using a hammer or a mallet. It may seem to be counter productive to drive the bit deeper in even the smallest snippet of movement can be sometimes sufficient to free up the bit. Tap it progressively harder until something moves.
Busting a Nut Loose
If there is no way that you can loosen up the collet nut you could try supporting it against a chunk of hardwood and tapping it gently with a mallet or hammer. Rotating the nut and tapping each face is a good idea before using router wrenches to break it loose.
If the bit is still stuck in your router it may be time to get a little heat onto the matter. A small propane torch can be used to heat up the bit shank and collet. Be sure to rotate the router in order for the heat to spread evenly and be careful not to get any parts red-hot. Do not point the flame directly towards the router as this could cause damage to the seals and spindle bearings. Once the heat has been applied be sure to wear a thick work glove and try to twist and turn the bit until it comes loose. Keep wrenching, twisting and turning until you get some movement.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Wherever there is a problem there’s sure to be a prevention method. Here are a few tips from the experts, specialists and tool manufacturers about how to avoid getting bits stuck at all.
Problem – the bit gives up after tightening up or loosening off initially.
Prevention / Cure – this might sound a little strange but many of these experts have told us that they have rescued numerous customers who just need to keep on loosing the collets after they have initially loosened. Self releasing collets can usually be identified by some sort of snap ring which holds together the collet with the nut. These will often have two separate breaking points, one initial point and another a couple of turns later to release the bit.
Problem – dirt in the collet
Prevention / Cure – use compressed air to regularly blow the collet out. You can also clean the threads and the collet with mineral spirits and a soft brush if necessary.
Problem – dirty / grimy bit shanks
Prevention / Cure – take a clean cloth dampened with mineral spirits and wipe around the bit shanks and router. Rust and tougher grime can be removed with light sand.
Problem – nuts overtightened
Prevention / Cure – it is not necessary to tighten up a collet nut the same amount as you would a machine like a tablesaw. A turn of about one-eighth after it has snugged up is quite sufficient.
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