Ask the Staff
I have difficulty removing router bits from my router at times. When I loosen the collet nut, sometimes the router bit shank cannot be removed without exerting a lot of pulling force. What am I missing?
When you loosen a collet nut, you still need to loosen it just a bit more to "release" the bit from the collet. When you break away and first loosen the collet nut and start to unscrew the nut by hand, it will come to a point where you need to apply the wrench again to continue to loosen the nut. It is this second loosening with the wrench that unseats the collet from being wedged down into the collet socket on the spindle and so will allow the bit to be removed easily from the collet. Every time someone tells me that they cannot remove the router bit (but the collet nut is loose they say!), I put a wrench on the nut, loosen it another turn or two and the router bit easily comes out. This aspect of loosening the collet nut and having the bit shank remove easily has been marketed by some manufacturers as "self releasing", though this collet and nut feature is fairly ubiquitous on routers now and is now simply "the norm".
Another thing to remember is to never let the end of a router bit shank rest at the bottom of a collet before you tighten the collet nut. This will jam the end of the router bit shank into the bottom of the tapered collet socket as you tighten down the collet nut , making it difficult to remove the router bit later.
Also, don't let your collets or router bit shanks get crud on them. Clean the router bit shanks to remove any light corrosion that may have accumulated. Hopefully you should have less trouble removing router bits from your router.
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