I’m using a Bosch 1617 on a Kreg Router Table. Should I ever let me router “rest” or cool down?

Currently, I turn it on, make a pass, then turn it off and get prepped for my next pass or next piece.

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    There's no one answer here, since the wood type, the specific piece of wood sometimes, the router speed, the bit type, the bit size (diameter chiefly), the bit's build and materials, and critically, the depth of cut, all factor into this. But as a general thing, watch pros who use their routers to do similar work to what you're doing, see if they let their router rest between passes.
    – Graphus
    Jul 23 '20 at 18:20
  • Does the router need a "break"? Probably not. But you need to be able to confidently move yourself and your wood around without worrying about taking off pieces that you don't want to have removed. New wood can be purchased. Fingers eaten by a router, not so much.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 23 '20 at 22:49

I normally always switch off all my power tools in between setup and next pass especially when working with large pieces. The power switch is located and convenient to access. So turning off the tool is more for safety. All prep work would mean the power tool is turned off.

With a router underneath the router table, without a separate convenient switch location, this may not be easily done.

I am building a router table now, that will have an easy-to-reach push cutoff switch.

To answer your specific question about cooling, you should not be feeding the router that hard that it requires a cooling-off period. If you see that the router is starting to heat up, then a cooling off period is needed. Your router may cool off faster with the router on with the fan blowing air through the motor.


The motor/bearings in the router aren't generally much of a concern for overheating. However, router bits can definitely overheat. Particularly, if you're using a high speed steel (HSS) bit overheating it will cause it to loose hardness and dull very quickly.

Carbide is generally able to dissipate heat better than HSS, but if you get them too hot they will be more prone to chipping.

  • HSS specifically doesn't lose hardness when heated! At least not any HSS worth having. I know guys who have taken HSS tooling up to red heat and used it at that temperature, without any noticeable ill effects.
    – Graphus
    Jul 23 '20 at 18:18
  • @Graphus bestdrillbit.com/drilling-reference-guide/drill-bit-heating "In high-speed steel (HSS) tools overheating causes loss of hardness." Jul 24 '20 at 15:47
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    The secret is in the name — high speed steel. It was specifically formulated (at the end of the 19th century!) to function at high speeds, i.e. where heat would be generated, cutting steel and other metals. It's not directly blunted by being run hot on woods because the temps are well below the critical temps for the material; as I say, any decet HSS. But this is likely irrelevant anyway, modern router bits in HSS are getting to be rare, with even the bargain-bucket stuff featuring carbide cutting edges or even being made of solid carbide.
    – Graphus
    Jul 24 '20 at 19:28

Short answer: yes, you should do breaks.

Longer answer: it depends on how how does a motor and a bit gets.

There's a nominal temperature for a motor depending in its class - the highest temperature a motor can be indefinitely at without any degradation in its primary functions. You could look it up for a specific motor, I picked mine to be ambient temperature +60˚C, so if my workshop is at 25˚C, I would let a motor warm up to 85˚C. Every 10˚C over this value will reduce motor lifetime 2x. Some machines (e.g. planers) have overheating protection, my router doesn't, so I cap the highest temp at 95˚C

When your router idles (that is rotating without load) it takes very little current and pretty much is not heating, so I would switch it off only if preparing next pass takes more than a couple of minutes or makes me turn away from a router. Switching a router on and off repeatedly will heat it more than idling, also it's not good for bearings.

This being said, a bit would get way hotter in a way shorter time, it fact it's totally possible to burn a bit in just a few moments after a cold start. So if you are doing raised panel for a whole kitchen in one run - I would do breaks after 4-5 passes - swipe shavings and dust, move ready pieces away, etc.

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