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I am borrowing a friend's "Skil 1823 Type 1 Plunge Router", and I am having some trouble removing the router bit that was already in it. Everything online has said that removing the collet nut should loosen (if not entirely remove) the bit while being unscrewed.

I've tried using a gloved hand, pliers, etc, but I can't seem to even get the old bit to budge.

  1. Am I missing something obvious?
  2. How do I remove this old bit?
  3. How do I prevent the same thing from happening with my new bit?**

image of stuck router bit in plunge router

  • 2
    Place a block of wood against the side of the bit, and tap the block to loosen the bit. To prevent this kind of sticking, don't insert the bit fully before tightening the chuck -- back it out just a bit. – keshlam Jun 7 '16 at 13:09
  • I am a bit confused. Have you locked the drive shaft and the colette refuses to turn using a wrench? What steps are you taking to loosen it? – Ashlar Jun 7 '16 at 13:49
  • Have you tried removing the entire Colette with the bit? – Steven Jun 7 '16 at 18:07
  • 1
    @Steven, the collet was also stuck in the router. – Daniel Brown Jun 9 '16 at 0:59
  • Looks like you found a solution that worked. For future reference, the best preventative measure against a stuck bit is to remove it after use and avoid storing the bit installed in the router for an extended length of time. – rob Jun 10 '16 at 3:41
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It looks like the collet nut has been loosened completely, and since it's a narrow bit, has been slipped completely off.

I'd follow keshlam's advice from his comment and tap sideways gently (this isn't the time to prove the Hulk is a weenie!) using a block of wood to protect the bit. You may have to tap in several directions to get it loosened.

Once you've got the old one out, ensure that there isn't a lot of sawdust jammed into the collet. Looking closely at your picture, I can see some faint tan lines through the collet where it is probably clogged with sawdust. If the bit's been left in there for quite a while, humidity will have settled into the sawdust and hardened it quite nicely. Clean out the collet as thoroughly as you can, using dental floss and a small pick if necessary to get the dust out. That should help prevent the new bit from getting stuck. I'd also recommend not keeping a bit in the collet to prevent it from happening again in the future.

It's also possible, depending on how long the bit's been in there, and what conditions the router has been stored in, that there's a bit of rust binding the two together. If the tapping route doesn't fix it (though that should break the rust free, as well), a very light shot of penetrating oil (like WD-40) should help. If there's rust on the old bit when it comes out, that's likely your culprit. A few very light touches with some emery cloth wrapped around a dowel (of smaller diameter than then bit's shaft) should get rid of the rust. CAUTION: It's possible that you might make the collet too large by doing this, so you may want to leave that part for your friend to do when you return the router, so it's his problem to deal with if he sands too much. (Remember: I did say very light touches!)

  • This solution worked well for me. The part that helped most was determining which part exactly was the collet. It took... A decent beating to knock it loose (after light touches didn't do the trick), but I've followed your recommended steps to clean it up and prevent this from happening in the future. – Daniel Brown Jun 9 '16 at 0:58
  • Glad that worked for you @DanielBrown. I was going to say that you may have to hit it harder but to start with light taps and work your way up. You don't want to damage bearings, the collet, or the bit. – FreeMan Jun 9 '16 at 11:44

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