How To Install Router Bits

The proper installation of your router bits is vital for two reasons: safety, and to prolong the life of your router. An improperly installed router bit can create a vibration that will eventually damage the router shaft, or in a worst case scenario loosen the router bit allowing it to work its way out of the collets. Not a good alternative. Following the instructions below will keep you safe, and add years of life to your router.

  1. The most important safety rule when installing a router bit, is to make sure the router is unplugged.
  2. All routers either come with a self-locking mechanism to lock the shaft in place, or a wrench designed specifically for that purpose. Whichever the case may be with your router, lock the shaft in place so it cannot move.
  3. Insert the shaft of the bit into the collets until it bottoms out.
  4. Withdraw the bit about 1/8".
  5. Using the wrench supplied by the manufacturer of your router, tighten the retaining nut until it stops. Do not over tighten the nut, as this can eventually damage the collets or shaft.
  6. The router bit is held in place inside the collets due to two opposing tapers, when you tighten the retaining nut this not only squeezes the shaft with sufficient force to hold it in place, it also pulls the router bit back down to the bottom that 1/8" you pulled it up in the beginning.
  7. If the router you purchased has a ½" collets, it will also be supplied with a secondary ¼" reduction insert for the smaller router bits. In this case, if you are going to use a router bit with a ¼" shaft, insert the bit into the reducer, making sure not to insert the bit beyond the straight portion of the shaft.
  8. Insert the adapter or reducer into the collets and install it the same as if it were any other bit, allowing the same 1/8" so both can tighten and bottom out properly.
  9. Lastly it is also important to test the bit on a piece of scrap wood to be sure the router bit is secured in place and is not working its way out of the shaft.

As I said in the beginning, a properly installed router bit will protect you from injury, and prolong the life of your router.


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