The right way to install a router bit

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A router is a familiar tool with carpenter. It operates with the same mechanism of a drill. But instead of making a hole, the router use its bit to cut and create shape on the surface of the material. We can easily buy a router in a shop, there are a lot of kinds of router, with different sizes and models. But there is a common question of people who use a wood router at the first time: “How can I install a router bit correctly?”. Because the other parts of this tool is standardized, but the bit and the collet need to be installed and adapted by yourself. So, in this article, we will tell you how to install a router bit properly.

structure of a router

Figure 1: structure of a router.


Five Steps to install a router bit

Step 1: choose an appropriate bit

There are a lot of kinds of the bit. They are categorized by functions, sizes or shapes… Choose the one that have appropriate size and shape with your purpose. And make sure that you have checked its sharp out before using it. A dull one could cause defect in your creature.

Don’t miss: A beginner’s guide to choosing router bits

Step 2: make sure the collet and the router bit are clean.

Crust and sawdust could cause increased friction, therefore the temperature of the router will rise rapidly, and the durability of this tool will be decreased. So, make sure that you have cleaned the collet and the bit before using them. It will make your router work better.

Step 3: insert the router bit into the collet.

Insert it into the collet until the shank reaches the bottom of the collet.

Step 4: adjust the height of the router bit

When the shank reaches the collet’s bottom, draw back the bit slowly, about 1/8 – 1/16 inch (it up to the recommendation of the manufacturer).

This step is ultimately important. Because if you skip this step, and tighten the collet nut when the shank still reaches the collet’s bottom, you will cause the squeeze between the collet and the shank. And this squeeze will create so much fiction during the operation.

If you put the shank touch the collet’s bottom first, and then draw it back a little, it will create a safety space between the collet and the bit and the issue will be fixed.

Other ideas is: during the operation, because of the friction between the bit and the material, the bit will get hot and increase its size. And if we do not keep a space between the collet and the router bit’s shank, the bit will be broken.

After draw back the bit, remember to tighten the collet nut to hold it.

Step 5: tightening the collet nut

Use an appropriate wrench to tighten the collet nut, with a firm pressure, but not so hard.

Some recommendations

  • Please read the instruction carefully to understand clearly the feature and the specification of your router, if this is the first time you use it. Make sure that you use the bit in proper context, and you hold it in the correct direction.
  • Before starting to work, make sure that you have worn safety gear properly. The safety gear includes gloves, safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • Make sure that you understand clearly about the conformity between the kind of the bit and the speed of the router. If you set the speed of the router incorrect, it will effect on the performance of the machine and sometimes, it may cause broken of the bit.
  • Check the shank of the bit, which one be incased within the collet, it must be longer than ¾ inch. If not, please replace it, because a short shank of a router bit could cause the instability during the operation.


Generally, a router is not so difficult to use. Just make sure that you will read the instruction carefully before using it. And remember five steps to install a router bit in this article, you will get familiar with it soon. Good luck!

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