How tight is tight enough?

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Forum topic by newwoodbutcher posted 02-08-2013 06:45 AM 1151 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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740 posts in 2850 days

02-08-2013 06:45 AM

I just installed a new PC 3 ½ HP router in my table. It’s my first router that requires two wrenches. Using ½” bits, I’m tightening it pretty tight when I installing a bit and sometimes it’s really hard to loosen it to remove the bit. I’m thinking I’m over tightening but I’m concerned that if I don’t tighten it enough the bit will slip. My question is how tight is tight enough? And how will I know when it’s tight enough

-- Ken

9 replies so far

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 1954 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 07:05 AM

The simplest and safest way to use two wrenches is single handed. One wrench on the collet, one on the flat below. To tighten the top wrench should be offset to the right side, but you should be able to grip both wrenches with one hand. To loosen the top wrench should be offset to the left (looking from the bottom of the router). Squeeze the two wrenches together. This works because if you look at the wrenches they both have a dogleg giving you additional span, therefore movement of the members.

Unless you have no grip at all, when you squeeze them together, they are tight enough. If you can’t loose with one hand, you got them too tight.

Make sure the bit is not bottomed out in the collet before you tighten it down. There is a fillet where the shaft meets the business end. If you tighten the collet down on that you can damage the collet and the bit might come loose when you start routing. Put the bit in full depth, then pull it our a quarter of an inch or so and then tighten the collet.

The greatest benefit to the one hand method is no bloody knuckles.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2487 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 08:56 AM

Like RiC said.
One thing you can do to keep the filet out of the collet is to put a small O-ring on the shaft. That way the shank can’t be inserted too far.

You may also want to remember, When you get the bit tight that to remove it there is a second ‘tight spot you need to loosen past before the bit will come out easily.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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740 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 02-08-2013 04:48 PM

Thank you both. That makes sense an for sure will be easier

-- Ken

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 2985 days

#4 posted 02-08-2013 04:59 PM

Note that some bits will require more tightening. I have two bits in particular that, when tighten the same as all my other bits, tend to slip a little after some use, so I make sure to crank down on those a little tighter.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#5 posted 02-08-2013 05:13 PM

router bits should be tightened as much as you can tighten them by hand. turning at 20,000 rpm I’d rather have difficulty getting the bit out then it coming out on it’s own during use.

a few points to consider:
1. make sure the bit is inserted as far into the collet as possible without bottoming out – insert the bit all the way in. if it bottoms out in the collet, pull it out 1/8”. a bit bottoming out could result in 2 faulty things – 1 being that the high RPM could cause the bit to hammer against the router itself resulting in premature wear, and also it could deflect the bit sideways during tightening which would keep the bit from being straight and prevent the collet from properly holding the bit in place

2. Bits, especially with angled cutters have the tendency to creep in/out (depending on the angle of the cutter) of the collet – keeping it as tight as possible to prevent it is best

3. Not all collets are equal. some collets are simpler than others and when properly tightened can be harder to release the bit from later on. Some collets are self-releasing, and when they are released there is a 2nd ‘retightening’ stage before it fully releases, but once fully released the bit comes out real easy.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#6 posted 02-08-2013 05:18 PM

With short wrenches like they supply with routers I really doubt you can over tighten a collet. I know what you are talking about when you say it is difficult to get it lose once in awhile but that might have nothing to do with the way you tightened the collet initially. Short wrenches were supplied for a reason. If you use a wrench that is 10 inches long then all bets are off.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2272 days

#7 posted 02-08-2013 06:47 PM


Dallas’ O-ring solution is a viable solution for certain, but I have for several years, had a dedicate Router in my table and I find that an O-ring with an outside diameter just under a 1/2” can be inserted in the bottom of the Collet and it keeps my bits from bottoming out and getting ‘locked’ into the Collect.
I’ve also seen Tips to use a Space Ball which will accomplish the same task.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2351 days

#8 posted 02-09-2013 12:13 AM

I sold my PC router because I hated the two wrench thing. It’s a pain in the butt on a router table.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2233 days

#9 posted 02-09-2013 12:18 AM

Pink, purple is too tight. Just pull it snug and give it a little extra tug don’t lean on it.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

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