Do I need a new router collet?

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Forum topic by JimYoung posted 12-27-2015 05:20 PM 1320 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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400 posts in 2592 days

12-27-2015 05:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry router

I was making a cut with a 3/8” up spiral bit in cherry. The cut was started at 3/8” deep. During the cut the bit started to climb up out of the collet and the slot being cut got wider and deeper. I thought I had the collet tightened properly. Is my collet just worn out? Looking at the cut it looks like the bit was off balance and finally spun out.

I’m still learning here, and I just don’t want to end up with router bits flying around my shop.

My router is a DeWalt DW618 that I bought used a few years back. I have replaced the bearings on it last year.

Thanks for your help and advice,

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

9 replies so far

View DanMelander's profile


47 posts in 2623 days

#1 posted 12-27-2015 05:37 PM

Hi Jim:

I had the same thing happen when routing a breadboard for a coffee table last year. I was using an overhead router and a 3/8” upcut bit. About half way though the last pass (I was routing about a 1/4” depth on each pass) the bit dropped down and was cutting an ever increasing depth. I didn’t know what was happening until the bit broke off. Luckily, the broken bit stayed in the mortise. I think it was caused by two things: not having the bit secured tight enough and a dull router bit. I purchased a new router bit, and finished the cut and the cut on the second piece with no further problems. Looking at your photo, it does look like your bit was wobbling a little as it loosened up. Maybe try another router bit and test on a piece of scrap wood.

View teejk02's profile


504 posts in 2130 days

#2 posted 12-27-2015 05:51 PM

Had that happen recently when using the Leigh dovetail jig. It was a new bit and I didn’t take the time to clean the shank properly (rubbing alcohol works well). I really had to crank the wrenches to get it to hold but that was probably a function of the Leigh collet adaptor. Was a good reminder though to check for slippage with a pliers.

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400 posts in 2592 days

#3 posted 12-27-2015 05:52 PM

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the info. This was a HSS bit and it was a little “burnt” but still felt sharp. I was using my router table and just thought the bit was a having some trouble getting through the cherry. Luckily, it looks like the one edge is ok, so I don’t think I have to scrap this piece.

I looked at the collet, and it does appear scored a bit on the inside. Looks like I can get a replacement on Amazon.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View pintodeluxe's profile


6312 posts in 3818 days

#4 posted 12-27-2015 06:16 PM

I think the HSS bit is the problem. I have HSS spiral upcut bits and they are terrible. When they grab the wood it is violent and catastrophic. The carbide spiral bits I have are consistently excellent. I also use a couple of 618 routers, and find their collet holding power to be better than my other routers.

I would throw the HSS bits in the garbage and replace the collet just for good measure.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BurlyBob's profile


8464 posts in 3270 days

#5 posted 12-27-2015 07:38 PM

Jim, I had a similar problem with my dovetail bits. They were from Whiteside . I called them and spoke with Todd. He suggested that I lower the speed and see if that helped. It did not. I sent them all back to Whiteside like instructed and he roughed up the shaft of the router bit. It looks like he did it with a bead or sandblaster. that made all the difference. I’ve got to be honest after my experience with Whiteside those are the only folks I’ll deal with. You might want to get a new carbide bit from them and give it a try.

View KWood75's profile


11 posts in 1911 days

#6 posted 12-27-2015 08:14 PM

I recently had this happen but it was because I didn’t have the bit deep enough in the collet. I moved it deeper and adjusted the plunge. Problem solved.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3492 days

#7 posted 12-27-2015 08:40 PM


How far into the collet did you have the bit?

It needs to be as far into the collet as you can place it without contacting the shoulder of the bit itself.

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

View Loren's profile (online now)


11006 posts in 4652 days

#8 posted 12-27-2015 09:18 PM

Spiral bits can pull themselves out of collets. If you have
a device to measure, check some of your bit shanks
and you’ll see some variance in diameter. I suppose
you could rough up the shank of a loose bit with

I wouldn’t consider replacing the collet unless the
problem happens with other bits and of course you
should be tightening the collet down with a ‘fair grunt’.

View JimYoung's profile


400 posts in 2592 days

#9 posted 12-27-2015 09:20 PM

Hi All,

Thanks for all the information. This is why I love this site.

I did have the bit almost all the way into the collet (bottomed out and then raised 1/8”), and tightened it more than normal.

For routing cherry, I’ve learned to lower the speed and it was running on “4” out of 6 on the speed dial. Do they make routers that go up to 11? ( ^;

I do have a carbide bit on order from Whiteside, and it should be delivered in a day or two. Could I just scuff up the shaft with emery cloth?

I think I’ll order a new collet as well.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

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