Stuck router bit! Ideas are most welcome!

Hi everyone!

As oer the thread title, I have a stuck Makita router bit and I have no idea how to get it loose.

I’ve tried lubricating it with wd40, heading the collect with a blow torch, gripping it with a clamp and trying to pull the bit out, to no avail.

The bit can rotate independant of the collet (albeit with a pair of pliers and a lot of force, but it just cant be pulled loose.

Any ideas?


I suppose gently tapping the end of the endmill repeatedly with e.g. a piece of wood did not do it either ?
I’m about to say “have you tried putting the whole thing into your freezer for a couple of hours” (in the spirit of, colder = metals retracting), but this is probably silly and I’ll let others who had this issue provide better ideas.

Usually using a pair of pliers to squeeze the collet and twist it will work to get it out, then once it’s out, the endmill should come free.

Do you have a precision collet set? If so, don’t worry about damage to the stock collet which is stuck, and just recycle the stock collet once it’s out, then switch to using the precision collets which should not have this difficulty.

If you don’t have a precision collet set, or have further difficulties, let us know at

Hmmm? Is it me or does the bit look to be inserted too far into the collet? This could be part of the issue.

i have tried the gentle and the aggressive approach :smiley:

I’ll give this a whirl. Will report on my success.

I think you just sent one to me (: Received it earlier today!

hmm, it was only until AFTER this situation did i read up that we should not insert the bit all the way into the router… my bad on that front :upside_down_face:

The Makita and C3D collets are not attached to the collet nut. The collet is squeezed up an inclined plane to tighten the X pattern on the collet by the collet nut. When you loosen the only thing that makes the collet relax and spread to come down t he inclined plane is the spring in t he collet. Since yours is stuck and you have heated and lubed it would be to put the collet nut on so the threads of the router shaft are covered and tap with a plastic handled screw driver. Do not beat on it with a hammer or steel object. The hope is the vibrations makes the collet slip down and fall out.

If you get the collet and bit out of the router than clean it with brake cleaner or other degreaser. The collet should be dry as a bone with no lube. Since your bit has been stuck you will be tempted to lubricate it but that will lead to bit slippage. You should replace that collet if you can get it out.

Be sure to leave t he collet nut loose but covering the threads.


You my friend, are a lifesaver. This worked amazingly well! Wow!

Much appreciated :smiley:

I, however, have another problem.

I changed the stock makita collet with the precision collets from Carbide 3D, and after hand tightening the collect nut and loosening it, the precision collect now seems to be stuck. (The hammer trick worked to loosen it though)

Is there something wrong with my router? It’s actually brand new.

Please contact us at and we’ll work out getting you a set of precision collets (which are much nicer than the stock ones)

I found that problem on a couple of older routers too. After some reading and examination I inspected the taper inside the router and saw that there was some scoring and roughness in there which was grabbing onto the collets.

A little bit of very gentle polishing with a fine scotchbrite to smooth it out resulted in a router that no longer ate every collet I fed it.


Please excuse a dumb question… did you hand tighten the collet nut without a tool bit in place? If so, this is why the taper is holding on to a damaged collet. It is an absolute that a collet must never be nipped up, even hand tight, without the tool bit in place.


With the Makita, there is a small hole through the spindle shaft, for the locking pin when changing a cutter (I don’t use it for that, by the way!)

The top of the collet is pretty close to the bottom of that hole, so if the cutter is installed with the top part showing in that hole, a small tapered wedge could be tapped in to release the cutter and - hopefully - the collet.

If, as @jepho asked, you’ve tightened the collet without a cutter in place, this solution is unlikely to work.


The usual advice “back in the day” for eliminating stuck router bits was to install an oring in the bottom of the bore.

Bits get stuck when they are bottomed out in the bore and then the collet is tightened…tightening tries to pull the bit further in and jams the collet up. Having the oring in there allows a constant seating depth while allowing the bit to be pulled in during tightening. It also provides a bit of “give” to help loosen the grip of the collet for removal.



Measure how long your collet is. Then insert your bit that distance for the best grip on the router bit. Inserting too far or too little is not good. If you are getting consistently stuck take the router out and polish the inside of the router shaft. Makita and C3D routers do not have the collet attached to the collet nut so the spring of the collet is all that makes it release. The nut when loosened does not pull the collet down like on a Dewalt and/or Porter Cable type collets. Use some 600 or higher grit paper to polish the router shaft interior. You could use a Dremel if the paper and the rubber are small enough to get inside. I would not use any stone type media because it is easy to over due the polishing.

I’ve had this issue with bigger routers. Bits with a 1/2inch shank What I have done is put a touch of dielectric grease on the collet. Haven’t had the bit slip like you might be thinking and it slide in and out easily. Did the same thing when I bought a rigid trim router for finishing. Haven’t had a bit or collet stick sense.

Hi Luke. When you first buy your collets, I am certain there will not be instructions to grease the working parts of the tool holding system. Think of a collet as a vital and integral part of the tool holding system. It is almost a component with an interference fit. It is not quite that but dialectric grease is usually silicone based. Silicone is slippery and improving the slip between the collet, the collet taper and the collet nut does not appear, to my mind, to be mechanically sound.

A router bit leaving the collet at 30,000 RPM is not an event which you would want to experience. Grease can only attract the swarf or sawdust spoil which you would definitely want to keep out of the collet taper. Silicone grease will help to offset the collet (keeping swarf in place) and wear it out quickly and keep waste materials sitting inside the collet taper, which have no business being there.

The collet nut and taper of my trim router is cleaned at every tool change with a soft brush and air blown through the parts. If I used grease of any kind, I would be making that cleaning job far harder than it already is. It is not a difficult task if it is carried out routinely at tool change time. There is no excessive build up of swarf or sawdust in the spline gaps of the collet or inside the collet nut or the collet taper.

I am not claiming that this is the only way to manage collet components and routers that hold onto the toolbit using a sytem of taper and collet nut to hold the toolbit, or even that it is correct. In an area of the tooling that involves a router and a toolbit, I would say that there is no place for grease of any kind. This is notwithstanding that some theorists talk about boundary effects and boundary lubricants like those containing Molybdenum Disulphide or Graphite.

There is a whole slew of information on this subject in internet land and the application of grease does not feature very much in collet care. If a regularly cleaned collet system starts acting up even when clean, that is the time to change the collet for improved performance. At every tool change, where I engage in a routine of collet spline, collet taper and collet retention nut cleaning, I inspect the collet for signs of damage or wear. I treat the collet as a consumable item and replace it when necessary. YMMV

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