Chicago Electric router, frozen collet nut - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Chicago Electric router, frozen collet nut

I recently inherited some tools, including a Chicago Electric plunge router, 1 1/2hp. I don't know how long it sat unused but it looks to be in good condition. The problem is, there's a bit in there and I can't get the collet nut off! It didn't come with the wrench, so I've been stuck trying adjustable pliers and vise grips... no go.

I found the manual for it, but it doesn't help a lot:

https://manuals.harborfreight.com/ma...7999/67119.pdf

There doesn't appear to be any rust on the threads, and spraying it with WD40 didn't help. I also tried tapping the sides with the wrench, and jiggling back and forth.

Just to confirm here... with it on its top with the bit facing upward, I'm holding in the lock and turning to the left so that the nut goes down the threads. Right?

Any other suggestions on getting it loose?
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 07:44 AM
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Turn counter clockwise with the bit facing up.
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 09:02 AM
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Adjustable pliers and vice grips should never be used on nuts. They will damage the corners of the lands. If you do not have the correct size open end wrench then use a crescent wrench. But first soak with penetrating oil(not WD-40 or auto oil) and let set for a period of time.


George
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 12:44 PM
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Clockwise tightens, CCW loosens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretender View Post
Turn counter clockwise with the bit facing up.

There are two way to use router wrenches:
One is to line up the wrenches at a sharp angle such that you can squeeze them together with one hand. The counter acting forces will usually loosen the nut.
They other relies on a solid grip on one wrench and a sharp blow delivered to the other with a dead blow mallet or round wood block. The sudden application of a breakaway force is usually enough to loosen the nut. DO use only a correct size wrench, not Vise Grips! If you must use the Vise grips, get the jaws parallel on the opposing flats of the nut and tighten them securely.


The collet relies on an internal taper to close the jaws around the shank of the bit. A tap downward "may" loosen the bit enough to release it.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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@woodnthings, this one doesn't have 2 nuts, just the one. I'm attaching a pic of the collet so you can see. I had an old B&D router that was like you described, but this one is a little different. The base doesn't come off, either, so there's only about 45 degrees of turning room.

@GeorgeC, haha, yeah, I found out the hard way that this collet metal is fairly soft! I already scuffed the corners a little. The biggest open face wrench I have is 5/8 and that's too small, that's why I resorted to pliers. I have 2 or 3 crescent wrenches, but none of them really stay tight enough for something like this.

@Pretender, are you 100% sure on that? You can see from the pic that the previous owner pushed the blades of the bit right up against the nut (instead of giving a 1/8" buffer), and if I turn it counter clockwise then the nut will move up the shaft instead of down (well, to the left of the pic is technically "up"). There's no room for it to go upward, though, so that could be part of the problem.
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 04:04 PM
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Yes, I'm positive.
Righty tighty, lefty loosy.
If turned the other way the chuck would loosen it's self while running.
Go buy the right wrench and save yourself future headaches.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 04:17 PM
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Only one place to put a wrench?

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Originally Posted by csdude55 View Post
@woodnthings, this one doesn't have 2 nuts, just the one. I'm attaching a pic of the collet so you can see. I had an old B&D router that was like you described, but this one is a little different. The base doesn't come off, either, so there's only about 45 degrees of turning room.

If you can't get a second wrench on the collet or shaft then you'll need to use the bit itself for an "anchor". Use an old leather glove or belt and wrap it around the bit to protect it from your Vise Grips. Try to miss the cutting edges when securing them, but this bit may need to be sacrificed ... I donno? Leave it to Harbor Freight to make a one time use tool .......
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Last edited by woodnthings; 06-22-2020 at 05:48 PM.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 04:52 PM
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I have seen "push button" stops on a circular saw that stops the rotation of the arbor when changing blades. Look for something like this on your router. They must have provided some method the change bits.


George
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 06:14 PM
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since no one reads the posts or checks the manual as cited,



the router has a spindle lock button on the case.
end of story.
get a wrench for the size of the compression nut.
tap/turn/whatever in the counter-clockwise direction (as viewed from the bottom of the router)
there are no left handed thread router nuts -



when he nut loosens, it should back out slightly then start pulling on the tapered collet (which holds the bit).
if backing out / removing the nut does not free the collet, that's a new issue to be dealt with.
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csdude55 View Post
@woodnthings, this one doesn't have 2 nuts, just the one. I'm attaching a pic of the collet so you can see. I had an old B&D router that was like you described, but this one is a little different. The base doesn't come off, either, so there's only about 45 degrees of turning room.

@GeorgeC, haha, yeah, I found out the hard way that this collet metal is fairly soft! I already scuffed the corners a little. The biggest open face wrench I have is 5/8 and that's too small, that's why I resorted to pliers. I have 2 or 3 crescent wrenches, but none of them really stay tight enough for something like this.

@Pretender, are you 100% sure on that? You can see from the pic that the previous owner pushed the blades of the bit right up against the nut (instead of giving a 1/8" buffer), and if I turn it counter clockwise then the nut will move up the shaft instead of down (well, to the left of the pic is technically "up"). There's no room for it to go upward, though, so that could be part of the problem.
@Pretender is 100% right. The collet nut turns counter clockwise to loosen it. It is the normal lefty-loosy arrangement.

The collet nut should not scrape the router bit as you loosen it, even though the router bit is flush tight. The collet nut is actually a sleeve around the inner parts (the "collet"). There is an inner ring on the collet nut that engages with matching slots on the inner collet parts as the collet nut is unscrewed. As you unscrew the collet nut, it will lift the inner collet parts out, and the router bit will lift with them. (Note: The router bit may be stuck in the collet itself, but that's a separate problem to deal with after you get the collet out of the router.)

-> If your crescent wrenches can't tighten and stay tight around a nut, then why do you still own them?

I think you need a well-fitted wrench with thick jaws that will stay tight around the collet nut. If you can't swing that, could you use your two best wrenches in tandem to increase the contact surface area (taped together, perhaps)? Will they fit?

As others suggested, I would lubricate the collet nut and threads in the collet area with liquid wrench or another penetrating lubricant. Leave it soak for a day, maybe turn it and lubricate it again, etc. ...

With the collet lock button depressed to hold the motor shaft in place, try gentle tapping on the end of the wrench with a brass hammer (or metal hammer, if nothing else) to break up the rust inside the collet nut. Gentle. Tapping. Not hard hammering. You don't want to damage the bearings or bend the shaft (eek!).

Consider applying warmth (not serious heat) to the collet nut, then try again.

Good luck. Keep us informed.
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 06:51 PM
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I have the same router (different name) from Menards. There is a spindle lock located on the side near the base of the motor... it is spring loaded....push it in as you rotate the shaft until it goes in (to hold the motor shaft from turning). While holding it in...Use the correct size metric wrench on the collet and rotate it downward (counterclockwise) to loosen. If it has a fair amount of rust inside you may have to use something like PB Blaster. Good luck!

Gary

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post #12 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
@Pretender is 100% right. The collet nut turns counter clockwise to loosen it. It is the normal lefty-loosy arrangement.

The collet nut should not scrape the router bit as you loosen it, even though the router bit is flush tight. The collet nut is actually a sleeve around the inner parts (the "collet"). There is an inner ring on the collet nut that engages with matching slots on the inner collet parts as the collet nut is unscrewed. As you unscrew the collet nut, it will lift the inner collet parts out, and the router bit will lift with them. (Note: The router bit may be stuck in the collet itself, but that's a separate problem to deal with after you get the collet out of the router.)

-> If your crescent wrenches can't tighten and stay tight around a nut, then why do you still own them?

I think you need a well-fitted wrench with thick jaws that will stay tight around the collet nut. If you can't swing that, could you use your two best wrenches in tandem to increase the contact surface area (taped together, perhaps)? Will they fit?

As others suggested, I would lubricate the collet nut and threads in the collet area with liquid wrench or another penetrating lubricant. Leave it soak for a day, maybe turn it and lubricate it again, etc. ...

With the collet lock button depressed to hold the motor shaft in place, try gentle tapping on the end of the wrench with a brass hammer (or metal hammer, if nothing else) to break up the rust inside the collet nut. Gentle. Tapping. Not hard hammering. You don't want to damage the bearings or bend the shaft (eek!).

Consider applying warmth (not serious heat) to the collet nut, then try again.

Good luck. Keep us informed.

I have not seen a brass hammer since wire/knock off wheels. However, many rubber hammers are heavy enough to work.


George
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-22-2020, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
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I have not seen a brass hammer since wire/knock off wheels. However, many rubber hammers are heavy enough to work. George
The point was to tap the wrench with metal so the sharp shock gets to the rusted threads, but not hard enough to damage the bearings or bend the motor shaft. I am not sure that a rubber mallet would do what I had in mind.

For the OP, a readily available tool for the purpose could be one of those non-working crescent wrenches, huh?

Woodsmith magazine had a "recent" article about how to make your own brass hammers. Didn't everybody make one? :-p

(I don't remember the exact issue, but it was approximately 2 or 3 years ago.)
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-24-2020, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the input! I borrowed a crescent wrench today and gave it another shot, but no go. I tried tapping on the collet nut as suggested, and tried using my old wrench to sort of hammer the borrowed one a little, but still... nothing.

I'm starting to worry that all the torque is going to damage the lock that holds the shaft in place.

So I guess next on the list is to go buy some liquid wrenchl (I mentioned before that WD40 didn't have any impact), and failing that, maybe a heat gun? I don't want to hit it with the torch or anything, but I'm not sure if a heat gun will be hot enough to expand it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Woodsmith magazine had a "recent" article about how to make your own brass hammers. Didn't everybody make one? :-p
When I was in college, we actually made a tack hammer in machine shop class! We made screw-in tips, with one side being steel and the other was brass. I gave it to my dad for Father's Day... I wonder if he still has it? I can't imagine he ever used it.
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-24-2020, 01:52 AM
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Use the heat gun, 2 minutes of heat should do it. The collet nut does not have to come off to change a bit. After the nut is loose and if the cutter does not come out, tap the cutter straight down using a piece of wood between top of cutter and hammer. This will pop the shank free and you can then remove the cutter.
Not familiar with your brand of router, does it have two collets nuts or just the one?
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-24-2020, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Just the one nut, I posted a pic of it earlier (post #5). I have a heat gun so I'll try that tomorrow and see what happens...
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post #17 of 23 Old 06-24-2020, 04:26 AM
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It has a shaft lock!

Quote:
Originally Posted by csdude55 View Post
Thanks for all of the input! I borrowed a crescent wrench today and gave it another shot, but no go. I tried tapping on the collet nut as suggested, and tried using my old wrench to sort of hammer the borrowed one a little, but still... nothing.

I'm starting to worry that all the torque is going to damage the lock that holds the shaft in place.

A quick, sharp blow to your wrench hitting it CCW, with the shaft lock held in should loosen the nut.

It would be best to use a box wrench rather than a Crescent wrench, but it may not fit down over the cutter .... I donno? It may also be a Metric size?


Rusted nuts?









Based on what I see here, the nut may be jammed against the bottom of the cutter. Lock the shaft using the built in lock and strike the wrench CW to retighten the nut just a smidge, enough to release it from the cutter. See if it will move at all. If not, You Tube may have your answer:

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...uck+router+bit


Remove the router motor from it's base to allow more access for your wrench as shown here:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-24-2020 at 04:47 AM.
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-24-2020, 09:22 AM
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If I am seeing your picture correctly, the nut is bigger than the bit.


Therefore, you would be best off using a box end wrench or a deep socket to remove the nut. Why? In general, box end wrenches are longer than open end wrenches. Sockets, especially 3/4" drive, come with breaker bars that are far longer than any wrench in the same size range. Use a 6 point wrench/deep socket.


With the box wrench you can hit it with a hammer with less chance of the wrench slipping off the nut. With a long breaker bar you probably do not need to hit it.


I gather that you have very few wrenches, so hopefully you have a friend that can help you out.


George
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-25-2020, 12:20 AM
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First, get the correct size wrench. That is vital.
Second, looking at the threads, (I can't see in your picture due to lighting) if they are running up hill toward the nut, viewing from the bit end, counter clockwise to loosen.

If the bit remains stuck while the nut turns freely, try tapping the bit with a bit of wood. First try tapping the bit sideways. That should dislodge the collet and free the bit. If that doesn't work, try tapping the bit deeper into the collet. Finally take the bit and collet off. Place the bit in a woodworking vise but only too support the collet and nut. Alternately bang on the ends of the bit until everything slips loose.

FYI - Harbor Freight doesn't offer a collet for Chicago Electric routers. Somebody else may but I doubt it. This may be a one time stuck and forget it tool.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-26-2020, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
If I am seeing your picture correctly, the nut is bigger than the bit.


Therefore, you would be best off using a box end wrench or a deep socket to remove the nut. Why? In general, box end wrenches are longer than open end wrenches. Sockets, especially 3/4" drive, come with breaker bars that are far longer than any wrench in the same size range. Use a 6 point wrench/deep socket.


With the box wrench you can hit it with a hammer with less chance of the wrench slipping off the nut. With a long breaker bar you probably do not need to hit it.


I gather that you have very few wrenches, so hopefully you have a friend that can help you out.


George
Yes, deep socket, that's the way to go here. But you need to get the proper size open end wrench for future use.

Don't do any more damage with the wrong tools, you'll be amazed how easy it will come off with the correct size wrench or socket.
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