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Keeping Router Bits Clean

When it comes to keeping a router in shape, tool maintenance is only half the battle. Follow these tips for keeping bits clean.

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soak bits in remover

If a bit bogs down in a cut or has visible burning on it, it’s time for some maintenance.

Remember that the shanks need some upkeep just like the tips of the bits. The shank should fit tightly into the collet of the router. Use steel wool to clean up the shank. Wrap the steel wool around the shank and twist until the shank becomes smooth.

For more in-depth cleaning, spray resin, gum, and pitch remover on the shank and leave on for about 30 seconds. Then, use steel wool to clean the shank.

For the worst gummy messes, soak the bits in the remover. Then use a wire brush to scrape off the residue.

To prevent bits from getting too gummy in the first place, use a spray router bit lubricant.

Bearings can get worn, too. The bearing should spin freely. If not, they can burn wood. Use an Allen wrench to remove the bearing and any washers it might have and replace them.

To keep bits sharp, use a diamond stone. Carbide bits cannot be sharpened using regular sharpening stones. Only touch up the flat sides of the bits.